In a not-so-quiet corner of Graves County...
August 4, 2014 10:38 AM   Subscribe

Now in its 134th year, the Fancy Farm Picnic is the biggest event in Kentucky's political calendar. Held on the first Saturday of August, the gathering includes bingo, raffles and tons and tons of barbeque. And then, of course, there are the political speeches. This year, Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell squared off against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. PBS has video of the stump speeches and, given that the candidates have yet to agree upon any debate locations or times, this may be their only meeting in a public forum before the November election. The Washington Post provides a explainer of the event.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (19 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I was thinking about making a Fancy Farm post this morning, inspired by this video of Grimes absolutely destroying McConnell. (In this version of the video, they've superimposed footage of him listening from the audience, which is awesome.)
posted by jbickers at 10:47 AM on August 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

I just watched this and.... Wow. I liked the "What about you?" chant the opposition starts up 1/2 way through Mitch's enumeration of the reasons his supporters should vote against Barack Obama.
posted by mikelieman at 10:48 AM on August 4, 2014

My dad and my brother go to this every year, they are staunch democrats, and they LOVE IT.
posted by josher71 at 10:51 AM on August 4, 2014

When I heard this on NPR this morning it made me wish my state had an great singalong song to sing like "My Old Kentucky Home". I guess the words are changed to reflect today's values?

But the crowd all singing along at the end was moving.
posted by readery at 11:11 AM on August 4, 2014

I don't get too excited about Democrats in general, but I've been strangely fascinated by the Lundergan Grimes / McConnell race for a while. I really want to see Mitch McConnell get fucking destroyed by a younger woman candidate, and Grimes seems quite sharp and ambitious for someone in a slot that could have easily been written off as a sacrifical lamb.
posted by threeants at 11:17 AM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

As fun as it is to watch candidates outside of their normal environment, I think this is a terrible format for a political event. Each speaker only gets a few minutes to talk, and with the "anything goes" style of audience participation, the speeches tend toward one-line zingers to get the base riled up and intimidate the opponent. We definitely need more voter interaction with candidates, but this has all the substance of a negative television ad paired with the civility of a UFC fight.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:19 AM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Fancy Farm is the last remnant of a time-honored tradition here in KY, tonycpsu, going way back into the last century. It's raucous politicking to be sure and not very substantial, as you suggest, but from all reports I've had from friends who have attended, it's hella fun.

I'm a Democrat and Grimes doesn't strike me as anything more than a run-of-the-mill establishment Democrat that this state produces. If she wins, I hope she turns out to be more of an entity than former representative Ben Chandler was--another establishment Dem.

I did enjoy the hound dogs crack by Grimes. It's a reference to a classic political ad that McConnell ran when he was young and wanting to crack into the big leagues. Here it is. (SLYT)
posted by CincyBlues at 11:26 AM on August 4, 2014 [4 favorites]

but this has all the substance of a negative television ad paired with the civility of a UFC fight.

Shut up and take my money!

And I want to put a C-note on Grimes to KO McConnell in under 3 rounds...
posted by mikelieman at 11:37 AM on August 4, 2014

You know what? Videos of a smart, confident, triumphant woman supporting stances which I support* verbally taking down a racist, sexist, homophobic dude are surprisingly rare, and to me, something to treasure. I'm ok with it not being a calm discussion of policy stances. That can be done elsewhere. But sometimes, you just need to blast your enemy (and his party's) crappy, hateful policies on the stump, and she did exactly that.

"Whipping people up" is not a politician's only job, but it is part of their job. You have to get people excited if you want them to get to the polls.

*I'm sure she's done things/will do things I disagree with. But let's not pretend she's no different than a Republican candidate.
posted by emjaybee at 11:50 AM on August 4, 2014 [6 favorites]

So, I am confused. Is Obama running again in 2016?
posted by cjorgensen at 12:10 PM on August 4, 2014

Ok wait, mutton barbecue? What?
posted by elizardbits at 12:37 PM on August 4, 2014

While the McConnell/Grimes match-up is naturally gaining a lot of attention, I'm curious to watch to see if Rand Paul gets goaded into saying anything interesting since there is good money on him running in know against Obama.
posted by dawg-proud at 12:46 PM on August 4, 2014

No one here is pretending that she not different from the Republicans in this state, emjaybee, but many of us are hoping that she is more than the generic Democrat politicrat that this state tends to favor.

And Burgoo, elizardbits!
posted by CincyBlues at 12:53 PM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ok wait, mutton barbecue? What?

I'm from western KY--is barbecued mutton not a thing elsewhere?
posted by Zerowensboring at 1:08 PM on August 4, 2014

Idk? When I hear bbq I assume pork or beef, that's all. Mutton sounded interesting and also I didn't have lunch yet.
posted by elizardbits at 1:43 PM on August 4, 2014 [4 favorites]

emjaybee: That can be done elsewhere.

Yeah, but it rarely is done elsewhere, and there are already plenty of other "fire up the base" events in political campaigns, so this kind of spectacle falls squarely into the "bread and circuses" category for me. Don't get me wrong -- I understand the rah-rah appeal of something like this for getting your side motivated, but if you've gone through the effort to get the candidates in the same place at the same time, I feel like you owe it to the voters to have them take serious questions from the audience, and debate each other on real issues, instead of providing them with the Kentucky equivalent of a rap battle.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:04 PM on August 4, 2014

At least down here in Texas, part of the reason there is little in the way of Dem v. Repub debates is that generally the Republicans avoid them whenever possible.
posted by emjaybee at 2:13 PM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Virgina has the Shad Planking:

Menu: "Food Served When Ready" The menu this year will feature our trademark planked shad cooked over an open fire.
It started out as tribute to the start of the fishing season on the wooded property of the Wakefield Sportsmen's club near Route 460 in Sussex County, Virginia about an hour southeast of Richmond and an hour west of Virginia Beach. It is held on the third Wednesday in April each year.

Shad-- the oily, bony fish smoked for the occasion on wood planks over an open flame.

Over the years, the gathering has evolved into a political gossip festival --
This is what happens when you nail fish to a board.
posted by ohshenandoah at 4:34 PM on August 4, 2014

posted by five fresh fish at 7:04 PM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

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