Monday, June 9, 2008

Obama at Fancy Farm?

On Comment on Kentucky Friday night, Bill Bartleman, editor of the Paducah Sun, said Barack Obama might show up at Fancy Farm this year.

If he does, McBush can pack it in - election's over.

Held on the first Saturday in August when the misery index in that Mississippi River lowland hits equatorial jungle levels, Fancy Farm is the Ultimate Test for political candidates.

If you are tough enough to stand unshaded in the unspeakable heat and humidity - typically 95 degrees and 98 percent humidity - for hours, eating barbecue and potato salad and mingling with thousands of sweat-soaked voters without even a single cold beer for relief, then get up at the end of the day to make the political speech of your life in the face of hundreds of semi-pro hecklers trained from birth to out-scream any microphone ...

Well, then, Kentucky voters figure you're serious and worth a look.

At Fancy Farm, you triumph or you die. In 1998, Scotty Baesler, Sixth District Congressman and candidate for Wendell Ford's open Senate seat, went from Leading Democratic Light to Political Dead Man in the course of one over-the-top, foaming-at-the-mouth speech at Fancy Farm.

This year, Fancy Farm is probably going to be the place where Democratic Congressional Challenger Heather Ryan shows her speechifyin' chops to the national press and delivers a knockout blow to First District incumbent Waste of Oxygen Ed Whitfield.

As Bartleman pointed out, Fancy Farm - literally an overgrown church picnic in a hay field - would present logistical and security problems for Obama, but even though it is in the middle of nowhere, it's spitting distance from Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee and Arkansas. It would probably draw press from Memphis, St. Louis, Nashville and Little Rock to a single event.

Fancy Farm typically draws thousands in non-presidential-election years; Obama might possibly draw enough to challenge the 75,000 he addressed in Oregon May 18.

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.