LOUISVILLE — Two weeks and a couple of days out from the pork, mutton, chicken, fresh veggies, homemade deserts, bingo, political theatrics, jeering, cheering and hot air (climate-wise and bombast-wise) of the 130th Fancy Farm Picnic, U.S. Senate candidates Jack Conway and Rand Paul honed their spiels before a smaller and less rambunctious audience Thursday — the Kentucky Farm Bureau board of directors and a standing-room-only crowd of state and national media.
Little news was made, unless you consider this rare but ongoing display of national interest in the politics of little ol' Kentucky news.
I just find it worrisome, for a strictly personal reason. My concern is that hordes of national media tourists will descend on Fancy Farm, devour all those veggies before I get to them and get in the way of us local yokels of the press who melt there on an annual basis. Should that happen, particularly the veggies part, I fear the picnic's new ban on profanity might be violated.
If any news was made Thursday, it came from the darling of the Tea Party movement and Republican Senate nominee, Rand Paul.
During the Farm Bureau forum, he said unequivocally, "I'm going up there and vote for Mitch McConnell to be leader." At a later press conference, though, Paul semi-unmade that news by sounding, well, a bit dodgy about his support for the Senate minority leader.
Paul's tendency to explain himself one way today and a slightly or significantly different way later today may be the reason he felt compelled to say at one point during the forum, "I see we'll probably have to clarify some misinterpretations of my positions." Sometimes, positions get misinterpreted because they're in a constant state of flux.
On the other hand, it isn't paranoia if they really are out to get you. And Conway fed that belief by telling the Farm Bureau board Paul has said he wants to get rid of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Paul has hinted at harboring such feelings, even strongly hinted at it. But no one yet has found a record of him expressing those feelings out loud.
Farm subsidies are another matter. Paul repeatedly has called for a rollback of farm subsidies, and I give him credit for sticking to that position in answering the Farm Bureau board's questions.
To read the complete column, visit www.kentucky.com.