Remarks of J. Scott Jennings, Master of Ceremonies
136th Fancy Farm Picnic Political Speaking
August 6, 2016
As prepared for delivery:
Thank you Mark and Father Venters, and welcome, everyone to the 136th annual Fancy Farm picnic! How about a round of applause for Mark and Lori Wilson … another great job, guys, thanks for what you do.
What an honor it is to be here! I love this event and I look forward to it every year. Politicos from across Kentucky come here to show off some personality and creativity.
And to be honest, it is a little intimidating being up here.
I mean, last year Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio was the emcee and he was great.
I wish I could just read his jokes. You know, copy and paste his stuff.
But of course, plagiarism is a big no-no in the political business.
So instead, let me just say that…on behalf of my husband Barack and my daughters Sasha and Malia, it’s an honor to be here.
To those watching at home, let me introduce you to the most important players in today’s event – this huge crowd!
First, in this corner, please welcome…THE REPUBLICANS!
And, this corner, please welcome…THE DEMOCRATS!
And, finally, let me introduce the most important people of all … the DEMOCRATS who vote REPUBLICAN every November!
It’s ok guys, everybody knows what you do in the voting booth. There’s no time like the present to come out of the shadows.
It’s true, Kentucky is a real two-party state these days and a lot of Democrats are actually voting Republican. There are three issues motivating this migration:
Hillary. Rodham. Clinton.
Man, she’ll say anything to get elected. I don’t want to say Hillary is pandering to get votes in Kentucky, but I’m not totally convinced she’ll send Bobby Knight to Guantanamo Bay.
If she does pull this off, the only thing less safe than our national security information will be the White House interns. Look out! Slick Willie on the loose!
Hillary’s opponent is, for now, Donald Trump.
I don’t want to talk too much about The Donald, mainly because I’ve been told that every time someone makes a joke about Trump, an angel gets deported.
Oh wait, I misread it.
That’s Ángel gets deported!
Can you believe what’s going with the Russians? Trump says they ought to be hacking Hillary’s emails. The Democrats say Vladimir Putin is trying to meddle in our elections?
Now I don’t know if that’s true, Jamie Comer, but if folks start handing out vodka instead of bourbon to win School Board races in your neck of the woods we’ll know something’s up.
But I have to say, Trump picking Governor Mike Pence for Vice President was genius. In Indiana, Mike Pence wanted to start a state-run news agency! A political operative would write all the news stories.
You know, the way it works over in North Korea. Or at MSNBC.
Governor Matt Bevin, good to see you today and welcome back to Fancy Farm!
There is no doubt, Governor, that you are getting things done in Frankfort.
After eight years of Steve Beshear, a lot of folks forgot what it was like when a Governor, you know, actually tried.
Now Governor, it is true, a lot of Republicans were kind of hard on you back in 2014 when you first came along. Now, I wasn’t one of them…but since we are at church today I’ll go ahead and ask for forgiveness.
You know the Establishment isn’t very good at predicting the future. Heck, this time last summer I was all in for Jeb Bush!
The truth is, Governor, you are doing a terrific job.
Just ask Attorney General Andy Beshear. He thinks your criminal justice reforms are terrific – because of you, some of the people in Andy’s office might actually get to vote for him in the next election.
Now Andy isn’t here today. But if you are watching at home, brother, I’m just kidding around. Don’t sue me! We’ve known each other for a very long time. You are the Beshear I actually get along with.
I’m just waiting for Governor Bevin to rename Lake Beshear over there by Dawson Springs, where your Dad and I were born.
Maybe…Lake Obamacare. Or Lake Pension Shortfall. Who knows?
Senator Mitch McConnell, good to see you here today.
An event like this is perfect for a guy like him. When Kentuckians think entertainment and excitement they think of two words: Mitch. McConnell.
They actually took a survey of the most exciting, dynamic senators. Senator McConnell came in right ahead of Tim Kaine, which is no small feat.
By the way, thank you for releasing an audio version of your memoir. It changed our lives in the Jennings Household. Thanks to the sound of your voice, our little baby Thatcher has never slept better.
I’m just kidding…because I can! Mitch McConnell is my old boss, of course. And apparently I have no interest in ever working for him again, so I will just keep going here.
In all seriousness, the Senator has been a true mentor. I’ll never forget what he told me at the end of the last campaign. He looked me right in the eye, shook my hand and said “Scott, if you ever talk to the Louisville Courier-Journal about anything you’ve seen here, I’ll kill you.”
That’s actually not a joke.
Speaking of the Senate, Rand Paul, good to see you back at Fancy Farm.
Now Rand is disappointed he’s not running against Hillary right now, but running for Senate from Kentucky is far better than running for President.
One good thing … at the debates, your podium is in the center of the stage rather than falling off the end of it!
Oh, Jim Gray. I forgot you were there. And apparently so did the rest of your party.
Hello and welcome to Fancy Farm.
I don’t know much about old Jim over here except he’s spent most of his time as Mayor trying to fill a huge hole somebody dug in the middle of Lexington.
Here’s a thought … you may need a place to bury your political career after this election.
Again, I want to welcome everyone watching at home on KET. Bill Goodman has microphones all over the picnic grounds to capture the sounds of Fancy Farm.
It’s sort of the same in Frankfort these days, where the FBI has microphones all over the cooperating witnesses.
Which reminds me! Alison Grimes passes along her regrets. She couldn’t be here today because her husband is about to go away on a long trip.
Funny, I heard her Dad may also be going away for a long time.
Want to scare a Democrat in Frankfort these days? Sneak up behind one and say: “You have the right to remain silent!”
Before we get started, I want to take a moment to recognize some people who come here every year. They endure the heat and the hecklers so we can enjoy our First Amendment rights.
I am talking about the Kentucky State Police, the U.S. Capitol Police, and the local officers from all over Western Kentucky.
To all law enforcement officers here today, thank you. And, also, we thank your families for enduring the stress that comes with supporting the THIN BLUE LINE.
Now more than ever, we owe these men and women our gratitude.
Ok, ok, let’s get on with it. These politicians are ready to go.
Trust me when I tell you, what these folks are about to do is incredibly hard.
You want easy? Go hack Hillary’s email. That’s easy.
Speaking here at Fancy Farm… that takes guts!
Now, let me go over a couple of ground rules.
First, no noisemakers. If you use a noisemaker we will personally have Donald Trump tweet what a SAD! PATHETIC! LOSER! you are.
We know you are going to hoot and holler. Just be civil, and remember to use clean language and good manners.
We are all Americans, we are all Kentuckians and we all need to remember to love thy neighbor.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, let’s get down to business and see what these politicians have to say here at Fancy Farm!