As governor, Bevin should attend Fancy Farm | Our Opinion

Since 1880, politicians and voters have flocked to western Kentucky for the Fancy Farm picnic.

It’s an old tradition in our state for politicians from both sides of the aisle to take political potshots at their opponents and other members of their party. Hundreds of people from all over the state and elsewhere travel there, not just for the delicious barbecue and the lovely atmosphere, but also to heckle the politicians on stage in the early August heat.

Anyone who has been to Fancy Farm knows it is a very fun-filled event that might get personal among politicians on the stage, where emotions can run a little high sometimes. But at the end of the day, it’s all in good fun and a wonderful fundraiser for St. Jerome Parish.

Politicians in Frankfort and Kentucky’s delegation in Washington, D.C., know that Fancy Farm always occurs on the first Saturday in August. Knowing this, politicians have a full year to keep their calendars clear for this annual event.

It is obviously a politician’s prerogative to not attend the annual event, but when a top lawmaker such as an attorney general or governor chooses not to attend the event, they deserve to be called out for it – especially after he or she previously made fun of someone for not attending the event.

Gov. Matt Bevin has announced that he will not attend this year’s Fancy Farm, citing a “previously scheduled commitment.” This is obviously Bevin’s right as he is the highest officer in the state, but his heated words in 2016 about Democrats who skipped Fancy Farm make our governor look somewhat hypocritical. In criticizing Democrats, Bevin said, “If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.”

Words have consequences. Bevin’s top political adversary in Frankfort, Attorney General Andy Beshear, has announced he will attend the annual event after skipping it last year to attend his children’s play. While this newspaper doesn’t particularly agree with Beshear over his politics and the numerous lawsuits he’s filed against Bevin, we give him credit for attending the event.

Whatever Beshear says against Bevin will go unanswered, since the governor will not be attending. That is why we urge Bevin to reconsider his planned absence from Fancy Farm. Bevin is quick on his feet and we believe he would hold his own against Beshear. Bevin owes it not only to himself, but to those who helped put him in office, to return the slings and arrows from Beshear in kind. At the end of the day, it would show the voters he can handle the heat.

As governor, Bevin is the top dog. As top dog, we believe he should be speaking at Fancy Farm on the first Saturday in August.