Category Archives: Ben Chandler

The Top 10 Reasons Why Every Democrat and Independent Must Vote for Ben Chandler

An endorsement from the Editors of Barefoot & Progressive

Congressman Ben Chandler eked out a victory over Garland Barr IV in the 2010 election by just one vote per precinct.

Redistricting has made Kentucky’s 6th District bluer on paper and in theory. Still, as all the advertisements on television and the radio indicate, this is a close race and every vote counts.

Because Chandler is busy campaigning, he was unable to respond to a questionnaire from public interest group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth — and thus the importance of his positions may need some clarification.

Presented here are the 10 undeniable reasons why every single Democrat and Independent voter in Central Kentucky must turn out to vote for Ben Chandler to ensure his victory.


10. THE CONTEMPT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER — The House GOP engineered a contempt vote on Eric Holder in relation to the ‘Fast & Furious’ mess. As the New York Times reported, “it was the first time in American history that Congress has imposed the sanction on a sitting member of a president’s cabinet.” [NYT]

Seventeen Democrats in Congress joined the Republican majority in voting for contempt. (Two Republicans voted against.) Ben Chandler was one of those seventeen [FOX News].

Over 100 Congressional Democrats walked off the House floor to boycott the vote, including Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth. [WFPL]

But Ben Chandler stayed and Ben Chandler took a stand.


9. THE HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA — While some Democrats believe people have the right to marry each other, Ben Chandler does not.

When House Republicans added an amendment to the defense spending bill that reaffirms the Defense of Marriage Act, nineteen brave Democrats stood with the House GOP and voted for the amendment.

Ben Chandler was one of those brave Democrats willing to stand up to the homosexual agenda. [B&P]

Just last week, activist judges in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals became the second such court to rule DOMA a violation of equal protection by denying homosexuals the same rights as more capable of love Americans. [NYT]

The 2-to-1 ruling on Thursday came in the case of Edith Windsor, who married her partnerof more than 40 years, Thea Spyer, in Canada in 2007. Their marriage was recognized by New York State. Yet, when Mrs. Spyer died in 2009, Mrs. Windsor, now 83, was prevented by the act from claiming an exemption from the federal estate tax available for surviving spouses, and was required to pay $363,053 in estate taxes.

When so few Democrats were willing to stand up to the radical homosexual agenda, Ben Chandler took a brave position and voted to reaffirm the importance of this Defense of Marriage.


8. THE DREAM ACT – The DREAM Act was crafted to give a pathway to citizenship to kids — a lot of them Hispanic — who were brought to this country and raised here, who went to school and did the Pledge of Allegience and who have only ever called America home.

Ben Chandler took a stand for America and voted against the bill. [B&PHouse Vote]


7. BIG OIL – When Big Oil dumped a couple milk gallons worth of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, a lot of weak-kneed Democrats and Independents and Environmentalists got scared and tried to shut down drilling.

But not Ben Chandler. He was one of a handful of Democrats willing to join the House GOP in a vote to open the gulfstream waters to more drilling. [B&P]

That vote might seem like an anomaly. But Ben Chandler also took a stand in defense of Big Oil as one of just 13 Democrats voting in favor of giving Big Oil $53 Billion in taxpayer subsidies. [B&P] Beacuse Big Oil needs it and Ben Chandler isn’t going to leave them behind.

Ben Chandler took a stand and now you must stand with Ben Chandler.


6. KING COAL – Andy Barr made big waves with his advertisement featuring a coal mine executive from outside the district dressed up as a coal miner and accusing Ben Chandler of trying to kill the coal industry.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

When King Coal wanted to defund the EPA’s coal ash regulations, Ben Chandler voted to defund. [B&P]

When House Republicans voted to “stop this out of control EPA,” Ben Chandler was one of just 19 Democrats who voted with the GOP on behalf of King Coal. [B&P]

When 169 members of Congress wrote to the EPA to oppose their efforts to enforce the Clean Water Act, Ben Chandler signed the letter. [B&P]

When House Republicans voted to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases from power plants and enforcing the Clean Air Act, Ben Chandler voted with them. [B&P]

Ben Chandler took a stand for the coal lobby and now you must stand with Ben Chandler.


5. BUSH TAX CUTS — This image should tell you all you need to know:

If that doesn’t make Ben Chandler’s stance on the issue clear, consider that he is one of just three Democrats who signed Grover Norquist’s pledge to never raise taxes on the rich. [B&P]

When the House of Representatives voted to extend the Bush Tax Cuts, only one Kentucky representative voted against it. That one was John Yarmuth. Ben Chandler voted again in favor of the Bush Tax Cuts. [CN|2]

Ben Chandler took a principled and not at all politically motivated stand for the super rich and now you must stand with Ben Chandler again.


4. OBAMACARE – Again, Andy Barr runs advertisements insinuating Ben Chandler supported the attempt to rein in health insurance companies — forcing them to provide coverage to kids, provide coverage to people with “pre-existing conditions,” provide preventative care and cancer screenings and all sorts of other maybe or maybe not unconstitutional inhumanities.

But the facts are not on Garland’s side. Ben Chandler broke with the Democratic Party and voted AGAINST health care reform. [TPM]

Let’s be clear: Ben Chandler does not support health care reform.

Ben Chandler took a stand. Won’t you stand with Ben Chandler?


3. STUPAK AND ABORTION — Not only did Ben Chandler not support Obamacare, he worked actively to water it down.

Put another way, Ben Chandler voted to weaken the health care bill… and then once weakened, he still voted against it.

That’s how against Obamacare Ben Chandler is.

Feminists and women’s organizations view the Stupak Amendment as “a monumental setback for abortion access.” [ThinkProgress]

Ben Chandler voted against abortion access not once but twice… and the second time was so extreme, even Stupak didn’t support it. [B&P, B&P]

Ben Chandler opposes a woman’s right to choose and he’s okay with that. That’s political conviction and it’s worth supporting.

Ben Chandler took a stand and he’s not worried if you stand with him. But you have to.


2. WALL STREET REFORM – Ben Chandler voted against it.

After the economic collapse of 2008, some people thought that Wall Street needed more oversight and everyday consumers needed better protections against aggressive lenders.

Ben Chandler wasn’t one of them.

In fact, Chandler was one of just 27 Democrats to join every single Republican in Congress in voting against the Dodd-Frank bill. [B&P]

Again, Ben Chandler took a stand. He voted for you. Now you must vote for Ben Chandler.


1. HIV & 3rd World Humanitarian Aid – In 2011, a House Subcommittee voted to ban US aid to those working in third world nations to provide help to women infected with HIV and to their sick and starving children.

One Democrat voted for this ban. That Democrat was Ben Chandler. [LEO WeeklyB&P]

“The provision included in this bill is far more extreme than the Global Gag Rule policy that was implemented under Presidents Reagan, George Bush, or George W. Bush,” said Berman. “It bars ALL assistance to local health care providers in poor countries – including HIV/AIDS funding, water and sanitation, child survival, and education. In the name of ‘right to life,’ the majority is cutting off funds that are literally saving hundreds of thousands of lives.”

Ben Chandler took a stand. Now you must stand with Ben Chandler.



This is Ben Chandler’s record.

You must support it.

If you are a Democrat, you must vote for Ben Chandler.

If you are an Independent, you must vote for Ben Chandler.

If you are an environmentalist, if you are a feminist, if you support women’s rights, if you support health care reform or Wall Street reform… you must vote for Ben Chandler.

He needs every single vote.

Every single vote matters.

You vote for Ben Chandler because Ben Chandler votes for you.

He represents us and looking at Ben Chandler’s record, you can’t say he’s not doing a good job of it.

What is at stake here?

First and foremost, Ben Chandler’s place in Congress and history. Second of all, the balance of power in the House of Representatives.

If Ben Chandler loses, who will be there to cast the deciding vote on an issue that matters to the voters of Central Kentucky? He may never have done it in the past, but maybe he will in the future.

If Ben Chandler loses, then the Republicans will maintain control of the House. Sure, it may be the case that Republicans are pretty much guaranteed 226 seats and Democrats only have 183 and there are just 26 “toss-ups”… but one of those toss up seats is Chandler’s and if he loses then it will have no substantive affect on the balance of power especially since on some of the most important votes (see all 10 points above) Ben Chandler caucuses with the Republicans, but what if none of that were true and you accept the importance of Ben Chandler’s victory?

And that is why every single Democrat and every single Independent should vote for Ben Chandler.

Because what other choice do you have?


Ben Chandler drops his first Paul Ryan hammer

The first of many, Lexington TV viewers:

Actually, everything in this ad is true.

Though… he does tend to mislead viewers with that last line. Ben probably shouldn’t throw stones from his glass house, because it’s hard to argue that you’re for the working class and not the rich when you vote against Wall Street reform, health care, and raising the Bush tax rate for the rich.

Barr Internal Poll Shows Him Trailing Chandler by 7 Points

The New York Times this morning looks at the dozen-or-so Congressional rematches across the country… and lo, there’s Ben Chandler and Garland H. Barr IV:

The pattern in New York can be seen elsewhere in the country. In the Sixth District in Kentucky, Andy Barr, a Republican, is again challenging Representative Ben Chandler, a four-term Democrat who defeated him by 647 votes in 2010.

But the rematch promises to be far different from the last race, when the two men largely battled below the national radar. This time, Republican and Democratic leaders in Washington have made the race a priority and are expected to pour huge amounts of money into it.

“This race is a rematch of the third-closest Congressional race in the country in 2010,” Mr. Barr, a lawyer, said. “We can finish the job this time.”

Okay, sure.


The Barr campaign just solicited, received and released an internal poll which spends most of its time saying how weak Ben Chandler is and how everything is stacked against him… except for the fact that Barr’s own commissioned poll found explicitly that he is trailing Ben Chandler by 7 points.

Let’s repeat that: The Barr campaign commissioned poll tries hard to paint a positive picture by downplaying its primary finding which is that Garland Hale Barr the Fourth trails Ben Chandler by 7 points.


In a rematch of the third-closest Congressional race in the country in 2010, being down 7 points isn’t exactly great news… especially when its coming from a poll your own campaign paid for.

[via DailyKos, you can see the campaign's full pdf here]

Also fun… recently came across a blog which is creating caricatures of every single member of Congress… it’s good fun and heeeeeeeere’s Ben:

Cry Me a River: Two Blue Dogs go down…

Over in Pennsylvania, the primary saw two Blue Dog “Democrats” bite the dust… Reps. Tim Holden and Jason Altmire.

The Blue Dog “Democrat” caucus — conservative Dems who vote with Republicans as much as they do Dems, and rarely stand up on the important issues — already counted about two dozen after their numbers were slashed in the Midterms.

One of their lost members, Gabrielle Giffords, actually broke ranks with her fellow Blue Dogs, voting FOR Health Care Reform, FOR Wall Street Reform and FOR the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.

The same cannot be said of our own Blue Dog here in the 6th, Mr. Ben Chandler.

But getting back to Pennsylvania, Amande Terkel reports:

Holden lost to progressive candidate Matt Cartwright, an attorney who attacked the incumbent for voting against President Barack Obama’s health care reform. Holden is the second House member to lose to a newcomer in the 2012 primaries. The other lawmaker was Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio). Both were also targeted by the anti-incumbent super PAC, the Campaign for Primary Accountability.

….Altmire lost to Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.) in the state’s newly redrawn 12th Congressional District. Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature combined the seats of the two incumbents in redistricting, after the state lost a seat in the recent reapportionment.

Altmire was initially seen as the frontrunner in the race, but Critz received more than $83,000 in support from organized labor. Altmire also angered many progressives because he voted against Obama’s health care reform; Critz did not take office until after the Affordable Care Act passed.

Dream on, Kentucky…

Oh, also… Chandler threw his support behind Altimre in that race. Whoops.

Blue Dogs of a Feather

The Blue Dog Extinction watch continues:

Of the 24 remaining Blue Dogs, five are not seeking reelection. More than a half-dozen others are facing treacherous contests in which their reelection hopes are in jeopardy.

It’s a rough time to occupy the right wing of the Democratic Party.

“It’s a tough environment out there,” said former Alabama Rep. Bud Cramer, a longtime member of the House Blue Dog Coalition. “Their numbers are down. Redistricting has not been kind to them.”

The article, from Politico, mistakenly claims that Chandler’s redistricting problem is compounded by running in a state in which Obama is wildly unpopular. The redistricting plan passed in Kentucky was actually mostly kind to all incumbents and Chandler’s position was strengthened. He does of course still have the Obama problem, but then he also has the problem that he’s consistently voted against his own consistuents on environmental protections, women’s rights and providing aid to starving children and HIV-infected women around the world.

In terms of fundraising, Chandler came out a bit on top of his Tea Pandering opponent, Garland Barr IV in the latest report:

Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) raised more than $220,000 and has just over $1 million in the bank. That’s slightly more than the $180,000 raised by Republican Andy Barr, who lost to Chandler in 2010 and is seeking a rematch.

Getting back to the Blue Dogs, an internal party soap opera finds one of their members, Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, locked in a primary fight against  Democrat, Mark Critz. The Blue Dog Altmire is unfairly attacking Critz as — get this — less of a Democrat:

Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) has exasperated a number of senior House Democrats by running attack ads against his primary opponent, Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.), that they see as unfair distortions.

Altmire voted “no” instead of “present” on a conservative budget proposal in April 2011, splitting with party leaders on a tactical vote they were using to embarrass the GOP. Critz joined the majority of Democrats with his “present” vote. But now Altmire is running ads saying that Critz “failed to stand up to the Tea Party” on the bill.

The move angered a number of senior Democrats. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) put out a statement defending Critz on the vote, and Reps. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) hosted a conference call defending him.

The Hill goes on to report that the only people supporting Altmire’s sad attacks are, of course, his fellow Blue Dogs:

All of Altmire’s backing comes from fellow Blue Dog Coalition members: Reps. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and Dan Boren (D-Okla.).

Dogs of a feather.

Larry Sabato says KY-06 is Chandler’s to lose

Not the most shocking news in the world, but he said it and now Garland Barr IV can complain about it instead of running an effective campaign:

Turning to upcoming Kentucky races, in the 6th District, Ben Chandler is running against Andy Barr. What effect will the presidential race have on that race, and what effect might redistricting have?

It looks like the new redistricting plan in Kentucky was essentially an incumbent-protection map. As such, Chandler received some help from the new lines after having an extremely close call in 2010. If he managed to survive the 2010 GOP wave, it’s harder to see Chandler losing in a presidential year when turnout will be higher and when his district is centered around the fairly blue city (and college town) of Lexington.

We rate the seat as “Likely Democratic” at the moment, which means he’s favored to win re-election.

Sabato, the political analyst, goes on to predict a Yarmuth victory in KY-3 and a McConnell victory in 2014… unless Steve Beshear quits Frankfort for the big showdown.

Mr. Sabato will be speaking in Louisville on the 17th, if that’s your thang.

Ed Whitfield and Ben Chandler vote against ALL proposed budget plans

In a show of bipartisanship, Kentucky’s 1st District Congressman, Ed Whitfield, and 6th District Congressman, Ben Chandler, joined forces to vote against every single proposed budget for the United States of America.

Says The Hill:

In all, nine Democrats and five Republicans pulled the “no” lever on all seven budgets the House considered on Wednesday and Thursday, which included offerings of all ideological stripes.

Last year there were nearly two dozen “none of the above” voters, this year just 14… and two of them from Kentucky!

The Blue Dog Coalition, the ineffectual group of which Ben Chandler is a member, split somewhat, with some of them voting for one budget or another (and one of them even proposed a budget). But no, not all Blue Dogs.

Six other members of the coalition – Reps. John Barrow (Ga.), Ben Chandler (Ky.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Mike McIntyre (N.C.) and Mike Ross (Ark.) – voted for none of the budgets, and none of their offices returned a request for comment.

Since no one has any idea why Chandler couldn’t find one of the budgets worth supporting, perhaps he was following Ed’s lead?

Three Republicans – Reps. Walter Jones (N.C.), David McKinley (W.Va.) and Denny Rehberg (Mont.) – also supported none of the budgets for a second consecutive year.

McKinley and Rehberg have opposed the Ryan budget both years because of its cuts to Medicare, which the West Virginia Republican labeled “drastic” on Thursday.

But the GOP House members who voted against all budgets – who also include Reps. John Duncan (Tenn.) and Ed Whitfield (Ky.) – also generally said that none of the budgets cut spending enough.

Read on…

Oh… and that Paul Ryan budget that makes cuts so extreme to Medicare two conservative Republicans couldn’t stomach voting for it… is supported by Chandler’s opponent, Garland Barr IV. Lucky for Andy, the NRCC is taking him to school to teach him how to pander to Tea Partiers better and maybe understand what he’s doing as a candidate.

Blue Dogs Raking in Cash

While their numbers dwindle, the Blue Dog Democrats are raking in large amounts of cash to keep their special brand of Republican apologetics alive:

Center for Responsive Politics research shows that 17 of the lawmakers had healthier campaign bank accounts in 2011 than in 2009, as they geared up for midterm elections in 2010.

Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper leads the pack in fundraising growth, hauling in about $634,000, an increase of 112 percent from 2009. Incumbent Reps. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Ben Chandler of Kentucky have also made solid gains of 74 percent and 56 percent, respectively, from their 2009 levels.

Ben Chandler raised $571,909 in 2009, compared to $893,140 in 2011.

On the flip side, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Majority Whip, was in Louisiville recently keynoting a GOP Young Guns fundraiser for Garland Barr IV, Chandler’s opponent — CN|2′s Pure Politics has the video.

Garland has raised $431,000 so far.

11 from the bottom of this, 7 from the bottom of that…

National Journal has its 2011 Vote Ratings out, ranking the state delegations by their liberal and conservative votes.

As you see to the left, Kentucky is way to the right. Pat yourselves on the back!

The Natty has full breakdowns for all our Senators and Representatives. You can view their ranking issue here, with various articles, pdfs and so forth. You can also check James Carroll’s article in the C-J, which breaks out each of our esteemed leaders one-by-one. Here’s the tale of the tape on the 6th:

Kentucky’s other House Democrat, Rep. Ben Chandler of the 6th District, had a voting record that reflected the more centrist area around Lexington that he represents. He ranked as the 181st most liberal (with a composite score of 57.8) and 249th most conservative (with a score of 42.2). He ranked more liberal than 59 percent of the House on social issues, and more conservative than 43 percent of the House on foreign issues.

The House of Representatives has 435 members, of which 242 are Republicans and 192 are Democrats.

Chandler ranked 181st most left leaning and 249th most right leaning which puts him about 11 away from the bottom of the Dems and seven away from the bottom of the Republicans.

Make of that — excuses or exclamations — what you will.

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