The Kentucky kumbaya is over.
Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear had vexed Republicans for more than a month until Easter weekend, where he tried to walk a tightrope in trying to protect the public as a few dozen defiant churchgoers ignored COVID-19 guidelines on mass gatherings.
Since early March, GOP members have been biting their tongues, gritting their teeth and rolling their eyes as they looked for ways to pop the “Baeshear” popularity balloon.
Republican legislative leaders couldn’t do it after looking short-sighted for refusing to stop meeting as the outbreak spread.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron tried to activate the anti-abortion movement by pressing the Beshear administration to close clinics and deem abortion an elective procedure, but he’s been ignored by the health cabinet.
But a rumbling restlessness of suit-and-tie Republicans feeling the economic anxiety, liberty activists suffering from cabin fever and evangelicals engulfed by the Holy Spirit have professional GOP circles feeling “aglow” now that the governor’s Mr. Rogers image is running thin with some Kentuckians.
“These are more cheerleading sessions — maybe that’s needed, but for me, it’s not enough,” Robert Hazelwood, a financial analyst who lives in Lexington, said of the governor’s daily briefings.
Hazelwood, a 38-year-old registered Republican, is not watching to take sign language lessons or admire children’s chalk art. He said the press conferences should be about providing Kentuckians with a game plan but feel like they are for people who watch “Ellen” on daytime TV.
“What’s frustrating for me is we have a health crisis but (also) an emerging economic crisis the longer this goes,” he said. “… The months-and-months talk is really what has me unnerved. I don’t know how anyone thinks we can go into July without economic calamity.”