In Washington, Mitch McConnell is a power broker. In Kentucky, where the senator faces a tough re-election slog, he's just the big-government sonofabitch that made life tougher for hardscrabble locals trying to make a living by breeding animals to rip each other to death for sport.
The Lexington Herald-Ledger reports that the lobby for cockfighters in the state—yes, they have a lobby—is hopping mad at McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader, over his vote for a federal farm bill. The belligerent peckerwoods say they may back McConnell's primary opponent, a tea-party-friendly Baptist zealot who's also endorsed by Glenn Beck:
"This will destroy Mitch McConnell in Kentucky," said Craig Davis, president of the United Gamefowl Breeders Association.
At issue is an amendment included in the $956 billion farm bill, approved and signed into law this month, that makes it a federal crime to be a spectator at an animal fight.
The new law makes attending a cockfight or dogfight a federal misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and $100,000 fine. It makes bringing a minor to such fights a federal felony, punishable by up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine...
The lobbyists for Big Cock "say their 'culture and heritage' was misunderstood and wrongly maligned":
"When you make a law like that, you take good taxpaying people and you turn them into criminals overnight," Davis said. "The grass roots on this are not playing games anymore. They've been beaten and battered for 30 years. They're rural people. They want to be left alone."...
For many rural Kentuckians, Davis said, breeding gamefowl is crucial to helping shore up incomes decimated by the decline of coal and a dearth of manufacturing jobs. Hens used for breeding can sell for $100 and roosters can sell for $250, but Davis said two hens and a rooster that come from a winning progeny can fetch as much as $1,500.
Davis said the grass-roots movement associated with cockfighters was fed up after three decades of watching their freedoms being taken from them.
This is the logical consequence not (just) of Kentucky's backwardness, but of a national culture that for years has subverted every other value to jobs jobs jobs. If you can't adequately deregulate Big Coal and Big Industry to where we can all get subsistence wages while waiting to die of black lung, cave-ins or work-related carcinomas, then let us have our bloody roosterdeath business, goddamnit!
The junior senator from Kentucky, Republican Rand Paul, avoided the ire of Big Cock since he voted against the farm bill—even though he's actively campaigning for McConnell. Because, you see, Big Cock is about principles and the preservation of culture and heritage and most of all jobs jobs jobs, not your namby-pamby consistency.
"If Mitch McConnell doesn't help us now, then we're going to drag him down into the gully with us on Election Day," Davis concluded. May as well slap some spurs on each other in the gully and see if you can charge admission. That's job creatin', bluegrass-style!
[Photo credit: AP]