An unexpected turn of events —a veritable Macaca moment— has enlivened the already lively Kentucky 2010 Senate race.  Even before Republican incumbent Jim Bunning announced last week that he won’t be running for re-election, there were fireworks enough on the Democratic side between Lieutenant Governor Don Mongiardo and Attorney General Jack Conway.
Mr. Conway’s general approach to campaigning has adopted a somewhat soft-edged focus on his off-the-charts telegenicity — as demonstrated in this ad for his 2008 AG race.

Restless for bigger things after only sixteen months, Mr. Conway threw his hat into the Senate race in April.  Mr. Mongiardo has been zeroing in on him, charging that he represents the “silver spoon” element in politics.

Last week at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic —a Catholic-sponsored summer charity event whose motto is “Pork, Pride, and Politics” — Messrs. Mongiardo and Conway traded jabs.  Mr. Conway was riled by some of  Dr. Mongiardo’s assaults —the Lieut. Gov. is also an ENT surgeon— and, mad as heck, decided not to take it any more.   “Daniel,” he said, “you may be an ear, nose and throat doctor, but you’ve misdiagnosed me, because when it comes to me, you can’t hear the truth, you can’t smell the truth and you sure as hell can’t speak the truth.”

OK, fair enough.  But then Mr. Conway continued to wax increasingly  indignant.  Louisville Courier-Journal columnist Joseph Gerth describes what happened next:

It maybe wasn’t such a bad thing. It was mostly an adult crowd and the betting is that some 95 percent of the people there had used the term before.

Maybe even the priest sitting two rows behind him and maybe even the retired bishop who sat next to the priest.

But it still seemed a bit out of place when Attorney General Jack Conway, thundering away at the notoriously loud and uncivil crowd at the state’s premier annual political event — held at St. Jerome Catholic Church — told them to go ahead and make noise.

“Go ahead and chew on my hide … it only grows back tougher,” Conway told the crowd, ostensibly quoting retired Sen. Wendell Ford, who is a legend in these parts. “You’re looking at one tough son of a bitch.”

The moment was caught on tape, and the story had legs:

And now a viral video has immortalized the moment and is already attracting attention from the likes of Politico.