Thursday, February 15, 2007

KY Politics: Northup Desperate

For weeks now, those supporting Anne Northup's gubernatorial bid have been bursting at the seams in their anticipation of the trial of Sam Beverage, one of the so-called state merit investigation defendants.

Is this clever political maneuvering or just plain desperation politics? One thing's for certain the time-honored practice of using the criminal justice system to do in one's political adversaries knows no bounds. Kentucky Republicans and Democrats are happy to do it to their partisan kin, with great vigor at that.

What may unfold in the days ahead is a report that one of Northup's advisers coached a prospective witness in the Beverage trial. What's with that? A Northup memo released today appears to be an act of desperation to draw attention to some exaggerated significance of the Beverage case and away from her error-prone bid for governor.

(One side note: After reading the Northup memo, a neutral observer commented, "This is pure emotional reaction on their part. Not a good sign for the Northup folks to be doing this. I can't believe Anne wrote this.")

Were she and her advisers more plugged into the Beverage case, they would realize that it won't begin to give them the octane they'll need to finish the race. Sam Beverage's legal woes are a non-starter for Anne Northup's political fortunes. But, it's not the first time Fletcher's GOP adversaries have tried to cook up a self-fulfilling prophecy. Nor will it be the last.

Of course, voters see beyond this thin rhetorical flak. They see that Ernie Fletcher was given the most intensive of prosecutorial colonoscopies. All that came of it was a few measly misdemeanors, which were later dismissed by Atty. Gen. Greg Stumbo himself.

Yet, what's mind boggling about this latest episode is how Louisville GOPers are so quick to throw a fellow Republican under the bus. Maybe they should consider that one day they may be on the receiving end of their version of party loyalty.

Just last week, Northup saw their election map shrink as U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis's 4th District slipped away from being competitive to solidly for Fletcher.

On top of that, she has no traction in eastern, western or southern Kentucky where Fletcher has assets already on the ground. Central Kentucky is also strong for Fletcher. That leaves Northup's hometown, Louisville as her one and only sure or competitive region.

When Larry Dale Keeling wrote for the Sunday Herald-Leader that the Sam Beverage trial was a dark cloud looming over Fletcher's reelection plans, Northup seized on it in a heartbeat. Never mind that Stumbo's office isn't prosecuting the case with their knack for putting political spin on things.

Overplaying one's hand can be fatal in this game of politics. Apparently, with Northup's chances dwindling, this latest salvo is what can and does happen.

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