Thursday, March 1, 2007

Pence: Soldier of Political Convenience

Steve Pence is pathetic.

After endorsing Anne Northup, he voices his concerns? Today, he condemns Ernie Fletcher’s ethics? He theorizes a grand conspiracy? Please!

Pence is not a man of conscience. He is a politician of convenience. The truth is, Pence did not have concerns, does not have concerns, and never had concerns. If Pence were disturbed with Fletcher’s actions, he could have resigned. If he were a man of conscience, he would have done this. He would have marched into Fletcher’s office, chastised him, resigned, and publicly condemned the Governor. He sat silent.

He remains Lieutenant Governor. If he were a man of conscience, he would resign now. Instead, he attacks from his elected office. His actions are not courageous. They are cheap and tactical. Pence is a wretched human being. He should resign. Someone truly concerned for Kentucky would have.

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Lt. Gov. Steve Pence, who in four years has gone from cheerleader for Gov. Ernie Fletcher to stern critic, said two of the governor's key acts in response to the state hiring investigation were cover-ups.

Pence told the Herald-Leader in an exclusive interview that he thought Fletcher decided to issue pardons on Aug. 29, 2005, as a way to keep the probe from incriminating anyone in the governor's office. "I'm quite confident that there was a fear about how high it would go up in this administration," Pence said.

He also said that the deal Fletcher later struck with Attorney General Greg Stumbo to end the hiring investigation was made "to keep anything else from coming out."

Pence -- in detailing for the first time his frustrations with Fletcher's handling of the hiring investigation -- traced his estrangement with Fletcher to late August 2005, a crucial point at which the administration was trying to hammer out its strategy to respond to the growing political crisis. At that time, Pence said he and others in the administration had argued against taking the drastic step of issuing pardons, and thought Fletcher had agreed.

But suddenly, Pence said, he received a call Aug. 29 that Fletcher would have a rally in the Capitol Rotunda that night to announce that he was granting broad amnesty to his entire administration. He said he thinks Fletcher was following advice from his chief of staff, Stan Cave. "I do not know what caused him to do that on that day," Pence said. "I will tell you this: I know that he was meeting with Stan. I think Stan Cave had a lot to do with the decision."

From the Louisville Courier-Journal:

Lt. Gov. Steve Pence yesterday stepped up his criticism of Gov. Ernie Fletcher's response to the political patronage investigation that rocked the administration and caused the two to part ways politically nine months ago.

"We can all have different opinions on what all this means," Pence said in an interview. "But the facts are what they are. The fact is the pardons happened. The fact is he did take the Fifth (Amendment before a grand jury). The fact is he was indicted. The fact is he does have a legal defense fund. The fact is he said we were going to get to the unvarnished truth, but we didn't."

On Monday Pence, who was elected with Fletcher in 2003 on a slate that promised to "clean up the mess in Frankfort," endorsed one of Fletcher's rivals in this year's Republican primary for governor, former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup of Louisville. In doing so he criticized the governor's decision to cut a deal to have misdemeanor charges against him dismissed and said it had "made the truth near impossible to find."

"I said at the first news conference when the governor was overseas, 'We are going to get to the bottom of this. This governor gets it when it comes to integrity and stopping this good-old-boy system,'" Pence said. "The governor's words were, and they were parroted by me and many others at the time, that we are going to find the unvarnished truth. That did not happen."

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