Thursday, January 18, 2007

Stop Defending Slick Ernie

Governor Fletcher was the innocent target of a partisan attack.

Repeatedly, this excuse has answered the phrase “merit scandal.” Governor Fletcher’s enemies have exploded a minor incident for their own selfish political reasons. This may be a perfectly valid explanation.

However, I have heard it. Wasn’t this the Democrats’ excuse?

During the impeachment of President Clinton, weren’t we the vindictive, selfish party? Weren’t we exploding a personal matter for partisan purposes? Weren’t we exploiting a trivial matter and recklessly polarizing the country?

The retort to this misguided anger remains the same. Governor Fletcher as President Clinton committed a wrong. Not withstanding circumstance or situation, these leaders perpetrated a fraud upon the public. President Clinton’s sexual promiscuity may have been the backdrop, yet that was irrelevant. The President lied. Governor Fletcher may have been attempting good. However, ethically, he was wrong.

Amidst partisan screams, the truth existed. Despite today’s excuses, the truth remains. We need not forget the impeachment’s lessons. We need to shed the excuses and recognize the obvious… Governor Fletcher was wrong.

Conservative Edge Scorches Northup

Anne Northup? What were they thinking?
I have to wonder what the Republicans were thinking when they talked Anne Northup into running for Governor. Her list of negatives is high, yet they talk about Fletcher's electability problems.

For Northup you have to start with the thumping she and the rest of the Congressional Republicans took in 2006. That Congress bore the imprint of being ethically corrupt, big spenders. Northup was thrown out on her ears by the 3rd district congressional voters. That's hardly a good imprint to bring to a Governor's race, when you are accusing the Governor of ethical short comings.

Then, as the Herald-Leader pointed out, Northup marched in lockstep with President Bush on Iraq. In case people hadn't noticed, the Iraq war isn't popular. To think that Northup can escape that problem was naive, as the Herald-Leader aptly demonstrated today.

Hailing from Louisville has never been a good start for any gubernatorial candidate. Just ask Bruce Lunsford or Rebecca Jackson. Add to that, the absolutely horrible track record in elections for Louisville Republicans in recent years, and the head scratching becomes more intense.

Now factor in Northup's abysmal record on 2nd amendment rights, and her siding with Big Tobacco over tobacco farmer's and you begin to see a candidate who is out of touch with the average Kentuckian. It's hard to imagine a candidate who does not represent the majority of Kentuckians outside of Louisville, anymore than Anne Northup.

In addition, being a surrogate for Mitch McConnell is not the advantage that conventional wisdom says is true. Many rank and file Republicans are growing more resentful of the Senator each day. His abandonment of Fletcher, exacerbates the hard feelings.

Finally, the stated reason that Republicans have turned on Fletcher and turned to Northup is because they say that Fletcher can't get elected. You have to wonder: Ernie can't get elected but Anne can? What were they thinking?

Northup/Hoover bungle initial task
Remember that Anne Northup and Jeff Hoover have a combined zero years of experience running any state level executive branch of government. But today, they asked the voters of Kentucky to entrust them with the 30,000 employee strong Kentucky state government.

Yet, they were unable to pull off the simple administrative task of filing their election papers without a screw up. Here's how the Herald-Leader reported it:

But when turning in their papers to the Secretary of State’s office, neither Northup nor Hoover had a checkbook.

Northup looked around to her family, who was with her, then her eyes got big when she remembered her Christmas money from her mother.

She and her husband, Woody, each pulled out the $200 in cash that her mother gave them for Christmas.

“I’ll throw in $100,” Hoover added.

From the post below, it's obvious that Leland and I disagree about this. And were it not for the fact that Northup is trying to replace the first Republican Governor in 30 years, who has a solid track record of accomplishment as the state's chief executive, I might give Northup and Hoover a pass as well. But, I will expect perfection from Northup, since she is demanding it of Fletcher.

As well, the symbolism of one of the members of the fiscally irresponsible 2004-2006 Congress, having to spend christmas money, and borrow the rest to pay a debt can't be missed. Wasn't that the Congressional Republican's plan for Social Security? Northup/Hoover will have to do far better.

Remember, Anne picked this fight
Anne Northup gave a speech yesterday at her press conference announcing her candidacy for Governor. Unfortunately for Northup, the short speech was long on gaffes. For instance Northup had this to say:

Our states potential is so great, but lacking strong leadership, it will always remain unrealized.

Apparently Anne forgot, that Jeff Hoover is the House Minroty Leader. Which makes him a state leader. So why would Anne pick a weak leader if strong leadership is what is needed? Or was Northup referring to Governor Fletcher as a weak leader? If so, why start your campagin by being negative. Leaders need to cast a positive tone for the followers, not a negative one.

Northup also said this:

Jeff Hoover and I are committed to the belief that strong leaders do not isolate themselves, refusing to listen to new ideas, refusing to build coalitions and consensus. Strong leaders seek out new ideas, and look to involve as many people as possible in the pursuit of a shared vision.

Apparently Northup has spent to much time in Washington, D.C. How else to explain the fact that Governor Fletcher has brought numerous new ideas to Kentucky. His medicaid plan is a national model. His new ideas brought tax relief to Kentucky's working poor for the first time in modern history. Kentucky is a top business destination beause of Fletcher, and his foresight on our debt problems has allowed top bond companies to lower the cost of financing the state's construction. I guess someone who has spent to much time in Washington D.C. would not be aware of those things.

As well, Hoover was sought out by the Fletcher team. Unfortunately he routinely broke standing meeting with the Governor's key staff members. You can't build a coalition with people or bounce new ideas off them, if they cancel meetings. Someone who hadn't been in D.C. to much might know that.

Northup also had this little nugget:

Together, we are answering the call to service, and offering our vision of a thriving and prosperous Kentucky.

Had Anne not spent so much time in D.C., she might have known that Kentucky is thriving and prosperous. Our unemplyment is low. More Kentuckians then ever are Foley, the wasteful, ethically challenged 2004-2006 Congress, and the Iraq war. The cworking. The state is a top business destination. Governor Fletcher has helped recruit 21st centruy businesses. If Anne can do better than that, she's got a tall order.

Finally, Anne had this to say:

First and foremost, our Republican party must ensure that our standard bearer can be elected this November. Like it or not, the Democrats would love nothing more than to spend June through election day dragging the current Governor's problems through all 120 counties.

I think the Democrats won't enjoy bringing up their abuse of the merit hiring system for the past 30 years, as much as they will enjoy dragging Anne through Tom Delay, Mark harges against Governor Fletcher were dismissed with prejudice. The Democrats can't bring up the merit hiring system without running into Paul Patton, John Y. Brown, Steve Beshear and others. They can bring up the last Congress with impunity. Northup might have known this if she had not been spending so much time in D.C.

Northup must have been spent to much time in Washington D.C.
During her press conference yesterday, Anne Northup had this to say about Governor Fletcher:

Jeff Hoover and I will bring the openness and honesty to state government that Kentuckians were promised four years ago.

Northup must have been spending to much time in Washington D.C. to notice that citizens were not thrilled with her and the rest of the GOP lead Congress. But we are curious by what Northup means when she says she will bring "openness and honesty" to state government.

Does she mean the type of openness that she and her Congressional colleagues practiced in the House. Like preventing the Democrats from having the opportunity to offer amendments to legislation. Or the openness from her colleagues on Mark Foley. Maybe Northup means the honesty that was practiced by she and her Republican colleagues that kept votes on legislation open, while Republicans strong armed members until they changed their votes.

Perhaps by openness and honesty, Northup is refering to the GOP practice of slipping earmarks into spending bills in the wee hours of the morning so no one would notice. Or maybe it was the openness and honesty of going on "trade junkets" to foregin countries all paid for by lobbyists. Maybe Northup means the "K street" project.

Or perhaps Anne Northup spent to much time in Washington D.C. to realize that Kentuckians aren't as stupid as she might have thought.

Memo to Northup/Hoover- ignore the new media at your own peril
In yet another sign that Anne Northup and Jeff Hoover are not prepared to take the helm of state government, the two failed to send press releases about their candidacy to members of Kentucky's new media. We would count this as arrogant, inasmuch as Northup is a McConnell surrogate, but considering her openeing gaffe, I consdier it to be incompetent.

Governor Fletcher has been aware of and utilized Kentucky's new media almost from it's inception. Billy Harper was savvy enough to grant an interview to CE, and his campaign manager sent out e-mails and set up contacts with members of Kentucky's new media.

The fact that Northup/Hoover failed to do so shows that they are way behind the curve regarding infomration dissemination. And Kentucky desn't need leaders who are way behind the curve. Northup/Hoover will have to do alot better real fast.

Hey Billy… Start Talking

Thus far, I have hesitated to criticize Billy Harper. As opposed to ignoring the primary or relying on blogs to mindlessly promote him, he has been releasing policy statements.

However, as I have researched his candidacy, I have become concerned with his ambiguous statements on KERA. Despite his recent radio interview and press release, his position requires clarification.

I admire Harper’s campaigning. With that stated, he is running for Governor. This warrants a clear, bold, outlined stance on the future of Kentucky education.

Jail Bating

The residents of Kenton County are opposed to a new jail. They have been protesting for weeks. They have explored and debated alternate sites and the merits of even building the jail. The bar hotel is clearly unwanted. However, are the residents really this desperate?
Opponents of a planned Kenton County jail near Independence are looking for help from Gov. Ernie Fletcher, going so far as to say they will act as political "ground troops" for his re-election effort if he offers his assistance.

In a letter that was overnighted to Fletcher's office on Tuesday, Independence attorney and jail opposition organizer Eric Deters told the governor that jail opponents were willing to canvass in Fletcher's next campaign if he offers his help in finding an alternative location for the jail. "The purpose of this letter is to ask for your intervention," Deters wrote. "You can have thousands of grateful citizens prepared to walk door to door for you."

In the letter to Fletcher, Deters said he has the signatures of 2,500 residents who are willing to work for his campaign.
Eric Deters is clearly warped. How else can one explain his willingness to prostitute thousands for a jail? He is irrationally pandering, providing the perfect opportunity for another Fletcher sponsored scandal. No, the inmates are not running the asylum. Without them, we would not need one.

I understand the objections of Kenton County’s citizens. Jails inhabit land and house criminals. They are not a welcome addition. However, trading in politics for governance? There is a reason those two roads should never intersect.

Objection! You’re Endorsing Him?

Once indicted Governor garners judicial support.
From the Bowling Green Daily News:

Southcentral Kentucky Republican judge-executives are pooling their support for the re-election of Gov. Ernie Fletcher and calling on others to join them.

A support letter was issued Tuesday - a day before Fletcher's visit to Bowling Green - and was signed by 10 county judge-executives, including those in Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Simpson and Warren counties.

Fletcher will be at the Carroll Knicely Conference Center at 5 p.m. today for a town hall meeting to get public input on spending the state's budget surplus.

"It's something some of us have been talking about for a number of weeks," said Simpson County Judge-Executive Jim Henderson. "The governor is coming to Bowling Green today so we wanted to get it together by the time he was here so he would know he had our support. ... I realize it's getting close to the filing time ... and we wanted to make sure other candidates knew he had our support."

Henderson said that last week three northern Kentucky Republican judge-executives issued their support of the governor. "I don't think it's anything unusual for seated judge-executives to issue support for an incumbent governor of their party," Henderson said.

The race for governor is getting more crowded on both sides of the aisle. Former Louisville Congresswoman Anne Northrup said she would join the Republican race that already includes Paducah businessman Billy Harper.

House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, is mulling a run in the primary that includes former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear, state Treasurer Jonathan Miller and Otis Hensley Jr., of Harlan and possibly former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry.

Judge-executives supporting Fletcher say that he kept his word in creating economic opportunities for the state and eliminated waste in government, saving taxpayers money. They are also touting the money spent on roads and infrastructure in southcentral Kentucky. During that time, the region also saw Democratic leadership from Richards and Rob Wilkey of Scottsville and previously Roger Thomas of Smiths Grove, who worked to garner projects for the area.

"That's not unique to this election cycle," Henderson said of Richards' potential run. "It very well could have been an issue four years ago when he ran. But I'm sure that complicates things for some folks."

Henderson said the judge-executives felt compelled to support Fletcher because he has been good to southcentral Kentucky and recognizes "that we play an important part in the state."

While the region in earlier years may have been considered mostly Democrat, the 10 counties in the Barren River Area Development District now boast that eight of the 10 county judge-executives are Republican, something Henderson says is unusual. As for criticism that Fletcher won't have a good showing in the election because of past problems, including the hiring scandal, Henderson is still confident.

"Certainly I would prefer we had a non-contested primary for an incumbent governor," he said. "But there are a lot of folks who have speculated that a healthy primary could be good for governor, when he emerges as a winner and shows he is strong enough to get elected."
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