Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Anne’s Overreaching: Blogging Between the Quotes

"There's always a lot to learn about different parts of the state"

Specifically, conservative Republicans abhor RINO’s and pork barrel spending.

Bill Stone, a prominent Louisville Republican, said he thinks Fletcher will be hard to beat in the primary and that Northup's background could serve as a detriment to her across the state. "If Abraham Lincoln ran as an East Louisville suburbanite, it wouldn't be 100 percent positive even for him," he said. "I don't think it's a statewide political advantage."

I have admired Abraham Lincoln. I have studied Abraham Lincoln. I’ve read the text of his Gettysburg Address. Anne Northup is no Abraham Lincoln.

"As a Republican and as a Kentuckian, I'm answering this call to service because our party and the people all across Kentucky deserve an alternative to the current governor."

She is also answering the call because she is a career politician.

"She's wrong on the issues and wrong on the geography," Larry Forgy said. "She's better known in Floyd County, Indiana, (across the river from Louisville) than she is in Floyd County, Kentucky."

Correct Larry. She is known as a 2006 Congressional loser.

"Anne's going to play really well to the urban areas of the state, and I think Jeff Hoover will play very well to the more rural parts of the state and more outlying parts of the state," Richie Farmer said.

Hoover will play well? Despite right to life refusing to endorse him?

"It's not as though she's starting out cold. She's reasonably well known across the state from her time in Congress," Larry Sabato said. "Ernie Fletcher will create most of her vote for her. There are undoubtedly Republicans who are loyal to Fletcher, but a fair amount of Republicans actually want to win in November."

Yes we do. It’s clear Anne cannot win.

Mutiny on the Fletcher?

Ryan Alessi dissects the Governor’s staff shifting and sudden attention binge.

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Faced with two challengers in the GOP primary now, Gov. Ernie Fletcher and his chief backers responded last week with an aggressive effort to snare Republicans' endorsements and expressed frustration with those who support his opponents. It was, to date, the most tangible sign of Fletcher's resolve to stave off a mutiny within the GOP.

"I've talked to a few friends who have gotten phone calls in the last week," said J. Todd Inman, an Owensboro Republican. "It's amazing that it didn't seem like there was a campaign in existence until a week ago, when a formidable opponent emerged."

Now it seems there's a mad scurry to get people's names on a piece of paper," he said, noting that endorsements don't always translate into votes. "That's the reason why we have secret ballots."

Good From the RINO?

Anne Northup good for Governor Fletcher? Vere Loqui highlights Northup’s November loss. He also criticizes her running mate and her supposed strength. However, he also chimes the familiar tunes of the anti-Fletcher media and the vast-McConnell wing conspiracy.

From Vere Loqui:

Much of the speculation over the Republican nomination for governor in Kentucky has centered on the threat Anne Northup poses to Gov. Ernie Fletcher's reelection. But Northup's candidacy is not a threat to the Fletcher administration; it's an opportunity. Ryan Alessi's article today, titled, "Fletcher Moves to Stop Mutiny," has a slightly negative slant on Fletcher, portraying the Fletcher campaign in a defensive posture.

Some national political wags are even saying the race is Northup's to lose. This is a mistaken assessment. Here's why: First, Northup is overrated. Although she's a competent campaigner, smart and determined, and she is from Jefferson County, the most populous county in the state, she apparently has little campaign apparatus outside the county. Larry Forgy is right: more people know Anne Northup "in Floyd County, Tennessee than in Floyd County, Kentucky."

In addition, some analysts are forgetting she lost there. Her chances to build an organization were dealt a blow recently when Republican legislators began lining up for Fletcher in numbers that must have surprised even Fletcher supporters. This certainly must have surprised Northup's campaign, which was probably expecting just the opposite. It was Northup's Bay of Pigs. Most of these commitments came from the Senate, but there would have been more from the House had not Jeff Hoover (R-Jamestown), Northup's running mate, been Minority Floor Leader there. Hoover's leadership position in the House will help the campaign's success outside Louisville, but most of that help will be in the fact that some support for Fletcher will be neutralized rather than that Hoover will get the necessary support from members.

But the election of Stan Lee (R-Lexington) to minority whip has to be seen not only as an indication of dissatisfaction with Hoover's get-along-with-the-Democrats approach that has characterized his tenure, but proof that there is a willingness among members to openly buck his leadership. This can't bode well for Northup. Second, Fletcher is underrated. He is the sitting governor after all. The power of his position was on display in the recent commitments the governor received from lawmakers and county judge-executives. In addition, Fletcher's chief activity over the last few months has been announcing projects county to county. Local officials don't forget such things. So if it is true that Fletcher's chances are better against Northup than the analyst's think, what is it that makes Northup's candidacy good for the governor's prospects?

First, attention. One of the problems Fletcher has had during his administration is the poor communication of his accomplishments. The Fletcher administration would probably say that this is due to an anti-Fletcher media, and this is probably at least partly true. The governor has not exactly gotten good breaks while in office either. But the Fletcher administration seems to keep its spokesmen on a short leash, and this hasn't helped. The Fletcher administration needs a Tony Snow--bad. The fact that Fletcher now is in a position of having to get out and campaign early is placing some much needed pressure on getting its message out.

The Governor's chief of staff, Stan Cave is the best spokesperson the administration has, but his adminstrative duties obviously place limits on what he has been able to do. The Northup candidacy has forced the administration into a position in which it must deploy Cave. Cave is not known to suffer fools glady, particularly those he feels inhabit the media. But Cave is everything Fletcher is not. Fletcher is not a fighter (despite his military background). Cave is. The sooner he is out with Larry Forgy battling for the administration, the better off it will be. The only time Fletcher has made the news over the past year is in regard to the hiring investigation. Northup's challenge to Fletcher will force the administration into changing that sooner than it otherwise would have.

The second reason the Northup candidacy helps is that it could provide the Fletcher administration with a victory it needs to shore up the public image of a less than competent administration that has developed over the past couple of years. Fletcher does not wield power very well. He doesn't understand the mystique of the governor's office. He comes out of his hospital room after an illness last year in his hospital pajamas. No governor who the importance of a public persona would address the cameras in his pajamas. No one should have seen Fletcher during that time. While he is seen when he shouldn't be, he often isn't seen when he should be.

When the Comair flight crashed at Bluegrass field last summer, the governor should have been on the spot giving a speech the next day putting the tragedy in perspective, much as Reagan did after the first shuttle crash--even if he had to fly back from Europe to do it. Instead, little was seen of him. These tendencies have caused a crisis of confidence among many people in Fletcher's leadership. But this perception could be changed if he is able to beat a viable opponent in the primary. Victories inspire confidence, and victories have been few and far between during Fletcher' tenure.

The failure to get Larry Forgy on the Republican state executive committee last year, for example, hurt--less because Forgy didn't make it than because it contributed to the perception that Fletcher is weak. It probably shouldn't have been attempted in the first place unless it was a sure thing. A victory over Northup, however, would provide Fletcher not only with a victory over Northup, but a victory over Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is said to run the state party, and is perceived to be invincible. McConnell is clearly behind Northup, even though he claims to be neutral in the primary.

Fletcher has been manhandled by McConnell's minions (such as Jack Richardson, head of the Jefferson County Republican Party). A Fletcher victory against Northup would change all that. If Fletcher is successful against Northup, he has an important victory in his pocket as he enters the general election--and he will have slain a much larger dragon than any he will face in the general election. If he can beat McConnell, he will have achieved something no Democrat has been able to accomplish so far. Most importantly, he will have changed public perception, which has always been his chief problem.
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