Thursday, February 1, 2007

Anne Gephardt?

Anne Northup: 39%
Ernie Fletcher: 39%
Billy Harper: 10%

This poll is meaningless. Northup is Dick Gephardt in Iowa in 1988.

He did not win. She will not win.

Speaking Politician

Anne Northup: “I really did not think I’d be in another political race so soon.”

Spoken with a career politician’s conviction.

Billy Harper: “There’s absolutely no doubt as to why I’m in this race…”

Spoken as someone who cares.

Are They Dumb?

From the Kentucky Post:

Local officials in Kentucky are urging state lawmakers to revoke a provision that could lead to a runoff election following the May 22 primary. Most view the $5 million cost of a runoff election as an avoidable expense, Boyd County Clerk Debbie Jones said. And the $3 million share of the cost that will have to be paid by county governments makes it unaffordable. "That's money that could be used to pave roads," Jones said.

Key lawmakers haven't dismissed the possibility of changing the state law that could trigger the runoff election. The provision has been on the books since 1992 but so far never used. It says if no one gets at least 40 percent of the vote, the top two candidates go into the runoff. With seven candidates running in the Democratic primary for governor, the chances that a runoff will be needed are high. Secretary of State Trey Grayson said he opposes the runoff, but he said he doesn't favor changing the law in the midst of the gubernatorial primary.

However, Grayson said he is aware that local officials are concerned about the cost and would rather see the runoff eliminated. Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who has two opponents in the Republican primary, hasn't taken a position on the issue. He said he would support whatever lawmakers decide to do. House Speaker Jody Richards, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, has said he favors eliminating the runoff.

Senate President David Williams said he has "never been a fan of the runoff" but that he has heard sentiment among lawmakers not to change the provision in an election year. Williams said he has no position on the issue.

Were these costs unknown? Were they unanticipated?

These career, panicking politicians are wretched. They are facing difficult circumstances. Naturally, they attempt to kick the ball into the hole.

Play the ball where it lies… for once!

Blogging in the Issues Between

There were a couple of veiled references (to the hiring scandal), but overall it was a refreshing return, if only briefly, to a discussion of the real issues at hand. Unfortunately, those are the same that they have been in Kentucky since the beginning of time: education, jobs, taxes, pork, corruption, good ol' boys.

(Fine. You do not wish to rehash these issues? Why don’t we try solving them, which obviously we have not done.)

On Billy Harper. The Western Kentucky millionaire is genuine and sincere, but he has a single-issue platform and a limited ability to sell it. By his own admission, he sounds like a broken record. Education, education, education.

(Is this reporter blind? Education is the silver bullet. Education could solve poverty, homelessness, unemployment, and social unrest. Education is the answer. Kentucky’s test scores are terrible. Education in this state is terrible. If Billy Harper sounds akin to a broken record, this is because the system he is addressing is crushed.)

More Bad News

Ford Motor Co. sold 8,876 Explorer sport utility vehicles in January, the vehicle’s worst performance since 1990 when it was launched and production was still ramping up. The figure was a 26 percent drop from January of last year. January is typically a slow sales month for cars and trucks, following year-end sales in December. Ford makes the Explorer at the Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road. Ford sales analyst George Pipas said most of the Explorer’s decline came from the automaker’s decision to slash less-profitable sales to rental car fleets. Retail sales were off 13 percent. "For the most part, it’s continuing the trend we saw last year," Pipas said of the SUV.

Ford sold 44,919 F-Series pickups. F-Series Super Duty models built at the Kentucky Truck Plant on Chamberlain Lane typically make up about 40 percent of F-Series sales. Overall, Ford sales were down 19 percent because of the poor truck and SUV sales and because the automaker ended production last year of its money-losing Taurus sedan. Almost all Taurus models built in the 2005 and 2006 were sold to car rental companies. "All of us are focused on restructuring our business to be profitable at lower volumes," Ford Americas President Mark Fields said in press release.

The Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands fell to fourth place in automotive sales for the month, behind General Motors, Toyota and DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler Group. January was a poor month for many of Ford’s competitors. General Motors logged a 16 percent sales decline, something it also attributed to reducing of rental car sales. Sales of its TrailBlazer SUV, a vehicle that competes with the Explorer, dropped 30 percent to 9,368.

Sales of the Bowling Green, Ky.,-built Corvette sports car fell 13 percent to 2,234. The Silverado pickup saw flat sales, although GM said it increased retail sales and dropped fleet shipments. At Chrysler, sales were up slightly in January thanks to booming sales of the Jeep Wrangler and increases in minivans.

Toyota Motor Co. had the strongest January in its history with a nearly 15 percent increase is sales of Georgetown, Ky.,-made Camry sedans. The automaker’s Princeton, Ind., plant did not fare as well with double-digit declines in the Tundra pickup, Sienna minivan and Sequoia SUV. Honda Motor Co. also had a record January, mainly on the strengths of a redesigned CR-V SUV and stronger Accord sedan sales.

Conservative Edge… Still Bludgeoning

Northup badly miscalulated her support

To hear Anne Northup supporters tell it, Anne's 39% number in a recent internal poll against Governor Fletcher's 39%, is great news. The reality is, Anne Northup and Mitch McConnell badly underestimated the desire of rank and file Republicans to have an alternative to Fletcher. Were all the hype surrounding Northup's candidacy true, one would expect Northup to be well over 75%.

According to Northup, Republicans from all over the state were begging her to take on Fletcher. But in reality, only 39% want her. So, Northup and McConnell have divided the party and attacked the first Republican sitting Governor in over 30 years, with the same ferocity of a liberal Democrat or Herald-Leader editor and have little or nothing to show for the effort.

If Northup wins the primary, she better figure out a way to attract enough Democrats to her ticket to make up for all the Fletcher supporters she and Mitch alienated along the way. Then she'll have to figure out how to convince more Democrats to vote for a former member of the GOP congressional team that was thrown out of D.C. last year, with out so much as a "thanks for the memories". Good luck with that.

Bad news for Northup; She is unelectable too

Looking to the future, Anne Northup and Mitch McConnell decided to split the Republican party in Kentucky, publicly criticize the state's first sitting Republican Governor, and campaign against him with an assault that makes the Washington Post attack on George Allen seem tame. To boot, the Northup-McConnell team based their entire campaign on the "non-electability" of Governor Fletcher. All of which causes me to scratch my head in wonder about all the glee coming from the Northup camp over Northup's just released poll that shows that she is unelectable too.

Sure, she may lose by a smaller margin than Governor Fletcher. But, a loss is still a loss. I thought Team Northup would have learned that lesson at the hands of neophyte John Yarmuth. With vision like that, it's no wonder Mitch is the new Senate Minority leader, and Northup has all the time in the world to further divide the GOP.

Northup supporters starting to sound like liberal media

While listening to Rush Limbaugh take the liberal media to task for it's unfair portrayal of the national economy, I was struck by how much Anne Northup's supporters sound like that national liberal media when they discuss Governor Fletcher. Northup's people take every opportunity to downplay Kentucky's economic vitality, and the success of the Fletcher Administration. Take Lt. Gov. Steve Pence for example. Rather than admit that Kentucky's growing economy and Governor Fletcher's reduction of waste in state government, produced a budget surplus, Pence trashed the Governor over a problem largely attributable to the state legislature.

In response to a question about the projected $400 million surplus, here's what Pence had to say: If you view things as everything is a separate pot of money, then you can say, 'Yes, we have an $11 billion debt in the retirement system, but we have a $260 million surplus in the general fund,'" he said. "That is not a very wise way to look at it." That's like telling an individual with more income than monthly bills, that they have do not have extra spending money in their monthly budget, because they owe money on a mortgage. It's an apples to oranges comparison, and not very bright. If Pence were correct he should also have mentioned the state debt for all the bonds that have been issued. Kentucky has far more than $11 billion in debt obligations. But, Pence is not sophisticated enough to know what he is talking about, he just wanted to bash Fletcher with a Democratic talking point.

As well, the KRS problem can't be solved by throwing the budget surplus down that rat hole. The state legislature has created the problem by establishing a defined benefit pension plan instead of a defined contribution plan. Defined benefit plans are bankrupting companies, and now states. If Pence were really concerned about the KRS problem, and not merely wanting to trash the Governor, he should have been using some of his state paid time, to educate himself and lobby the legislature. In addition, when it comes to Ketucky's record employment numbers, Northup supporters throw cold water on it like a New York Times editor throws cold water on an Iraqi military victory.

Despite the fact that more Kentukians then ever are working, and the state unemployment rate fell one point to near full employment of 5.2%, Northup supporters drug out a cold statisitic that Kentucky ranks 42nd out of 50 in the nation on that rate. The fact is, the economy is strong throughout the country. Don't bash Fletcher because every boat has risen. Plus, those cold statisitics don't tell about the type of jobs that Fletcher is recruiting for Kentucky. Companies with 21st century jobs are being attracted to Kentucky's business friendly environment. Even more perplexing is the criticism of Fletcher over the unemployment rates in Appalachia. For the uninformed, Appalachia has always had higher unemployment rates.

The problem for the "old fifth" is that much of the region lacks the infrasturcture necessary to attract business. Companies will locate in areas that have cheap labor and easy access to major transporation routes . That's why rural counties along interstate 65 in west central Kentucky, the Golden Trianle and in Somerset are seeing new businesses locate in their communities. Hazard doesn't have a chance to compete against those areas because it is difficult to get to.

Even more troubling is the fact that the same people criticizing Fletcher for Appalachia's problems are supporting Northup. Ms. Northup directed a tirade at transporation officials last fall, because they refused her demand to divert much needed money for infrastructure improvement in Appalachia to the Louisville bridge projects. Had Northup's tantrum been succesful, the "old fifth" would have been even further behind the unemployment curve. It's sad to see Kenutcky Republicans, who support a person that talks about coalition building, resort to the tactics of the drive by media. Norhtup/Hoover will have to do better.

CE, We’re Positive You’re Wrong

From Conservative Edge:

One striking aspect of the current Governor's race is that the challengers are being such pessimists about Kentucky. Gatewood Galbraith thinks Kentucky is going down hill. Anne Northup supporters dimiss Kentucky's record employment numbers, because of the fact that the whole country is doing well.

In the end, pessimism may be all that the Governor Fletcher's challengers may have. Which is to bad. In reality, Kentucky is doing very well. More Kentuckians then ever are working. The vast majority of our students who receive degrees of higher education are staying in state. Test scores are improving. The working poor have had their Kentucky income taxes reduced to zero. Companies that are opening businesses in the state are brining 21st century jobs. Kentucky is one of the top business destinations in the nation.

It's a shame that Republican supporters of Anne Northup are doing their best to spin things in a negative fashion. It's expected that the Democrats are doing the same.

We'll be watching the candidates to get specifics on what they say is wrong, and how they say they will specifically fix the problems. Then we will analyze their facts and their plans.

The Conservative Edge thinks Kentucky's glass is half full. It's to bad all the gubernatorial candidates want to convince you it is half empty, but that they can fill it up.

Conservative Edge, Billy Harper also views Kentucky’s glass as half full. Browse his public statements? He is not negative.
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