Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Anne’s Plunge

From Presidential committee member to Congresswoman to inept Gubernatorial candidate… The mighty has fallen.

From Cyber Hillbilly:

1999… eight years ago… seems like a lifetime ago. George W. Bush was the Governor of Texas and the likely GOP nominee to take on the Clinton establishment in what would turn out to be one of the tightest Presidential elections in history. Osama Bin Laden was a name that most Americans would have been hard pressed to remember.

In Kentucky, Ernie Fletcher was a freshman Congressman trying to learn the ropes. Mitch McConnell, then as now, was the most successful politician in recent Kentucky history. And Anne Northup was already playing politics on a national stage. By March 1999, George W. Bush, aided by a savvy team of Republicans intent on retaking the White House, was looking to send the right message about his candidacy. He was a different sort of Republicans, his advisors suggested.

He was much more caring about issues of poverty and much more religious than many in the GOP. In fact, he would blend the two themes together to create the idea of compassionate conservativism; that is, the use of government resources to subsidize the secular charitable activities of churches under the premise that these groups could better help move people out of poverty than bureaucracies could. To set the right tone, part of what Governor Bush needed was a stellar A Team of political figures who would endorse him, support him, and lend their credibility to his endeavor. These pols would be vetted for their skill, for their accomplishments, and for the message they sent to American voters. Enter the Presidential Exploratory Committee.

The committee consisted of 10 prominent Republicans. George Schultz and Condi Rice, former and future Secretary’s of State; Haley Barbour, former RNC Chairman and future Governor of Mississippi; Michigan Governor John Engler, later a cabinet member; Georgia Senator Paul Coverdell; and Anne Northup, to name a few. That Northup would be included in such illustrious company by one of the most sophisticated Presidential candidates and campaigns in recent memory is yet another testament to her skill. This is a message that doesn’t always come out about Northup.

You hear her (in my mind valid and fair game) criticisms of the Governor. In the blogosphere you'll hear the shrill, albeit sycophantic, Fletcher supporters whining "unfair", and claiming that they still don’t know what Northup stands for despite the fact that they, as self appointed GOP experts should be expected to know such things. But what you don't hear about are Anne Northup's accomplishments, here life story, her family story, and, most importantly in a political race, her political skills and accomplishments. Hopefully before the race is over most voters will become acquainted with Northup’s success story. It’s a story of impressive accomplishments in many walks of life… not the least of which is politics.

Conservative Edge: Northup Attacks?

One source has told the CE that Anne Northup's speech at this past Saturday's Fayette County Reagan Day Dinner was an over the top attack on Governor Fletcher that left many in the room seething. Northup's rhetoric was described as bitter, angry, and an escalation of her already sharp attack on the Governor. I am waiting to speak with others who attended the event. If you were there, we'd love to here from you.

Nattering Nabobs Spin Fletcher’s Numbers

SURVEYUSA poll: Fletcher's numbers fall -- again.

Mark Hebert of On the Mark is reporting, and Bluegrassreport is confirming, that a new SURVEYUSA poll is out. They suggest that the Governor's poll numbers are down from last month -- from 36 to 32 approval, with from 59% to 63% disapproval (46% of Reps. now approve, down from 50%). Mark Hebert should know because he works for WHAS 11, which jointly conducted the poll with SURVEYUSA, and he confirmed the existence of the UNPUBLISHED poll results to me. I will update this post as soon as I can confirm the results OFFICIALLY! So stay tuned.

UPDATE: I have now CONFIRMED the OFFICIAL SURVEYUSA poll results (taken on 3/12/07) and the numbers posted above are CORRECT. What is WORSE is that the Independents' approval of the job the Gov. is doing tumbled from 41% last month to just 22% approve and from 58 to 70% disapprove! Also for those who described themselves as Moderates, ONLY 24% approve, while 74% disapprove!!

Fletcher's Numbers Down



Fletcher's Job Approval Re-Tanks

Foolish Television Ad Fails On All Fronts GOP Rejects Fletcher's Foolish Attempts To Purchase Re-Election With Taxpayer Money View Survey USA Poll Data - 3/12/07 - Fletcher Approval Rating Re-Tanks Be sure to use the droplist to view all tracking points (male, female, republican, etc.). Mark Nickolas busted this news out even before Mark Hebert did, and Hebert's network sponsors the KY poll. That really is kind of funny. Here goes Nickolas:

So much for any improvement that Governor Fletcher (R) hoped to get with just two months from the hotly contested Republican gubernatorial primary as Survey USA has just released the latest monthly survey and the news is not good for the governor who won't stand up to the bullies. Just 32% of Kentuckians approve of Fletcher's job performance while 63% disapprove.

Billy Harper Answers John David Dyche

Here is Billy Harper's Response to the John David Dyche column in the Courier Journal:

Billy Harper: nice guys can finish first
By Billy Harper, Republican candidate for governor

This paper recently published a column by John David Dyche that was childishly critical of me personally, and I write today to address each of the points he raised.

First, he claims that I only entered the Republican gubernatorial primary as an alternative to the current governor, and now that GOP voters have three choices my candidacy is no longer viable. That’s just wrong. Dyche mistakenly dismisses the powerful alternative my campaign represents to Kentuckians who recognize that the leadership vacuum in Frankfort has paralyzed our state government institutions. What’s more, my campaign is not merely an alternative to any one individual but rather a true choice for voters who have grown weary of this state’s political establishment.

I’m a businessman, not a politician. I believe we need new and innovative ideas in state government, not more of the same. Dyche goes on to assail my personal appearance and public speaking ability, a trivial reaction that avoids the real issue here. As an aspiring author, Mr. Dyche should know better than to judge a book by its cover. Yet that’s exactly what he’s done – reject my ideas based on how I talk and what I look like, a poor precedent for selecting candidates for public office.

If we used Dyche’s standards, Franklin D. Roosevelt, for example, might never have been elected Governor of New York or President of the United States because he was confined to a wheelchair and forced to use crutches. That’s pure nonsense. The people of Kentucky need to ask themselves an important question. Do they want more of the negativity and mean-spiritedness used by politicians to get elected, or do they want a positive approach to discussing the issues and solving the problems our state now faces? I don’t look like the candidates you’re used to seeing.

I don’t sound like them either. I see this state in different ways. Moreover, I’m not focusing on the issues in this race just because it’s an election year or politically advantageous for my campaign. I’m addressing education, economic development and other important matters because it’s what I’ve done now for more than 20 years as a school board member, education activist and business owner.

Can I win? That answer is up to you, the Kentucky voter. I can guarantee you, however, that I will do my part as governor to set a new course. I’ve been traveling this state tirelessly over the past two months meeting Kentuckians and discussing their own views on how we get better together. As a businessman, I’m independent of this state’s political establishment and won’t be beholden to any interests other than those of the Kentucky people.

I will fight to improve our children’s education system and won’t take no for an answer. I will fight to cut the wasteful pork-barrel spending on political pet projects and won’t back down. And I will fight to repeal the punitive Alternative Minimum Tax and won’t stop until the job is finished. The choice in this year’s Republican primary is simple: two career politicians or a leader in business. In Kentucky, it’s time for a nice guy with proven ability and the right experience to finish first.

Conservative Edge Compliments Harper

Harper Campaign on Technology Edge
Billy Harper may be a long shot in this race - but he's not running like it. His campaign has taken a few rough steps, but overall has proven to be the most innovative of any of the candidates - Republican or Democrat. If you visit Billy Harper's website, you can click on the issues button.

When the page comes up there is a search bar. Type in a word related to an issue that is important to you and see what comes up. You'll see Billy Harper talking directly to you through a video camera and answering your question about where he stands on the issues. This kind of interactivity and use of new media is what may just give a man with a very clear message a shot.

Earlier I did a story on the Billy Harper campaign's use of new media to reach voters. Someone commented on the story that, "That's what 2 million dollars will buy you - a Flashy Website and 12% of the vote" insinuating that Harper can do this kind of thing because he is "loaded", but that doesn't make him a serious candidate.

True - he is loaded, because he's been a successful businessman - but consider this: The Harper campaign sent me the numbers on their website and they have only spent around 15K. But what the reader and anyone else who would take the same approach to this story is failing to consider is that Harper is doing this with his OWN money - not special interest donors. Would the reader be suggesting that Ann Northup and Ernie Fletcher and all of the Democratic candidates are planning to spend less than Harper?

Would the reader be suggesting that the "professional politicians" are at a disadvantage to this wealthy Kentuckian? In this day and age, it’s actually rare and refreshing that someone like Billy Harper could do what he is doing despite the well heeled political machines behind all of the other candidates. Keep it up Mr. Harper, and you could soon see your 12% growing!

Silence is Appropriate

Silence should suffice as the decision. The runoff should remain. The pending election is vital. Kentuckians deserve thorough, vigorous, and robust debate. However, the discussion should not cease on May 22. Those whose candidate is not amongst the top two deserve a voice in the nomination process.

Obviously, Governor Fletcher is “inclined to sign the runoff repeal.” Given his fundraising difficulty, poll position, and Anne Northup’s continual mistakes, Fletcher’s lone concern is position preservation. Those campaigning should not establish the campaign’s rules.

The runoff has never been utilized. However, the provision is necessary. This year, Kentuckians have a decision. This decision should not be arbitrarily, unfairly, and politically limited.

From the Kentucky Post:

Lawmakers adjourned Monday night without reaching a decision on whether to abolish the state's runoff election. The Senate had proposed eliminating the runoff, which would follow the May 22 primary if none of the candidates for governor received at least 40 percent of the vote. The House favored keeping the election.

The issue carries big political stakes in this year's crowded race for governor, which has attracted seven Democrats and three Republicans. Uncertainty about the runoff's fate will linger for a couple of weeks. Lawmakers will return to the Capitol on March 26 for the final two days of the 2007 session, leaving the gubernatorial candidates in suspense until then. The proposed repeal drew bipartisan support Monday night in the Senate.

Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said the repeal would avoid an unnecessary election that would cost taxpayers $5 million to $8 million. Democratic Sen. Tim Shaughnessy of Louisville called it a "significant expense that frankly doesn't seem to be warranted."

Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who is running for re-election, later said he would be "inclined" to sign the runoff repeal if the bill reaches his desk. The measure passed the Senate on a 31-4 vote and returned to the House, which voted 90-7 last week to preserve the runoff and, to appease county officials, have the state pick up the entire cost of a runoff election. House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins said Monday night that the House would likely reject the Senate version and send the matter to a House-Senate conference committee. "Most of our members, I believe, feel more comfortable with keeping the runoff, but putting in the money to pay for it," Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, said in an interview.

He said the House might consider repealing the runoff for future elections. But Adkins said there appeared to an unwillingness among House Democrats to alter the dynamics of a governor's race that's already under way. "We're already in an election cycle, the rules are in place," he said.

Under state law, a runoff election would be held if a single candidate for governor does not get at least 40 percent of the vote in the primary. The top two candidates would go into a runoff taking place 35 days after the votes are certified. The provision has been on the books since 1992 but so far never used. The odds of a runoff coming into play increased this year with the flock of candidates running in the gubernatorial primaries.

Agreeing to Disagree

From On the Right:

"This investigation was not about a few people here and there who made some mistakes, as Gov. Ernie Fletcher has claimed. The Governor's Personnel Initiative was formulated at the highest level of state government and approved by Gov. Fletcher. Entire cabinets and departments were tasked with carrying out various parts of this illegal plan. Senior administration officials were charged with the duty to give periodic reports regarding its status. Those who got in the way of the plan were fired or moved. The long-range goal was to implement this plan in all of the Executive Cabinets, and the groundwork had been laid for that to happen."

Grand Jury Report into the Merit Hiring Investigation Comment: In the Agreed Order dismissing the charges,with prejudice, the parties(the Governor and AG)recognized that " the Attorney General's investigation and prosecution of this matter were necessary and proper exercises of his constitutional duty" and that the "investigation and prosecution have benefited the Commonwealth and ensured that abuses of the state's merit system will be eliminated." In the August 24,2006 Agreed Order, Ernie Fletcher acknowledged "that the evidence strongly indicates wrongdoing by the administration with regard to personnel actions within the merit system."

I guess the Governor was bullied into signing the Agreed order! The real victims are the people of the Commonwealth who were told that Fletcher was going to clean up the corruption and mess in Frankfort. It is time for a change!

I concur. We are all Fletcher’s victims. Additionally, change is required.

However, RINO Anne is not a solution. She is a problem expansion.

Faith Forays Supplant Sitting Governor

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

A representative from the Fayette County Department of Public Health committed yesterday to all of a faith-based community group's recommendations to help uninsured, single adults in Lexington obtain health care. But when the group called on city officials to hear recommendations to clean up mobile home parks, no one was present. Leaders of BUILD, which includes more than 20 churches that work to solve community problems, told more than 800 people at Consolidated Baptist Church to call the mayor's office for an explanation.

On Friday, spokeswoman Susan Straub said no one from the city planned to attend the meeting. Mayor Jim Newberry issued a statement saying he is studying improvements at the code enforcement department. He said the city's customer call center, LexCall, will soon involve code enforcement and track complaints more effectively. The Rev. Richard Gaines of Consolidated Baptist Church said he spoke to Newberry Friday and was told the city would create a plan regarding trailer parks, possibly in the next few days. "We don't want to believe that the mayor does not care," Gaines said.

BUILD planned to ask a representative from the city to: Direct code enforcement to prepare a plan to review compliance with housing codes in Lexington trailer parks, beginning with Ingleside Mobile Home Park. Direct that the inspection phase begin within 60 days and be completed in 90 days. Bring structures into compliance with building codes by April 2008.

BUILD, whose name stands for Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct-Action, has cited trash, rodents, raw sewage and shabby trailers as problems in some of the city's trailer parks. "We try to keep it clean for our children," said Sarah Gordon, of Open Door Church, who has lived in Ingleside about five years and spoke in front of the crowd last night. Nora Putnam, of Trinity Baptist Church was disappointed, like many others, that city officials missed the meeting. "I'm just interested to see what his plan is," she said.

Reached last night, Straub said "this is a situation of great concern" to the mayor. She said she could not comment further. Melinda Rowe, commissioner of the Department of Public Health, agreed to: Determine the number of uninsured people in Fayette County by June 2007. Create a short-term plan to increase the number of patients the Health Department sees by September 2007. Create a long-term plan by 2015 to help those in need. Rowe also agreed to follow-up with BUILD and attend next year's assembly.

Why are Kentucky’s faith based groups burdened? Where is our Governor? Where are his initiatives? Where are his solutions?

When You’re In A Hole…

From KY Kurmudgeon:

A reader who contributed to Gov. Ernie Fletcher's 2003 campaign sent me the originals of a couple of letters he recently received that sought contributions to Fletcher's re-election campaign.

In the first, dated Jan. 24 and "Paid for and authorized by Friends of Governor Fletcher," the governor made the following claims:

"We added more than 104,000 new jobs and put 113 million additional dollars in the Budget Reserve 'Rainy Day' Fund. ...

"We turned a projected billion-dollar deficit into a more than $650 million surplus without raising taxes."

In the second, dated Feb. 14 and bearing the letterhead "Fletcher&Rudolph Kentucky Wins," Fletcher wrote:

"The truth is, thanks to sound fiscal policies, we've added more than 125,000 new jobs, raised the amount in the "Rainy Day" Fund from $5.1 million to $231.5 million, and turned a projected billion-dollar deficit into a more than $778 million surplus without raising taxes."

So, in a short three weeks, the time between the first and second letter, the number of jobs created during his term in office grew by 21,000, and amount added to the "Rainy Day" Fund doubled from $113 million to $226 million, and the supposed "surplus" (which doesn't really exist since the budget remains structurally unbalanced) increased by $128 million.

On the day Lt. Gov. Steve Pence endorsed her challenge of Fletcher in the Republican primary, former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup said, "(The Fletcher) administration has a problem with the truth."

Gee, you think?

Anne Northup supporters ignore the pork barrel spending. They ignore the double speak. They ignore the KY Club For Growth realities. They ignore the liberal voting record. Who has a problem with a truth?

KY Republican Voice’s Bizarre Parallel

This last weekend the History Channel had an excellent two hour special about the Dark Ages in Europe. Before the show the History Channel ran a four hour special called the "The Barbarians" that looked at each of the tribes that eventually led to the downfall of Rome and started the decline of Europe.

As a history buff this was a quite a delight for me. Watching the tales of the leaders of Rome, and their enemies the Vandals, VisiGoths, Goths, Lombards, Saxons was rather mesmerizing. To see how the decisions of single individuals have shaped the course of history always seems to boggle my mind.

As I watched the stories of these people of antiquity unfold I couldn’t help but compare it our own modern Kentucky Republican Gubernatorial politics. As I watch our Republican Party tear itself apart it does remind me a lot of the fall of the Roman Empire. Let’s make a few analogies shall we.

The Roman Empire – Of course this would be Governor Fletcher, like the Romans he still has a great deal of power at his disposal, but he has been tarnished by the specter of court intrigue. Thanks to the oratory of former Governor Julian "Cicero" Carroll we even have a "Brutus" in the form of Lt. Governor Steve Pence.

According to now State Senator Carroll’s recent comments when he compared the current Lt. Governor to Julius Caesar’s trusted friend that betrayed him. Under the reign of Emperor Fletcher, the people have become rather dissatisfied by palace intrigue. Even plans to build a Grand Coliseum in Louisville have yet to please them.

Perhaps, if he were to add some chariot races to the Equestrian Games planned for Lexington the masses might come around. The Barbarians – Now this would be Anne Northup of the Visigoths and Jeff Hoover of the Vandals. Both tribes inevitably sacked Rome, and looted its great wealth.

The VisiGoths moved on Rome from the north, and the Vandals whom had conquered the Roman Provinces in Northern Africa approached the Roman capitol from the south. Like the Barbarians, Northup marches from Louisville on Frankfort and Jeff Hoover approaches from Southeastern Kentucky. Will they sack Frankfort, who knows?

The Eastern Roman Empire/Byzantines - Our third player in this triangle of ancient politics would be candidate Billy Harper. Harper is best compared to Byzantine Emperor Justinian who was based in Constantinople far from Rome, much like Harper in Paducah far from Frankfort.

Justinian spent an outrageous amount of money to bring the empire back together much like Harper with his personal fortune. However, upon his death the pressure from the Barbarians was too great, and the all of the conquests to reunite the empire were abandoned by the next Byzantine Emperor. Once that occurred the Dark Ages began in Europe and lasted almost a 1000 years.

Western Civilization had utterly and totally collapsed, and thus shall the Republican Party of Kentucky this gubernatorial election year. I have mentioned my father before in previous articles; he is just a pragmatic old country boy from Southeastern Kentucky. However, he carries with him wisdom about politics that I have always known to be right.

His take on the Governor’s race is that we are fighting each other and losing the political battle in Kentucky and that no matter who wins the May primary all Republicans will lose in November. Not just the gubernatorial candidates but all of the down ticket races with the exception of Agricultural Commissioner Richie Farmer.

So like a medieval monk I have decided that I will retreat to my monastery secluded from the political strife all around me and tend to my manuscripts. That is at least until "Pontiff McConnell the First" calls for a crusade to take back Frankfort in 2011.

KY Progress Applauds Harper

As public education has become an enormous bureaucratic entanglement, the battle for tax dollars today often trumps questions about what is best for individual children. Allowing parents and their students to choose a better school -- and to direct the money to follow that child -- would make perfect sense if we were focused still on customer service rather than on perpetuating "The System."

That such a simple principle doesn't make sense to a lot of people speaks to the massive success of the Education Establishment at taking over the issue of school vouchers. Given that environment, it is all the more admirable to see Billy Harper in today's Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer (paid subscription required) voice support for vouchers.

"I do advocate vouchers, I advocate school choice," Harper told members of the Republican Women's Club. "You should have the choice to move your child where you want."

I hope his campaign gathers enough momentum for his words to anger a lot of people. "We don't need more money (for education), we need to refocus what we're spending," Harper said.

Increasing education levels will promote economic development and will affect the state's health care system, he said. "If you want to raise your standard of living, the only way to do that is through education," Harper said. People with higher educational attainment generally have lower health care costs than less educated people over the course of their lifetimes, Harper said.
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