Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Selling A Governor

On Monday, the Lexington Herald-Leader profiled Governor Ernie Fletcher. Their article was ridiculous. I will not share the contents. Simply stated, Fletcher should have paid for the advertising.

Restraining the Campaign

From OSI Speaks:

The H-L has done another good write-up. This one is on Billy Harper, who rejects calls to quit the Governor's race and instead declares that he's a better candidate than Northup or Fletcher because "I'm not a politician. I've come out of the business ranks where I know what it is like to make a payroll." Is Harper a better candidate or is he a "drag" on the Republican gubernatorial "race"?

Billy Harper is a drag. Billy Harper is a candidate. Anne Northup and Ernie Fletcher, they are a pair of drags.

Money As Expected

From Pol Watchers:

The re-election campaign for Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher shows that the incumbent has collected a total of $2,980,216 in the election cycle, including $1,292,401 since Jan. 1, 2007. Meanwhile, Anne Northup, another Republican candidate for governor, and her running mate, Jeff Hoover, have raised more than $1.5 million for their campaign. That includes a $500,000 loan from Northup and her husband, Woody Northup.

Fletcher has spent $1.8 million this year and now enters the last month of the campaign with $935,819 in the bank, according to the report summary just filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. The Northup-Hoover campaign, in its 32-day pre-primary report, said it had about $980,200 on hand. "Jeff and I have been thrilled with the support we have received from people all over the Commonwealth," Northup said in a statement. "As the governor’s own campaign said last week, if you are an incumbent, it is easier to raise money, but we are thrilled with the response we have gotten despite the governor trying to prevent people from donating."

The report listed donations from more than 2,000 people in 67 counties. "Our efforts have been picking up steam each week and the momentum is building," Northup said, noting that the campaign reaped more than $110,000 contributions in the five days leading up to the close of the books.

Of the loan from the Northups, campaign manager Michael Clingaman said, "Their loan demonstrates how deeply they believe the Republican Party needs a new standard bearer who can put the failures of the Fletcher administration behind us."

Paducah businessman Billy Harper, the third Republican candidate for governor, has not yet filed his campaign finance report. Statewide candidates have until midnight Wednesday to file.

Obviously, Governor Fletcher and Congresswoman Northup raised money. They are politicians. Politicians talk (a lot) and consume donations. The monitary explanation? Fletcher has been bought. Northup was a Congresswoman. If elected, both will Kentuckians and serve special interests.

Speaking Anti-Abortion

Ask Republicans an abortion question. Unsurprisingly, you will receive various versions of “I support life.” Concerning Kentucky, Governor Fletcher treasures informed consent. He is cuddling the pro-life movement. Anne Northup said life four times. She is kissing the pro-life movement. Billy Harper opposes abortion, except concerning rape or incest. He is honest.

From Kentucky Post:

For some candidates in the governor's race, the topic of abortion is more complicated than simply a "yes" or "no." While some of the 10 candidates are firmly planted, others find themselves straddling the issue between what they personally feel and how they think government should handle the touchy subject. The Associated Press asked each of the 10 candidates - three Republicans and seven Democrats - their positions on abortion and whether they favored imposing restrictions on the procedure. The responses were generally split along party lines.

The three Republicans were, for the most part, supportive of abortion limits. Meanwhile, most Democrats felt personally against the procedure, but not in favor of banning it. Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who is seeking a second term, said his "convictions are pro-life." An ordained Baptist preacher, the Republican governor said he's worked during his first four years to reduce abortions in Kentucky. "I have worked to create a culture of life in Frankfort, by working to protect all children, both born and unborn," Fletcher, who is also a physician, said in response to the AP questionnaire.

Fletcher is facing challenges from two of his past political comrades, former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup and Paducah businessman Billy Harper. Seven Democrats, meanwhile, are seeking the nomination in the May 22 primary. They are: former Lt. Govs. Steve Beshear and Steve Henry, demolition contractor Otis Hensley Jr., Lexington attorney Gatewood Galbraith, Louisville businessman Bruce Lunsford, state Treasurer Jonathan Miller and House Speaker Jody Richards.

On the GOP side, Fletcher and Northup both used the term "pro-life" to describe themselves and have endorsements from the Kentucky Right to Life Association. Fletcher said he supports "informed consent" laws that would require women seeking an abortion to have a face-to-face meeting beforehand.

Northup held a similar view. "The value of all lives are precious and that includes the lives of the unborn," Northup said. "I am pro-life, and I support any measure that preserves the sanctity of life."

Harper said he opposed abortion, except in rape or incest cases, or when an expecting mother's life is at risk. House Speaker Jody Richards, a Democrat to whom the Right to Life Association gave high marks, shared the same opinion as Harper. Lunsford, however, said he supports "a woman's right to choose." "I believe it is a personal, private matter between a woman, her family, her doctor and her beliefs," Lunsford said.

Not all Democrats, however, were as clear in their responses. Beshear said the state can help reduce the number of abortions through education, health care and with new jobs. "Studies show that as the financial status of women improve, the number of abortions decrease," he said.

Henry, who is also a physician, said he did not personally support abortion and would never perform one. "I do not believe governors have the right to place their personal beliefs or make decisions on this issue for the people of Kentucky," Henry said.

Miller also said government can play a role in decreasing the number of abortions by reducing unwanted teen pregnancies. This could be done through teaching sexual abstinence, education, reducing poverty and promoting adoption, he said. "We must partner as government, parents, concerned citizens, clergy, as a community to reduce the number of abortions in Kentucky and the country," Miller said.

Women are allowed to have an abortion, but should be informed about the consequences, Galbraith said. "I am against abortion. Who isn't?" Galbraith said. "I believe women seeking abortions should be fully informed about its medical consequences and educated about what they are really doing which is ending a baby's life."

Hensley said in an interview that he hates abortion, but would not favor banning the procedure. Nevertheless, Hensley said he would create a panel consisting of people on different sides of the issue to address abortion. "The abortion issue works to divide us, both within our state and nationally," Hensley said. "We must begin to take steps to resolve this issue."

Martin Cothran, a spokesman for the Lexington-based Family Foundation, said that a candidate's view on the issue is important in Kentucky. "A lot of people consider a person's view on abortion to be what you would call a disqualifying issue," Cothran said. "People feel pretty strongly about it, and if they take a position on it that they don't agree with, they simply look around to see who else there is."

Beware of False Leaders, Speaking In Fletcher Clothing

From On the Right:

Excerpt from John David Dyche's column in today's Courier Journal: Nothing has become Fletcher's governorship like the missionary zeal with which he is fighting to keep it. His campaign religiously preaches a distinctly messianic re-election message.

Fletcher's first ad portrayed him as a pure young soul facing persecution while walking through a playground equivalent of the valley of the shadow of death full of loud-mouthed little kids. In another bit of Baptist-flavored electoral evangelism, Fletcher's face emerges from a flame as the choir sings "This Little Light of Mine."

Forget a special legislative session. Fletcher's campaign feels more like vacation Bible school. In answer to Ernie's altar call, state contractors are apparently filling the Fletcher collection plate with offering checks. Where their treasures are, there will their ballots be also, or so he hopes. Comment: My favorite Fletcher religious gaffe was his statement to the Herald-Leader in its Monday profile in which he compared himself to Jesus Christ: "You can lead like Jesus and be successful."

But, he added, "there's a price to pay." Well after all, he did have disciples!

The Domestic Partner Dance

Partner benefits in special session. Partner benefits not in special session. Special session dependent upon UK decision. UK approves partner benefits. Fletcher’s response?

University of Kentucky trustees approve domestic-partner benefits

University of Kentucky trustees on Tuesday afternoon approved domestic-partner benefits for opposite-sex and same-sex unmarried couples. The benefits are part of a major package that includes additions such as on-campus child-care centers and expanded opportunities for employee training and education for spouses, partners and children.

The benefits package passed by a 14-2 voice vote. Four trustees were absent. The "no" votes came from Pam May of Pikeville and Penny Brown of Corbin. The board's human resources committee approved the package earlier Tuesday by a 4-0 vote. Trustees Phil Patton of Glasgow, Sandy Patterson, faculty trustee Jeff Dembo and staff trustee Russ Williams all voted yes. A fifth trustee on the committee, Billy Joe Miles, was absent.

Governor says special session "unlikely" before primary

Gov. Ernie Fletcher said he doesn't expect to call a special session of the legislature until after the May 22 primary and is considering asking the General Assembly to address the issue of universities allowing domestic partner benefits. "It’s very unlikely that it might be before the primary," he told reporters in Louisville. "It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. After the primary is the most appropriate time."

3 in GOP discuss benefits for gays

The Fletcher administration may include the issue of domestic partner benefits for gays and lesbians working for state government in the call for a special legislative session. Robbie Rudolph, who is running for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Gov. Ernie Fletcher, said the administration talked about it today. Fletcher has said he wanted to call a special session to deal with the state's retirement system.

Both Fletcher and Rudolph oppose domestic partner benefits. "We'll take care of this once and for all," Rudolph said while discussing the issue during an hourlong debate on KET featuring the three Republican candidates for lieutenant governor.

House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover said Fletcher hasn't spoken to him about what he intends to place on the call for a special session, but he said adding it to the agenda might not have been needed if Fletcher had shown more leadership during the regular session. "If they hadn't closed their door every day at 5 o'clock — there wouldn't be a need for a special session," Hoover said in an interview later.

Hope Amidst Oblivion

From Louisville Courier-Journal:

Ford Motor’s head of North American manufacturing told a Louisville conference today that the automaker is committed to fostering manufacturing innovation in the United States. Speaking at the Global Automotive Conference in Louisville, Joe Hinrichs was asked what role Ford’s Louisville plants would have in that vision.

"I know the plant well and I’m sure this plant will step up to whatever we have to do," he said, referring to the Explorer plant on Fern Valley Road Concern about the future of the Louisville Assembly Plant stems from lower sales of the Explorer and Ford’s plans to close seven assembly plants by 2009.

It has identified five.

The plant will step up? Kentucky hopes. Given only Fordfare, hollow assurances, and temporary employment, the workers are starving. Either they will succeed or Ford will perish.

Dizzy, You’re Making Me Dizzy With All Your Spinning

This tale is laughable. If believe this, you are ignoring the facts. Gubernatorial fear? Paranoia personified. Hoover will play a meaningful role? There will not be a Northup administration. Hoover dominated the debate competition? What tape was watched? Northup will work for Kentucky, not Kentucky’s politicians? Northup is only a politician. Her speech received thunderous cheers? Which supporter pressed play for the pre-recorded audio?

From Blue Grass, Red State:

An undercover political operative for the Fletcher administration can say whatever he wants about the Governor's race, but if you listen to him, you're not getting the facts. He can say, "Even Washington insider columnist Bob Novak (He of Valerie Plame fame.) has changed his outlook on the race from leaning for Anne Northup to leaning for Fletcher," if he wants. However, that doesn't take away from the fact that while doing previous political work for Fletcher, he considered Novak's opinion worthy of the trash bin.

On March 30th he said, "These same operatives tuned up conservative columnist Robert Novak, who reported recently that the race leans Northup. (Wonder who's behind that?)" On April 24, he likes his opinion. He can say Al Cross believes "Fletcher will win" if he wants, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Al Cross never said that. Cross only said that Fletcher "now leads," and spoke of "fear of what a governor can do to you."

He can conveniently leave out the part about Jeff Hoover (R-Jamestown), who will play a meaningful and substantive role in the Northup/Hoover administration, completely dominating the competition in the LG debate last night. He can say that "scores of Republican county officials and legislators" want their Governor reelected, but we know the Governor isn't supposed to work for politicians like how Ernie Fletcher is doing.

The Governor is supposed to work for the people, and that is exactly what Governor Anne Northup and Lieutenant Governor Jeff Hoover are going to do. They will work for Kentuckians, not Kentucky politicians. As Hopkinsville's Kentucky New Era reported, this past weekend Kentuckians were excited about the coming Northup/Hoover administration:

Though many people had already decided who to support for governor, some, such as E.G. Adams, were happy for the opportunity to hear from candidates for some of the lesser-known offices. "I didn’t know some of the gentlemen, and I thought they did a good job," he said, specifically mentioning Stan Lee, running for attorney general, and Ken Upchurch, running for state treasurer. "I’m committed to Anne already."

"Anne" is Anne Northup, candidate for governor, and many of those attending seemed to share Adams’s feelings. Hers was the only speech that ended with enthusiastic cheers instead of the polite applause received by most other candidates. "I’m supporting Anne because I’m tired of the things going on and I want some change," said Donna Thurman of Russellville.

Staggering, Stuttering, Selling Northup

From NKY Politics:

This was just posted on the Web site of GOP gubernatorial candidate Anne Northup.

If you read the morning paper in Louisville or Lexington, you saw the Ernie Fletcher spin machine working overtime. The AP and Courier-Journal ran stories about the new Yard Sign program the Northup-Hoover campaign has offered on its website. The Fletcher spin was that Northup-Hoover was offering Yard Signs for sale because we couldn’t afford to buy them and give them away for free. That claim is FALSE and FOOLISH.

We have an official Yard Sign program that is fully funded and will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks. This program was a way for people that live on dead end streets or in the far reaches of the state, that want a chance to show their support for Northup-Hoover, to get the signs NOW rather than wait for our general distribution.

This Fletcher spin is just more politics of destruction from a desperate campaign. Whether it is Ernie Fletcher saying Kentucky has a "booming economy" when we have the 5th worst unemployment rate in the nation or that he has "lowered health care costs" when millions of Kentuckians are paying higher health insurance premiums, Republicans are catching on that its just more of the same from his campaign.

If you would like to purchase your sign you can click here and get it NOW or you can click here and sign up for one of our free signs which will be distributed soon.

This explanation is false and foolish. Northup has an official yard sign program? If the aforesaid is true, why sell yard signs? This program benefits those on dead end streets or rural reaches? Why sell them signs? If they wish to showcase support, why not send them a free sign? How does taxing her most rural supporters aid Northup?

This program screams desperate campaign. Northup has no agenda. She has no policy. She is struggling with contributions. She has resorted to sign profiteering. This is pathetic. Northup, you are not a governor. You are not a leader. You are a politician. A terrible politician.
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