Thursday, May 31, 2007

Blaming the wrong messenger

Before we get started, we'd like to note that the Patton administration left way too much stuff sitting around for the Fletcher administration to discover. From a database on political job recommendations to "Crit's List" to phone message logs, the Patton crew has given us a nice wndow into how Democrats do things in Frankfort. But we digress...

The latest stir on Kentucky's political scene is the acquisition of a number of telephone messages from Crit Luallen's office when she was a Patton administration official by Brett Hall over at Since Luallen is running for re-election as auditor and Jack Conway, one of her former aides, is the Democrat nominee for attorney general, Hall (who was pushed out as Fletcher's press secretary for using the f-word in a conversation with reporters and for daring to speak the truth about the state GOP hierarchy's abandonment of their governor) began publishing phone messages between the two.

In his first offering, he published a message in which Conway referred to Anne Northup (whom Conway ran against for Congress a few years ago) as a "bitch."

Apparently still nursing hard feelings over their candidate losing last week's primary election to Gov. Fletcher, Northup's supporters immediately got angry -- at Hall, not Conway!

The Courier-Journal played this up as big news and soon-to-be-ex-Kentuckian (and we are oh so happy to say that) Mark Nickolas published the news on his abortion of a blog with great glee.

Our question is this: Aren't Northup's water carriers getting mad at the wrong person? Conway's the villain here, not Hall. Instead of being mad at Hall, you should be thanking him for exposing Conway's thoughts on his former Congressional opponent.

The view here is that Northup supporters are still angry that they lost and that their negative campaign got no traction.

Give it up, guys. You lost fair and square. Now it's time to come home to the Republican Party and work to unify us, not continue to tear us apart as you've done since Northup lost her seat to John Yarmuth and you started pushing her to run for governor.

And give Brett Hall a break. Get mad at the message and remember that Jack Conway's the one who said it. Hall's just telling the world what Conway said.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Another case of GWR

In case you don't know, "GWR" stands for "Governing While Republican" and it's essentially the charge that Gov. Fletcher has been battling ever since he was inaugurated.

Now another Kentucky official finds himself facing similar charges.

Morgan County Judge-Executive Tim Conley, a Republican in an overwhelingly Democrat county who was re-elected last November, was on the business end of an indictment recently returned by a special grand jury which took great pains to claim a lack of political motivation in what was clearly a politically motivated attack. Conley is well known as a man of unquestioned integrity, just as Fletcher was, so the investigation and subsequent indictment reeks of political payback.

The whole deal was suspected of being a Greg Stumbo-backed inquisition, especially since the special prosecutor was from Floyd County and had ties to the attorney general.

But one glance at the witness list, which included a staff member from Stumbo's Kentucky Bureau of Investigation, pretty much confirmed the hypothesis that this was politically motivated. Even though the investigation fired up just before last year's election as an "October Surprise" of sorts, it didn't impede Conley's victory over a political opponent who was a magistrate on the fiscal court.

Basically, Conley is accused of letting churches install county drain pipes on their property and of having the county fix a piece of his personal property (a bulldozer) which broke down while he had loaned it to the county to use in repairing county highways.

County governments all over Kentucky have traditionally worked on driveways to churches and cemeteries. If what Conley did was a crime, then it's time to convene special grand juries and indict all county judges in all of Kentucky's rural counties. This is common practice and is commonly accepted.

As for the bulldozer repairs, if the equipment broke down while the county was using it, then it only makes sense for the county to pay for the repairs. If you borrow a piece of clothing from someone and it gets ripped or stained while you are wearing it, generally you'll offer to replace it as a goodwill gesture to the owner.

When Democrats in Kentucky lose power, especially in places where they consider it their birthright (like the Governor's Office), the efforts they'll go to to get that power back are limitless. It's a shame that the reputations of good and decent Christian people like Tim Conley and Ernie Fletcher get trashed in the process, and they are forced to spend time and money to defend their good names and protect their innocence.

Thankfully Greg Stumbo will be out of public life at the end of the year, but the damage he can do between now and then is scary.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tilting at windmills

Sometimes we feel we're fighting an uphill battle to spread the truth in the face of the lies put forth by Kentucky Democrats and their co-conspirators in the media.

Every time we turn around, there's another whopper that needs to be corrected.

The latest comes from Al Cross, who as a native of Clinton County and as a member of an influential Republican family in that community, should really know better.

Cross' latest offering in the Courier-Journal contains this little doozy:

"But most Republican voters seemed to conclude (inaccurately, we reiterate) that Fletcher did no worse than his Democratic predecessors..."

The truth, Mr. Cross, is that what may have happened in the Fletcher administration regarding personnel decisions pales in comparison to what Democrats have done for years. Your reiteration is wrong. Being from Albany, where Republicans are still in the majority but Democrats controlled state jobs, you should know that.

In fact, the best evidence of this occurred right next door to your home county in Wayne County, also a staunchly Republican County:

I know because my mother, Fern Baker, was Wayne County Democratic Chairperson for 9 years during the Wilkinson and Patton administrations before she succumbed to cancer Aug. 12, 2002. She was a member of the prestigious Ford Society. In all those years, I know of no one in Wayne County in all those years who was hired for a state job based on qualifications, NOT ONE, but always on political afiliation.

Pretty damning stuff, huh? To have the son of the local county Democrat chair make this kind of statement?

Things were so bad before Fletcher took office that even after he was inaugurated, many mid-level managers with hiring power were heeding the recommendations of their local Democrat party officials and elected officials instead of the recommendations that came from Fletcher administration officials.

It's pretty bad when even in a Republican administration, Democrats are controlling the hiring process, isn't it? That's one reason the Personnel initiative was started; to take control of hiring away from Democrat officials and Democrat state employees who owed their jobs to patronage and were just biding their time until the next Democrat administration. And that's exactly what was happening. The entrenched Democrat bureaucrats were hoping that if they continued to curry favor with the Democrat power brokers during the Fletcher administration, their loyalty would be rewarded the next time the Democrats took power.

We once heard it said that even though Cross comes from a Republican family, when he took the Frankfort bureau chief job at the Courier-Journal, he registered as an independent to avoid any charges of conflict of interest. Even then, detractors would call him "that Clinton County Republican." We've also heard it said that many Republicans thought it appeared that he bent over backwards to be critical of the GOP so as to dispel any notions that he was partial to his family's party.

It must have worked. Even though Cross is gone from the C-J and now only writes a semi-monthly column, he's still despised in many Republican quarters.

With columns like his most recent, it's easy to see why.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Yellow dogs should be euthanized, if not spayed or neutered

One of us had the occasion to talk to a relative recently. This relative is fairly conservative socially and economically, yet he's a yellow dog Democrat who was also one of the merit system employees illegally fired during the John Y. Brown administration and won a court case to be reinstated to his job. During the conversation, he had nothing good to say about Gov. Fletcher, calling him "not good enough to be a pimple on the a-- of a good governor."

It appears this man is set to vote for someone who, while serving as attorney general of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, had it within his power to bring a halt to the Brown administration's illegal personnel actions. (Remember that of all the indictments against Fletcher administration officials, only one was for the dismissal of someone already on the payroll, and he was still on probation and the propriety of that firing is going to be decided by the courts. All other indictments were for hiring decisions to fill vacancies in state government.)

Folks, this is what we as Republicans are up against. As attorney general, Steve Beshear failed to act when the Brown administration was firing merit employees left and right, yet Democrats personally affected by Brown's illegalities will still vote for the enabler of those actions. As long as these yellow dogs look only at that (D) and don't see the deeper issues involved with the way the Democrats have mismanaged state government and the entire state for decades, we're probably doomed to only have one Republican administration per generation.

Kentucky may trend Republican in federal elections, but Democrats love their power on the state level and their ability to play with people's lives and livelihoods. They don't give that power up easily, as their treatment of Fletcher has shown.

Forget about all those cats and other varieties of canines. It looks like Kentucky's biggest pet overpopulation problem is yellow dogs.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A quick observation

It's been a busy few days at K-Pac Central, and we certainly intend to take a thorough look at yesterday's election results and the overwhelmingly good sense the majority of state GOP voters showed in choosing to keep our governor as our candidate, but we have one quick observation to share. With any luck at all, the results of the Republican treasurer primary will dissuade Lonnie Napier of any delusions he may have that he is statewide officeholder material.

Our hope now is that perhaps Napier will go back to Lancaster, be "primaried" next spring, and then fade from public life. He's never been one of our favorite Republicans. And the only thing more silly than that "Draft Larry Forgy" movement that flared up briefly over the weekend trying to convince Forgy to challenge Mitch McConnell was that asinine "Draft Napier" campaign that tried to turn him into Anne Northup or Billy Harper this year.

At the very least, maybe Napier will just vote the right way in the General Assembly and keep his mouth shut in Frankfort and let him be thought of as a fool instead of opening his mouth and removing all doubt.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A house of cards...

For months, we have been trying to spread the truth about the state hiring investigation. The personnel probe is the sole reason that our incumbent governor, Ernie Fletcher, faces primary opposition. The investigation and the resulting indictments led to the (in our view, mistaken) belief that Fletcher cannot be re-elected this fall against Democrat opposition.

Many truths about the hiring probe have never been reported by the mainstream press in this state. The Herald-Leader, the Courier-Journal and several broadcast reporters have an agenda of getting Fletcher out of office. For the print media, it's been a steady stream of poison-pen editorials and selective, agenda-driven reporting that have been a one-two punch against Fletcher. By eagerly gobbling up every statement and every leaked document from the prosecution, the papers have constantly been in attack mode.

We have tried to find out and publish the truth about the investigation; truths the mainstream press have been aware of and have ignored, or truths that the Democrats say are irrelevant.

What are those truths? Let's go over them one more time.

The hiring probe was set off by Doug Doerting, a disgruntled employee in the Transportation Cabinet. He was upset because Fletcher did not recall that they were high school classmates and angry that he could not parlay that scholastic connection into being the personnel director at Transportation.

Doerting told Transportation officials that their personnel actions were above board. Then he improperly obtained the documents he turned over to the attorney general's office, followed by seeking whistleblower status and then retiring so he could not be disciplined for his improper actions.

The attorney general, Greg Stumbo, is a partisan Democrat who stated he would not run for governor unless Fletcher became "wildly unpopular." Prosecuting a governor would serve to make said governor unpopular. Plus, Stumbo himself had made politically-based personnel recommendations while a House of Representatives member.

The lead prosecutor, Scott Crawford-Sutherland, was a Ben Chandler supporter whose tactics in seeking indictments from grand juries had been criticized in other cases.

There was no precedent for this type of investigation in Kentucky. Previously, claims of political favoritism in hiring had been handled by the Personnel Board or Executive Branch Ethics Commission. The latter board fined ex-Gov. Paul Patton for his role in securing the promotion of a Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement officer who had gotten Patton's mistress, Tina Conner, out of a speeding ticket. No criminal prosecution was undertaken in that case although Patton admitted he violated merit system laws.

Plus, ex-Gov. John Y. Brown blatantly fired protected merit system workers and that was well-known across the state. Yet Attorney General Steve Beshear (yes, the same Beshear that is running for governor this time) did not prosecute.

The grand jury was biased. A number of the members were either state merit employees or Democrats, two groups not sympathetic to the Fletcher administration. The forewoman of the grand jury, Rachel Auxier, was a merit employee who missed out on between $12,000 and $16,000 in a four-year period because the Fletcher administration did not give 5 percent raises to state employees.

The prosecution conducted itself unprofessionally throughout the investigation. Whereas most prosecutors keep their evidence close to the vest, the attorney general's office constantly leaked information that was unflattering to the Fletcher administration to the press. This certainly turned public opinion against the governor. What relevance, for example, did an e-mail between two appointees discussing whether or not Fletcher should resign as governor have to the investigation? None, yet the AG's office happily leaked that to the Herald-Leader, which made that e-mail the lead story on the front page.

As Fletcher promised, his office conducted an investigation into Stumbo's allegations. They found that there was no intentional criminal behavior, but there were some policy violations by appointees, who were dismissed. Fletcher had previously pardoned them for any criminal indictments resulting from the probe because the governor did not think any criminal violations had occurred. He did not pardon himself, the grand jury indicted him on three counts on the last possible day, and Stumbo finally had to disimiss the indictments with prejudice because, despite his claims that he felt the governor would pardon himself, the truth was he did not have a case against the governor. Conveniently, that also cleared the way for Stumbo to run on a gubernatorial ticket as Bruce Lunsford's running mate.

Put all that together and what does it mean? Quite simply, it means that the entire investigation and the indictments resulting from it were bogus, without merit, and not legitimate. Mistakes made because the so-called "expert" was setting you up, evidence improperly obtained, and a biased prosecutor and grand jury? How much more proof is needed?

And since the whole investigation has proven to be a house of cards, that means everything that has come down the pike since then is also a house of cards. That includes the Anne Northup and Billy Harper campaigns. They are built on unstable foundations.

Had this whole bogus investigation never begun, we think it's safe to say that Fletcher would have no opposition in the primary. We knew the Democrats would be lining up to run against him because they don't know how to act when they don't have power in Kentucky, but it's been disappointing to see two Republicans, whom we thought were loyal, actually align themselves with those Democrats and use an illegitimate personnel probe on which to build their candidacies.

When you go vote on Tuesday, remember that the whole premise behind the Northup and Harper campaigns -- that Ernie Fletcher can't win in the fall -- is built on a house of cards. Then cast your vote accordingly.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

EXCLUSIVE: Hiring investigation's origins were rooted in perceived personal snub

Feeling personally slighted because Gov. Ernie Fletcher did not remember him as a high school classmate, and angered because he was unable to parlay that scholastic connection into a leadership position at the Transportation Cabinet, former employee Doug Doerting turned over “evidence” of hiring improprieties to Attorney General Greg Stumbo only after having assured Transportation officials that all their personnel moves were legal and proper, and after improperly collecting the documents he provided to Stumbo.

Fletcher recently revealed this to a group of supporters, and also told them that the mainstream press has been aware of these circumstances since the hiring investigation began two years ago, but has failed to report these truths because they reflect positively on the Fletcher administration and negatively on Doerting, who has received almost no public scrutiny considering his motives and how he came to be in possession of the information he gave Stumbo.

Political observers know that Fletcher and Doerting were classmates at Lafayette High School. Scans of a high school yearbook showing both of them on the same page have been published on the Internet. However, the two didn’t know one another and were not friends.

It has also been reported that when Fletcher attended an event in the Transportation Cabinet office shortly after his term began, Doerting approached him and asked the governor if he remembered him from high school. When Fletcher replied in the negative, witnesses have said, Doerting appeared deflated and seemed upset at what he perceived as a snub.

“We were schoolmates, but it was a big school, with nearly 700 in the graduating class,” Fletcher told a group of supporters recently. "I didn't remember him."

No doubt Doerting had told people in Transportation that he had known the governor back when they were in high school. The governor’s failure to remember him had to sting.

Still, Doerting hoped to be able to use the connection to land a management position in the cabinet.

“He wanted to be director of personnel in Transportation,” Fletcher said, “but I didn’t know him.”

So Doerting took his revenge.

You may remember this piece from December in which we publicly questioned how Doerting came to obtain his evidence which he presented to Stumbo.

Turns out we aren’t the only ones. The governor also has questions as to whether or not Doerting obtained the e-mails illegally.

But what concerns Fletcher more is Doerting’s deceit.

“He told Dick Murgatroyd (former Transportation deputy secretary) that everything that was being done regarding personnel was legal and proper,” Fletcher said. “Then he turned around and gave all that information to Stumbo, and we still don’t know how he got it or if he got it legally.”

Fletcher also said that these facts had been repeatedly given to the state’s leading newspapers, but they are not interested in pursing that story, which would serve to discredit Doerting.

Shortly after handing the information to Stumbo, Doerting sought whistleblower protection under state law and then retired from the Transportation Cabinet.

Also during his comments, Fletcher said he felt personally betrayed by Anne Northup’s candidacy as well as the actions of many people since he took office.

“Anne’s a friend …. well, I thought she was a friend,” Fletcher said with an obvious look of sadness on his face, “but there are a lot of people I thought were my friends…” he said, his voice trailing off.

Despite the setbacks and obstacles, the administration kept its eyes on the twin goals of moving Kentucky forward and winning re-election. Fletcher's health problems last winter were a setback, but they tried to keep a positive public face.

"We tried not to let that bother us," Fletcher said. "We wanted to do the right things and we believe we have. We've made some mistakes but we tried to correct them and move on."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Is that endorsement really something to brag about?

We've already heard advertisements touting Anne Northup's endorsement by the Herald-Leader and Courier-Journal. Those endorsements came as no surprise. Those papers didn't endorse Fletcher in 2003.

But are they really anything to brag about? Both newspapers have a leftist editorial philosophy, a secular humanist outlook bordering on socialistic.

The Herald-Leader is even so kind to tell us each year why that newspaper endorses candidates.

We like this line: "The board selects, by consensus or vote, which candidates more closely share its visionf or this community, state and nation."

That means that the Herald-Leader endorses the most liberal candidates.

Do conservative Republican voters in this state REALLY want to vote for the candidate the Herald-Leader touts as basically the most liberal?

We didn't think so.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Melinda Wheeler's good idea would be a good start

Even before Melinda Wheeler announced that her key platform in her race for the GOP nomination for state treasurer would be to abolish the office, we’d been considering a couple of things.

First was our support for Wheeler. Of the four Republicans seeking the nomination, her administrative experience is a plus. And, the other three are state representatives and two of them (Brandon Smith and Lonnie Napier) are not in safe Republican districts. Should either of them win, the odds are good that their vacated House seat would go to a Democrat. (Plus, we got our fill of Lonnie Napier four years ago when he supported Steve Nunn over Ernie Fletcher in the governor’s race). We’re also fond of Brett Hall,

But the other thing we’ve been considering is how most of those constitutional offices that Kentucky voters fill when the cast their gubernatorial ballots should be abolished, or made appointive rather than elective.

Gov. Fletcher alluded to the same sentiment last year when he made comments about appointing the attorney general. Because Fletcher was still locking horns with Greg Stumbo over the personnel investigation, the idea didn’t gain any traction.

But it’s definitely an idea worth looking into.

If we had our way, the following changes would be made to the offices for which Kentucky now holds statewide election:

Lieutenant Governor: We have never been fans of the “slate” concept, especially this time since the governor has been saddled with a disloyal lieutenant governor that he is powerless to get rid of. If we have to have a slate, at least let the LG serve at the pleasure of the governor and give the governor the authority to fire him.

Attorney General and Auditor: These are supposed to be the watchdog agencies, but sometimes the dog goes rabid. That happened this time, when Stumbo pushed forth a political agenda against Fletcher using the investigative power of his office. We recommend that the governor appoint these two officials, who would serve at the pleasure of the governor but would be subject to confirmation by one or both houses of the General Assembly. The federal government chooses Cabinet members, including the United States attorney general, by this method, and we think it would be appropriate for Kentucky. An independently confirmed auditor and attorney general would assure an appropriate level of separation from the governor and would give the public confidence that any substantial allegations of wrongdoing would be looked into.

Secretary of State and State Treasurer: These offices should be abolished and the duties distributed among the various existing state agencies. For example, the secretary of state’s election oversight duties could be transferred to the Registry of Election Finance. The treasurer’s duties would fit properly with Revenue.

Commissioner of Agriculture: Why do we continue to elect this commissioner? This is the only department commissioner that is chosen by the voters. We don’t pick a commissioner of highways or a commissioner of property taxation. Let this position become a gubernatorial appointment. That would give the added benefit of doing away with the Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy since the Department of Agriculture would come under the governor’s control.

We have one more suggestion to save the state some money.

Remember a few years ago when local officials served one five-year term in order to allow the state to eliminate an election cycle?

We think that at some point in the near future, the governor and lieutenant governor (and any other officeholders elected this year) should serve one five-year term to eliminate this election cycle, and make Kentucky’s gubernatorial race correspond to the presidential election year. This would set Kentucky’s election cycle for every other year in even-numbered years, and save the state and local governments the costs of holding elections three out of every four years.

We believe these changes would improve government responsiveness and efficiency in Kentucky and we urge those in charge of such things to give these ideas an open-minded look.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Why Northup's negativity won't work and will backfire on her

We can’t remember which Kentucky governor started the tradition of handing out oversized checks to announce the funding of local projects. It was either Wallace Wilkinson or Brereton Jones; we’re not sure. (One of us said Martha Layne Collins, but the rest of us think the practice started after she left office). But one thing’s for certain, governors have been doing this for at least 15 years and the tradition dates back to before gubernatorial succession was allowed.

Years ago we heard one Central Kentucky mayor say he hoped to paper the walls of his City Hall with those ceremonial checks. Of course since he was a Republican mayor in a Republican community, his dream didn’t come true. But the moral of the story is that local officials in small towns appreciate state funding for their projects.

It’s not news when the governor appears in Lexington or Louisville, or even larger towns or urban areas like Northern Kentucky, Owensboro, Bowling Green, Ashland or Paducah. The press pays little to no attention to him being there or why he’s there. On the other hand, when the governor visits places such as Inez or Burkesville or Calhoun or Cadiz, that’s of note to the local populace as well as the local press.

Even when a Democrat governor comes to a Republican town, he is treated like visiting royalty. Leaders from both parties turn out for the event. The local newspapers often cover a gubernatorial visit like it’s the biggest story of the year, and in many cases, it is. The people in Booneville and Owenton and Greenville want to think the governor is interested in their needs and concerns, and not paying attention only to Fayette and Jefferson counties.

The rural counties in Kentucky have their own special needs from the government. They don’t have a sufficient property tax base or payroll tax base to fund services like Lexington and Louisville do. They need state government’s help in funding projects like street and road repairs, water line extensions, and other things that the larger communities can pay for themselves.

When a governor comes to town to break ground or cut a ribbon or present a check, the local people appreciate it. They are happy to see that Frankfort is looking out for them.

That’s one reason we don’t think Anne Northup’s recent flurry of negativity is going to be of benefit to her. It’s almost as if she is ridiculing these communities and their needs. When she criticizes Gov. Fletcher for going to places like Lancaster or Elkton or Owenton, in effect she is saying, “You people don’t deserve the projects you are getting from the state and the governor is wasting his time by visiting your community.”

People realize that, too.

We’ve seen Gov. Fletcher go to counties that are heavily Democratic in registration and receive an enthusiastic welcome. We’ve also seen Democrat governors such as Jones and Wilkinson and Collins go into staunchly Republican counties and receive the same recognition, even though they could not succeed themselves. No one begrudged those communities their projects back then, nor the visits from the governors.

When Northup attacks Fletcher for traveling across the state and announcing projects, she not only aims her poison barbs at the incumbent governor, but to every community that gets these much-needed state projects. Would she prefer that the money go to her hometown of Louisville instead?

Anne Northup’s negative campaign insults the intelligence of every Kentuckian who does not live in a major metropolitan area.

Friday, May 11, 2007

When in doubt, lie about your poll numbers

Anne Northup supporters are now claiming that their internal polling, as well as internal polling of other candidates, now shows her with a 4 to 5 point lead on Ernie Fletcher. The rumor was first reported on Kentucky Progress, and later picked up by other blogs.

However, no sourcing for the rumor was given and there are no polling documents available to confirm that, which is in contrast to the recent Fletcher polling showing them with a 22-point lead on Northup. The polling memo was made available to the public and it would be nearly impossible for her to have made up that big of a deficit in such a short time.

Contrary to what Northup's supporters are hoping and wishing for, the view from here is that Fletcher is gaining strength. Northup's negative and misleading ads are backfiring, and the relentless press attacks aren't helping her any either.

In short, we don't believe those rumors of her dramatic surge in the polls, and that belief was confirmed for us today by a highly-placed source who has knowledge of such things. That information would seem to correspond with information provided to The Conservative Edge by Fletcher campaign manager Marty Ryall, who said they had not seen any recent polling that showed Fletcher as having less than a double-digit lead.

One of us had a conversation with someone in a position to know, who reported that current Fletcher polling shows the incumbent with a whopping 52 percent of the vote among likely Republican voters. That number is subject to vary slightly considering factors such as turnout, but at this point the Fletcher camp is quietly confident that they will win with more than 40 percent of the vote on May 22.

This source also stated that a year ago, even Fletcher was sanguine about his re-election chances. The attitude in the Capitol was, "We've got to go out there and put smiles on our faces and do our jobs and work hard and hope things get better." Now they feel very good not only about the May primary, but the November general election against whomever the Democrats nominate.

We don't have any access to the polling documents that indicate this, but we have no reason to disbelieve what one of us learned today.

Perhaps the Northup supporters hope that if they can spread misinformation about her surging to the lead, they can actually shift some momentum. If they believe what they're sayiing, more power to them. We don't know what Fletcher's vote total will be. It would be great if he tops 50 percent, but we'll be thrilled if he gets 41 percent of the vote and wins the nomination outright.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Too much time on his hands

Now that Little Johnny Miller is out of the governor's race, Mark Nickolas -- two-time losing gubernatorial campaign manager in Kentucky and proprietor of this state's most liberal blog -- doesn't know whether to poop or go blind.

He's stated that he doesn't plan to endorse any of the remaining six dog t*rds who are the Democrat race, yet he's basically demanding that Ben Chandler step up and support someone.

He's trying to turn the chairmanship of the state Democratic Party into a legitimate campaign issue in the primary.

And despite his claims that the Democrat nominee will have an easier time beating Ernie Fletcher than Anne Northup, he seems to have taken on the role of Northup campaign publicist. He prints her press releases and appears to be giving her campaign information, and it's very obvious that he, Northup and Greg Stumbo have been sharing talking points.

All that it might take to push him over the edge could be another lawsuit or criminal charge.

Nickolas is a cancer on intelligent political discourse in this state. It appears he's cracking up now that Miller Lite is no longer on tap. If so, it couldln't happen to a more-deserving target.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Comic relief in the Democratic primary

Even though it's no longer Miller time in the Democratic race for governor, there's still plenty of comic relief to be found as now the field that was aptly described by a commenter on one of the liberal blogs as "seven dog t*rds" has been reduced by one.

We now have six dwarfs -- or dog t*rds if you prefer -- but the rhetoric will no doubt increase as the number of wannabes has decreased.

Among the comments that we had a good chuckle about was one made by an ex-governor who has a son on one of the tickets.

John Y. Brown III is Jody Richards' running mate. That slate, of course, is now in fourth place in the polls, trailing the Steve Beshear/Dan Mongiardo ticket.

Brown's father, John Y. Brown Jr., was governor of Kentucky from 1979 to 1983. Beshear served as attorney general during those four years. Beshear was lieutenant governor from 1983 to 1987, during Martha Layne Collins' term. In 1987, Lt. Gov. Beshear and former Gov. Brown fought a vicious battle for the Democratic nomination and their mud-slinging enabled the wealthy underdog, Wallace Wilkinson, to escape the fray and win the nomination.

Brown Jr. has been supporting his son's bid by taking potshot after potshot at Beshear. After yesterday's announcement when Jonathan Miller dropped out to support Beshear, Brown Jr. went on the offensive again, calling Beshear "an empty suit" and "a wimp."

That ingrate. Doesn't Brown Jr. realize that Beshear probably kept him from being indicted?

We refer, of course, to the myriad of merit system violations that occurred in the Brown administration. Whereas Ernie Fletcher's administration has only been accused of firing ONE merit employee (and one who was not yet off probation, either, and could be dismissed for any reason or no reason at all), Brown's administration fired dozens of merit employees who were protected by KRS 18A.

Those employees went through the administrative process (the Personnel Board) and the courts to get their jobs back. Steve Beshear, as attorney general, did not prosecute those violations -- in other words, he did the exact opposite thing that Greg Stumbo has done in the current administration.

For whatever reason Beshear chose not to prosecute those violations (and we are still waiting for the press to ask him that question), Brown Jr. was the beneficiary of Beshear's largesse.

And John Y. keeps calling Beshear names? Has the man no gratitude?

Oh well, we hope he keeps it up. Dog t*rds usually stink, and the smell from this field of Democrats is so bad we need something to make us laugh.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Republicans were afraid of this bunch???? A candid look at the Democrat contenders

NOTE: As this was being posted, the news broke that Johnathan Miller is dropping out of the race and supporting Steve Beshear. Therefore we are removing our analysis of Miller's candidacy from this outlook...

And our hats are off to David Adams at Kentucky Progress for predicting this one!

Anne Northup’s overriding campaign message during her attempt to unseat her party’s first Republican governor since 1971, and the first one in modern times to be eligible for re-elect, is that Ernie Fletcher cannot win in the fall.

Indeed, ever since Greg Stumbo began his unprecedented criminal investigation into alleged hiring improprieties, the cry from some within the Republican Party has been that Fletcher could not be re-elected.

We have to wonder if those Republicans bothered to look back then at the list of potential Democrat gubernatorial candidates – or, since the field has materialized, they have bothered to analyze the contenders.

For Northup or any Republican to continue to say that Fletcher cannot win re-election in the fall is ridiculous. Each of the Democrat slates has serious flaws that, if properly exploited, will be fatal regardless of the merit system probe being hung around Fletcher’s neck. The fact that Northup continues to use that theme as her main campaign shows that she really has no ideas.

But this isn’t about Northup. It’s about the weak Democrat field that 65 percent of Kentucky’s voters will be choosing a nominee from in two weeks.

There are no Billy Donovans, or even Billy Gillispies, in this bunch. What’s there instead is a collection of has-beens, never-wases, wannabes and pretenders. None are fit to be elected governor of this state.

Here’s a closer look at each of the four slates considered as serious contenders in the Democrat field, listed alphabetically:

Beshear/Mongiardo: Of all the Democrats, Beshear will be the least able to use the hiring scandal against Fletcher. The allegations are that the Fletcher administration illegally used political affiliation as a key point in selecting persons to fill merit system vacancies. Only one of the indictments handed down by the grand jury involved an existing merit employee, and it concerned the firing of a merit employee who was not yet off probation.

However, during the John Y. Brown administration from 1979-83, there were widespread firings of employees who were protected by the merit system. Those employees went through the administrative procedures and civil courts to get their jobs back, and there was no criminal prosecution of Brown or his administration.

Who was the attorney general during Brown’s term as governor? Steve Beshear. Beshear failed to prosecute the violations of merit system law during Brown’s term. Therefore, Beshear will have no moral authority to bring up Fletcher’s personnel situation because Beshear’s inaction arguably set the precedent for how alleged merit law violations should be handled in this state – a precedent Stumbo failed to follow, for his own political purposes.

As to Dan Mongiardo, Beshear’s running mate, his ethics problems regarding DANPAC appear to have been settled, but Dr. Dan has a nagging personal situation that probably won’t play well. Will the voters of Kentucky approve of a man in his mid-40s dating someone in her late teens and early 20s before becoming engaged to her? How will the image of Mongiardo the cradle-robber play to middle-aged female voters?

Henry/True: Henry’s problems are well-known. His early strong showing in the polls appears to be fading as more problems become evident. Medical billing problems, a malpractice suit and now allegations of campaign finance improprieties are dogging him. Plus, he has the Paul Patton albatross hanging around his neck. Even though he was not particularly close to the governor he served as lieutenant governor, he was still part of the team and he didn’t bail like Crit Luallen did.

Renee True isn’t as well-known as some of the other running mates, but the press has uncovered a few problems with hiring during her term as Fayette County PVA. Since she’s the daughter of disgraced former Fayette Sheriff Lones Taulbee, expect her father’s woes to be visited upon her.

Lunsford/Stumbo: Where to start with this ticket? Democrats are angry with Lunsford for dropping out of the ’03 primary in anger over an attack ad run by Ben Chandler, then the still-seething Lunsford endorsing Fletcher over Chandler. Many are threatening to either sit the race out or to actually vote for Fletcher should Lunsford be the nominee.

The issues concerning Lunsford’s nursing home company’s financial collapse were prominent four years ago and are just as prominent today.

And then there’s Stumbo. Republicans detest him for his unprecedented criminal investigation of the Fletcher administration’s hiring practices; Democrats are angry with him for agreeing to dismiss three misdemeanor charges against Fletcher. The unprofessional way Stumbo’s AG office conducted the investigation leaves no doubt that the probe was politically motivated to harm Fletcher’s re-election chances.

Don’t forget Stumbo’s tumultuous personal life. The man fathered a child out of wedlock, then failed to pay child support for many years. When the mother of his child finally sued for back payments, Stumbo filed a countersuit, claiming she was trying to harass and politically harm him. Plus, there’s the infamous disappearing DUI charge from his home county in which Stumbo claimed – and a hometown judge bought the “explanation” – that the reason Stumbo was found alone drunk and at the scene of a vehicle crash was that he was so drunk he had forgotten to mention that he’d had a designated driver, who’d gone for help after the wreck. Yeah, right…

Richards/Brown: The House speaker’s numbers are also down there in Gatewood-land, so at this point he is probably not a serious contender for the Democrat nomination. Richards’ legislative record could be a negative, and if he brings up the merit system investigation …. well, wonder how many recommendation letters he’s written in the past?

His running mate is the son of the former governor and really has not made much of a name for himself in a previous term as a down-ticket statewide officeholder, but his dad’s merit system violations give him little room to talk about that situation in the current administration.

So there you have it …. the flaws and warts of the Democrats’ major contenders are exposed for all to see.

If you still think Ernie Fletcher can’t win re-election this fall against any of these four second-rate candidates, you haven’t been paying attention.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Reverting to form

Anne Northup began her campaign on a "Fletcher can't win in the fall" theme.

When she saw that gained her no traction, she trotted out a few issues.

When she saw that also gained her no traction, she's reverted to "Fletcher can't win in the fall."

Sorry, Mrs. Northup, but the Republican voters see right through you. They are rejecting your divisive campaign. The polls, whether they are the Fletcher internal poll showing him ahead by 22 points, or the Survey USA poll showing him up by 12, are reflective of that. Fletcher is pulling away and you are slipping.

Your desperation is showing, be it your latest ad or your ill-advised exchange with Robert Stivers, or the comments that at least two sources have reported that you made at the Kentucky Right to Life dinner.

Your service to this state and to the Republican Party is honored by most within the GOP, but you are tarnishing and trashing your legacy by your ill-advised candidacy.

You'll earn the respect of all Republicans, even the most ardent Fletcher supporters, if you will stick to the issues and get off your "Fletcher can't win" mantra. The fact is that he CAN win this fall against any of the seven Democrat candidates.