Friday, February 15, 2008

Voters' remorse? Beshear supporters expressing disappointment

Brett Hall over at kypolitics.org has done an excellent job at cataloging some of the critical comments some legislators of Gov. Beshear's own party have been throwing his way.

But is Beshear losing support among the rank and file voters who supported him? Is one of his key constituencies already abandoning him, or at least losing faith?

We keep hearing from or about state employees, some of whom were among Beshear's loudest advocates (or perhaps more correctly, among Gov. Fletcher's harshest critics) and were actually financial contributors to his campaign, that they're unhappy with the new governor.

On everything from policy to personnel decisions, people who voted for Beshear are expressing dissatisfaction. While not quite to the point of saying they wish they'd voted for Fletcher, it probably wouldn't take much -- especially when the majority of state employees realize that they won't be getting as much cash in their paychecks when they get their raise in the current administration as opposed to what they got under Fletcher.

We understand, too, that some of the personnel promises (re: promotions) made to certain employees haven't come through, further angering them. Never mind that these are blatant violations of the same merit system laws Beshear promised to obey, his campaign made promises to a lot of merit employees in exchange for their support and those promises are looking more hollow every day.

We're also hearing that the governor is losing support from a number of local officials, including Democrat county judges who think this administration is not being responsive to their needs. The recent decision not to support financial relief for county jails angered many county judges and jailers, most of them Democrats, who supported their party's nominee in November.

Beshear's administration has gotten off to a rocky start through a series of missteps that were totally avoidable -- and should have been avoided based on their assurances that they'd learned from the Fletcher administration what they shouldn't be doing. If the governor and his henchmen continue alienating some of their key supporters, and a recent Survey USA poll shows that to be exactly what's happening, Beshear could find himself without the confidence of the state's populace and all of his initiatives could be in danger with his administration not even a quarter of the way into his first year.

And it couldn't happen to a more deserving person.

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