Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dear Steve Beshear: The election's over and you won, so act like it!

Will Steve Beshear ever get out of campaign mode?

Every time he's made a statement on a controversial topic during the past week, the Person Who Occupies the Governor's Office (he's too dumb and inept to be called "governor") couldn't resist a shot at the man he defeated last November, Gov. (A Real Governor) Ernie Fletcher.

Don't be a sore winner, Beshear. You won, the state's reins are yours, and now it's time for you to deal with whatever realities come your way.

We aren't pleased with the way Beshear is meddling into the Council on Postsecondary Education's affairs, but even more bothersome is the way Beshear crowed about the settlement the Transportation Cabinet reached with Missy McCray.

We could go on all day about how blatantly untrue Beshear's comments were about state employees being mistreated and fearing for their jobs -- it's a bald-faced lie that was never rebuked by the mainstream press during the personnel investigation -- but we won't. Instead, we'll merely say that Beshear couldn't have acted less gubernatorial if he had tried.

We don't know why Beshear or the Transportation Cabinet felt the need to put a quote from him in their press release, but Beshear could have used the opportunity to appear magnanimous. He could have said something about wanting to move forward instead of looking back. He didn't. Instead, he used the opportunity to take a campaign-style shot at Fletcher, and an untrue one at that.

Beshear hardly has a reputation as a guardian or a champion for state employees. His record as attorney general on the matter was abysmal. As governor, he swept state employees under the rug by not pushing for a pay increase that mirrors cost of living increases, and by not championing pension reform and letting that matter go unresolved in the just-concluded legislative session.

If Beshear would quit campaigning against Ernie Fletcher, six months after the election's over, and instead focus on trying to lead this state, maybe his approval ratings wouldn't be battling his predecessor's during the worst months of the personnel probe.

One more thought on the McCray settlement (which we thought was outrageous and, quite frankly, abhorrent, but that's a topic for another day): The Herald-Leader (in a headline) and the Courier-Journal (in the body of its news story) incorrectly reported that McCray was fired from the Transportation Cabinet. That's not the case. She was not fired.

But now she has a non-merit job in the Personnel Cabinet, as part of her settlement, and we will take great pleasure in seeing the next Republican governor fire her from that job when she will have absolutely no legal recourse whatsoever. In fact, we hope firing her is one of the first things the Republican governor (at this point, we're hoping for Geoff Davis, Hal Rogers or Joe Lambert) does after he takes office in 2011.

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