Reaction to Cowgill's appointment puts Democrat hypocrisy front and center -- again
When the Kentucky Board of Education appointed Jon Draud, a Republican state representative, as education commissioner late last year, Democrats cried foul.
They accused Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher of strong-arming the board into hiring a fellow Republican. They urged the board to delay hiring a commissioner until after last November's gubernatorial election, to give the winning candidate the chance to offer his input on the process. They expressed outrage when the board went ahead and hired Draud, unhappy that the leader in polling for the governor's race (Democrat Steve Beshear) might be forced to deal with someone he didn't approve of.
In short, they didn't want Fletcher to have any influence (actual or perceived) in choosing a new education commissioner.
But this week, when the state Council on Postsecondary Education chose former Fletcher administration official Brad Cowgill as its president, state Democrats did an about face. The same group who accused Fletcher of strong-arming the process of hiring an education commissioner is now trying to strong-arm the CPE's selection of a president.
Democrats can't have it both ways, although they always try mightily. If Fletcher was wrong in allegedly strong-arming the Board of Education into hiring a commissioner, then Steve Beshear is wrong in trying to strong-arm the CPE's presidential selection.
Cowgill, a Democrat who is both a close friend of Fletcher and a former law partner of Beshear, was chosen to be interim CPE president last year and by all accounts has done a bang-up job. Only the most ardent Fletcher-haters out there have been critical of him.
In opposing Cowgill's hiring, Beshear is hanging his hat on a state law governing the hiring of a CPE president that is certainly open to interpretation. Perhaps the most laughable part about the whole deal was Beshear's public proclamation that he is asking Attorney General Little Jackie Conway, also a Democrat, for an advisory opinion.
You don't need a crystal ball to determine how that'll turn out. Conway will perform the legal equivalent of fellatio on Beshear by issuing a fawning opinion saying how awful and illegal the CPE's hiring of Cowgill was. Beshear will try to use that advisory opinion, which will carry no force of law, in another attempt to force his will on the CPE.
Beshear needs to give this one up. Cowgill has proven himself to be professional and nonpartisan. By continuing to press the issue, Beshear just makes himself look small and petty. "He worked for Fletcher, therefore he's not fit to hold that job," is the message Beshear is sending.
But the message that resonates with Kentuckians is that once again, Bluegrass Democrats are hypocrites.