Friday, May 02, 2008

What has changed in five years for Dems?

In the waning days of the 2003 Democrat gubernatorial primary, Ben Chandler unleashed the political equivalent of a nuke on the campaign of Bruce Lunsford.

Lunsford, a former nursing home executive, found himself on the business end of a nasty personal attack ad from the Chandler camp. Lunsford was basically accused of personally abusing patients and of kicking them out of his nursing homes.

The commercial stung. It was the nastiest personal attack ad we've ever seen in Kentucky politics. Not having time to respond with a television ad of his own, Lunsford instead dropped out of the race, endorsed Chandler's remaining primary opponent Jody Richards, and eventually endorsed Chandler's Republican opponent in the general election.

(We can't say that we blame Lunsford for endorsing Ernie Fletcher over Chandler. If we were Lunsford, we'd probably have beaten the crap out of Chandler and then urinated on his bloody carcass when we were finished.)

Other than Lunsford himself, and a few media analyses that called the ad unfair, no one raised a stink about it. The ad did its job: It chased Chandler's closest opponent from the race, although Chandler got a scare when the bump from Lunsford's endorsement of Richards sent the anti-Chandler vote to the House speaker and he came within a whisker of beating Chandler.

Fast forward five years to 2008, when Lunsford is running for the Democrat nomination for United States senator. One of his opponents, Louisville-area businessman Greg Fischer, launches the same type of attack on Lunsford, using the same type of information, as Chandler did in '03.

What happens? Four prominent Democrats write a nasty letter to Fischer, demanding that he cease and desist and cautioning that such personal attacks are harmful to their party.

Where were these prima donnas five years ago? Why weren't they complaining about Chandler's attacks on Lunsford?

The letter's signatories include Congressman John Yarmuth, Auditor Crit Luallen, Attorney General Little Jackie Conway and Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo. Conspicuously absent from signing the letter, apart from Gov. Steve Beshear, is Congressman Ben Chandler.

Why wouldn't he join his fellow Democrat congressman in condemning the personal attacks against Lunsford? Could it be that if he condemned the exact same thing he did five years ago would be ... gasp ... hypocritical?

Hypocrisy among Democrats is one thing that has certainly remained constant over the past five years, that's for sure.


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