Wednesday, March 26, 2008



As we've mentioned before, DSCC chair Chuck Schumer is trying to shove the worst possible reactionary down the throats of Kentucky Democrats in the battle to win the Senate seat now being held by Mitch McConnell. Why? Schumer doesn't expect to win the seat and he doesn't want to put any resources into it but he knows a fat turkey ready to be plucked when he sees one. And there are few turkeys fatter or more pluckable than Bruce Lunsford who has committed to spending as much as $5 million of his own dollars to fight McConnell. Schumer just wants to see McConnell-- and his huge corporate warchest-- tied down and unavailable to help endangered Republican targets like Norm Coleman (R-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Gordon Smith (R-OR), John Sununu (R-NH) and even red state reactionaries like James Inhofe (R-OK) and John Cornyn (R-TX).

Yesterday the Lexington Herald-Leader's Ryan Alessi took a look at how traditional anti-Lunsford Democratic groups, like labor unions, have been coerced into selling out their members interests by Schumer.
In March 2007, amid the Democratic primary for governor, key unions in Kentucky not only wrote off the possibility of backing Lunsford, some openly campaigned against him. Many in organized labor remained steamed over Lunsford's 2003 run for governor, in which he dropped out of the Democratic primary and later backed Republican Ernie Fletcher in the general election.

But all appears to be forgotten, or at least disregarded, now that Lunsford is the best-known Democrat in the U.S. Senate race and has the blessing of the Washington Democratic establishment. After all, at stake in this primary is the chance to take on U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, which automatically makes it a nationally watched race.

...So why the about-face?

First, the message from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and its chairman, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, was unmistakable: Lunsford is their guy. Schumer and the national AFL-CIO, therefore, had a keen interest in Kentucky's labor unions getting behind him, and they made sure to say so, said Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky AFL-CIO.

"There may have been a phone call or two," he said.

Second, the unions made the same political calculations that Schumer already has. Lunsford's vast personal wealth can help catch up to McConnell's $10 million fund-raising head start, and his millions of dollars' worth of TV ads run in two previous statewide races made his name familiar to voters.

Londrigan said those qualities became more important because Lunsford and his chief Democratic rival, Louisville businessman Greg Fischer, espoused similar views.

"Let's be honest, there's not a whole lot of difference in how they stood on our working-family issues," he said. "But on balance, we measured Bruce to be a candidate that had more capability to challenge Mitch-- money, name recognition, the support he's going to receive from the ... big players in D.C., the DSCC."

OK; let's be honest. Lunsford does have more money but it's disgusting to hear a labor union leader buckling under to that premise-- that only multimillionaires belong in the U.S. Senate. This song was written by someone in Harlan County, KY. Please give it a listen to understand why I'm dedicating it today to Mr. Londrigan. As for name recognition, yes, Lunsford has that-- but it is entirely negative name recognition. He is despises by Democrats throughout the state. As for positions on key issues, it’s impossible to be sure where Lunsford is. He is talking the talk but with no actual voting record to judge from; you have to take him at his word-- a word that has proven less than worthless in the past.

The one policy Lunsford has out there to compare with the grassroots Democrat, Greg Fischer, regards the Iraq war. Lunsford is playing it safe and vague while Greg has endorsed the Responsible Plan to End the War. Lunsford also claims to agree with Greg that universal health care is something that must be implemented, although here too, people who have watched Lunsford in the past are dubious that once in office he would be a forceful advocate for meaningful universal healthcare.

In terms of labor, Greg is an owner of a Steelworkers union-affiliated company and has an excellent record of working with organized labor in his entire business career. As for Lunsford, he too has a record of actions to look at in this regard. And they're very clear-- the very reasons why KY organized labor has always fought him.

When Lunsford lost his primary against Ben Chandler he became a modern-day Benedict Arnold, endorsing right-wing Republican Ernie Fletcher. He took it one step further by leading his transition team that abolished the Environmental Protection Cabinet position and the Kentucky Labor Cabinet position, downgrading both to department level status. If policy speaks, he has a lot of explaining to do.

So now in 2008 the new Lunsford is supposedly a strong Democrat working to change Washington, but he's been making hefty political contributions to Republicans (so they could defeat Democrats) for his entire miserable life. And as recently as last year he was still donating to his very good friend and ally, Mitch McConnell.

And while Greg Fischer has built award-winning companies and added several thousand good paying manufacturing jobs to the Kentucky economy, Lunsford has dumped employees, nursing home residents and his company causing what is locally known as a mini-Enron. Lunsford was sued by the shareholders of his company, Vencor, because he engaged in insider trading and made misleading statements about the company's status.

So Lunsford, a businessman has spent $14 million to find it's not enough to be governor now he wants to be a Senator? I would say his behavior is simply transparent; power for the sake of power and apparently now he'll say or do anything to achieve it. It's obvious why Chuck Shumer loves this guy-- they share a brain. They're two power-hungry, careerist Insiders with severe ego problems. Kentucky Democrats should tell Chuck Schumer to mind his own business, just like Montana Democrats did when he tried forcing DLC hack John Morrison down their throats in 2006. Instead, much to the Lizard's chagrin, they nominated Jon Tester who then went on to beat a powerful and entrenched Republican incumbent-- just like Greg Fischer will do if Schumer will just get out of the way.


Although Schumer and his allies were apparently able to make Andrew Horne an offer he couldn't refuse to get him to withdraw from the race and back Lunsford-- forever impugning his credibility-- grassroots Kentucky Democrats are flocking to Greg Fischer.

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At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, is this the same ethical, freedom loving, man of family values Bruce Lunsford who, as head of Vencor, was sued by the federal justice department for $1.3 BILLION dollars in Medicare fraud? The same Lunsford whose Vencor empire of nursing homes (second largest chain the US) was revealed in a scathing series of investigatory reports in the Wall Street Journal--a paper not known for being unfriendly to corporations--to be a cesspit of maleficence. Oh, and never mind comparing Lunsford to Benedict Arnold; a better and more timely comparison would be to Joe Lieberman.


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