Sunday, January 14, 2007



A few days ago there was an online pissing contest about who has the worst governor (now that Taft, though still not in prison) is no longer running the crime ring formerly known as Ohio. Lotta votes for Blunt (MO), Daniels (IN), Perry (TX), Barbour (MS) but I was diggin' my heels in on Ernie Fletcher, Kentucky's one-man crime wave. He hasn't been put in prison yet either but as truly horrid as Blunt, Daniels, Perry and Barbour are-- no arguments from me on any of that lot-- Fletcher really could be the real bottom of the barrel.

Today's Washington Post acknowledges that he's in trouble. They claim he's "been hurt by a series of scandals centered on rewarding campaign contributors with state jobs. His cratering poll numbers have coincided with his fall from grace in the eyes of Sen. Mitch McConnell, the unquestioned godfather of the state's Republican politics."

Most people not from Kentucky don't realize that being indicted for 3 misdemeanors was not the start of Fletcher's problems. Within a year of his election in 2003 he was already losing popularity because his health care agenda had drastically increased the costs, particularly for state employees. By the time he gave a blanket pardon to members of his administration charged with serious crimes, his approval rating had started sinking until less than a quarter of those polled said they would vote to re-elect him. If not for Taft, who was tried and convicted, Fletcher would have been the most disapproved of governor in the U.S. (The most recent poll-- mid-December-- shows him with a staggering 66% disapproval rating.) Less than a third of the state's citizens think he's doing a satisfactory job and he now has the distinction of being the governor with the lowest approval rating, beating out both Matt Blunt and Rick Perry and with a lower approval rating than even Bush (40%) among Kentucky voters.

Basically Fletcher's administration has been hiring, firing, promoting, demoting state employees based on their politics. That's blatantly illegal. Fletcher's defense is that "everybody does it" and he accuses the state's Attorney General, a Democrat, of mounting a politically motivated jihad against him. In other word, Fletcher got caught, dead to rights, and is using the GOP playbook to try to evade responsibility. A slew of his cabinet members, colleagues and cronies have been indicted, as have the head of the KY Republican Party, Darrell Brock. He pardoned them all-- as well as crooks on his staff that hadn't been indicted yet-- on August 29, 2005 and then he took the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify about his own criminal behavior. Fletcher was arraigned on June 7, 2006 but a hack Republican judge said he has immunity until after his term ends.

His own Lieutenant Governor has announced he will not run on the same ticket with him this year and Mitch McConnell has surreptitiously let it be known that he wants Fletcher out of Republican politics. The entire congressional delegation from Kentucky has announced it will not be supporting Fletcher in a primary and the only support he has left are from the KKK-segment of the GOP and from legislators, mostly in the state senate, who have been on the receiving end of his corrupt practices. Anne Northup, a rubber stamp congresswoman who was defeated in November by John Yarmuth (122,425 to 116,535), has decided to challenge Fletcher for the Republican nomination. A primary is expected to be very bloody and to lead to a Democratic victory in November. The Democrats will probably run Jonathan Miller (State Treasurer) or Steve Beshear (ex-Lieutenant Governor).


Let's face it, Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher is a political corpse with no pulse. Although sharp maneuvering has guaranteed that he won't have to campaign from a prison cell, the guy isn't likely to get elected to anything, anywhere, anytime. January 22 Senator Jim Bunning, long rumored to have passed away in 2006, endorsed ex-Congresswoman Anne Northup in her Republican coronation primary challenge to Fletcher. Over on the other side of the aisle, former Lieutenant Governor Steve Henry and State House Speaker Jody Richards each let it be known that they will announce their own gubernatorial candidacies later this week. Former Secretary of State John Y. Brown III has already been chosen by Richards as a runningmate.


At 7:30 AM, Blogger Timcanhear said...

Northup would get the support with Mitch McConnell pulling the purse strings that he controls for the gop. He says he wouldn't support anyone during the primaries but money IS free speech to politicians and this guy is the bank!
The dems will need to focus on Kentucky.

At 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This just got a whole hell of a lot harder. If Fletcher manages to survive, we still have a shot. A very decent shot. If Northup wins the nod, and chances are she will, we're gonna be fighting an uphill battle. KY is a Red state as it stands, so if the GOP is energized behind a Northup ticket, KY voters are going to elect her. We may be better off conserving resources and trying to do everything we can in our power to help Blanco survive down in LA. Jindal will be out for blood this time and have the National GOP financing him. The drastically changed state demographics help the GOP. LA and KY (if Northup is the nom) are going to be tough for us this year.


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