Thursday, November 08, 2007

I guess we could have gift-wrapped this one.

As sad as it is to admit this, I expected the GOP to lose the Governor's mansion this year. My fellow Republicans may still want to debate whether Northup or Harper could have won the general election. It's a worthless debate. The backlash on Republicans this year was written in stone the moment Governor Fletcher pardoned those under scrutiny in the hiring probe. Call it a "witch hunt" all you like, what happened cast a shadow of doubt on a party that hadn't seen the inside of the Governor's mansion in over three decades. That was it.

I canvassed neighborhoods, knocked on doors, called voters, and worked crowds at football games for Governor Fletcher in 2004. I know exactly why he was elected -- citizens, not just Republicans but ALL citizens, were tired of scandal after scandal from Frankfort. They believed Ernie when he said he would clean up Frankfort. Democrats said over and over again to me, "I'm sick of seeing my Governor cry on TV. It's time for a change." They were right.

When I saw Steve Beshear's TV commercials and his performance during interviews, I knew he would be our next governor. Know why? Because he sang a song that was music to the ears of scandal weary Kentuckians: We're all Kentuckians, let's put scandal behind us and start working together again. Never mind that "working together again" actually means Democrats working with Democrats which is what most Kentuckians are used to anyway. People dislike conflict. It's that simple. Beshear's campaign was handled very well, in my opinion. They hit the right chords at the right time. I suppose we should have gift wrapped this election for them; after all, isn't that the polite thing to do when giving someone a gift?

It's not much different that the gift that was given to us by the Patton administration so I won't wail and moan much about it. We blew it and we knew it.

The shame of it all is not really that Governor Fletcher sorely mishandled the scandal that Stumbo and others created out of just about nothing; the shame of it all is that there was ever even the slightest hint of "nothing" with which to generate that scandal. Conservatives tend to hold representatives of their party to a higher standard -- rightly so, especially when those elected officials move into an office that hasn't seen a Republican in 30+ years. The booby traps and mines were laid long ago. I suppose even the brightest are tripped up occasionally. It's said that even Albert Einstein couldn't tie his own shoelaces.

Governor Fletcher was indeed a good governor for this Commonwealth. I hope that history will remember him kindly and that he won't be the last Republican governor for three more decades. It is my fervent hope that Governor-elect Beshear will keep in place the good economic moves made by Governor Fletcher. They had started making a difference. Let's hope that the next administration will have the enlightenment necessary to pull Kentucky out of the bottom half of most economic measurements and get this state on track to greatness.

...oh and for the record, I won't be hoping for a scandal-free Beshear administration because, hey, maybe they can gift wrap the next one for us!

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