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groovedaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-24-07 08:05 AM
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47. Will this "Yawner" get lively?
Tuesday, April 24, 2007 -- Courier Journal op-ed

John David Dyche
Will this 'yawner' get lively?

Some pundits are calling Kentucky's gubernatorial campaign a "yawner" and wondering if it is "ever going to generate any excitement." Translation: Nobody is running negative ads. When someone does, the press will happily heap righteous scorn on the perpetrator.

It could actually help a candidate to be targeted by opponents' attack TV. So far, the most baggage-laden candidates are performing best in the polls. WHAS-11's recent SurveyUSA sampling put Bruce Lunsford and Steve Henry atop the Democratic field and incumbent Ernie Fletcher first among Republicans.

Lunsford's bio boasts a big business bankruptcy, serial support for Republicans and a running mate whose past includes paternity litigation and public intoxication. Henry's headlines feature a federal fraud settlement and an ongoing campaign finance investigation. Fletcher took the Fifth Amendment before admitting inappropriate acts and evidence strongly indicating administration wrongdoing.

Despite their overflowing hampers of dirty laundry, these apparently are the leaders. The other would-be governors have been as polite to them as kids at cotillion.

Anne Northup would likely be ahead of Fletcher but for the curious candidacy of Billy Harper, who has spent liberally to spread his doctrinaire conservatism, but can never be nominated. She has thrown some powder puff punches at Fletcher, claiming he cannot win in November and noting his frequent fudging of economic facts and figures. She must soon strike him harder.



Nothing has become Fletcher's governorship like the missionary zeal with which he is fighting to keep it. His campaign religiously preaches a distinctly messianic re-election message.

Fletcher's first ad portrayed him as a pure young soul facing persecution while walking through a playground equivalent of the valley of the shadow of death full of loud-mouthed little kids. In another bit of Baptist-flavored electoral evangelism, Fletcher's face emerges from a flame as the choir sings "This Little Light of Mine."

Forget a special legislative session. Fletcher's campaign feels more like vacation Bible school. In answer to Ernie's altar call, state contractors are apparently filling the Fletcher collection plate with offering checks. Where their treasures are, there will their ballots be also, or so he hopes.

Republicans have no monopoly on religious imagery. The seven-headed Democratic slate resembles a frightening creature from Revelation. At recent forums, some contenders' comments have been almost as incomprehensible as that apocalyptic text.

Ironically, Jody Richards, speaker of the state House, sometimes has the hardest time talking. But teachers could not care less that Richards's oratory barely betters the babbling of Otis "Bullman" Hensley among the Democratic hopefuls. To gain that group's Friend of Education Award, it is enough that Richards regularly responds, "Yes, ma'am," to commands from Kentucky Education Association president Frances Steenbergen.

At the other end of the rhetorical spectrum, the loquacious Gatewood Galbraith believes the Richards campaign, which recently purged its manager and finance chair, rests upon a fallacious premise -- that the candidate can accomplish as governor what he has failed to do while leading the House.

Jonathan Miller, 39, and Steve Beshear, 62, blend together in a Dorian Gray kind of candidacy. They have similar political backgrounds, share a good-government Bluegrass blueblood constituent base, and echo each other on expanded gambling. But one seems too young to be governor, the other too old.

If the race was for student council president, Miller, ever the earnest eager beaver with better ideas, would surely win, as he did a recent mock election at Kentucky colleges. One easily imagines Beshear, gray-haired with an avuncular gravitas, battling Morty Seinfeld for the presidency of Del Boca Vista's condo board. It will be difficult for either to win as long as both are in.

On the stump, Lunsford plies potential primary voters with barbeque. But there is not enough pork, or money, in Kentucky to make them believe anything issuing from the mouth of this man recently caught red-handed passing off as his own words and ideas from a failed Florida candidate. A loyal Democrat with fewer prior problems, Beshear can better withstand his own embarrassing policy plagiarism.

Maybe the most startling development from recent Democratic debates is Henry's poised gubernatorial presence behind a podium. He also has plenty of chutzpah, but little capacity for embarrassment or shame. From Happy Chandler to Wallace Wilkinson, history proves this can be a winning personality profile in commonwealth politics.

A boring campaign? Perhaps. But if the filing date was the starting gate and primary election day is the finish line, these horses are just approaching the quarter pole. The homestretch of Kentucky's gubernatorial derby can still be exciting.

John David Dyche is a Louisville attorney who writes a political column on alternate Tuesdays in Forum. His views are his own, not those of the law firm in which he practices. Read him on-line at www.courier-journal.com ; e-mail: jddyche@yahoo.com .

Some pundits are calling Kentucky's gubernatorial campaign a "yawner" and wondering if it is "ever going to generate any excitement." Translation: Nobody is running negative ads. When someone does, the press will happily heap righteous scorn on the perpetrator.

It could actually help a candidate to be targeted by opponents' attack TV. So far, the most baggage-laden candidates are performing best in the polls. WHAS-11's recent SurveyUSA sampling put Bruce Lunsford and Steve Henry atop the Democratic field and incumbent Ernie Fletcher first among Republicans.

Lunsford's bio boasts a big business bankruptcy, serial support for Republicans, and a running mate whose past includes paternity litigation and public intoxication. Henry's headlines feature a federal fraud settlement and an ongoing campaign finance investigation. Fletcher took the Fifth Amendment before admitting inappropriate acts and evidence strongly indicating administration wrongdoing.

Despite their overflowing hampers of dirty laundry, these are apparently the leaders. The other would-be governors have been as polite to them as kids at cotillion.

Anne Northup would likely be ahead of Fletcher but for the curious candidacy of Billy Harper, who has spent liberally to spread his doctrinaire conservatism, but can never be nominated. She has thrown some powder puff punches at Fletcher, claiming he cannot win in November and noting his frequent fudging of economic facts and figures. She must soon strike him harder.

Nothing has become Fletcher's governorship like the missionary zeal with which he is fighting to keep it. His campaign religiously preaches a distinctly messianic reelection message.

Fletcher's first ad portrayed him as a pure young soul facing persecution while walking through a playground equivalent of the valley of the shadow of death full of loudmouthed little kids. In another bit of Baptist-flavored electoral evangelism, Fletcher's face emerges from a flame as the choir sings "This Little Light of Mine.".

Forget a special legislative session. Fletcher's campaign feels more like vacation Bible school. In answer to Ernie's altar call, state contractors are apparently filling the Fletcher collection plate with offering checks. Where their treasures are, there will their ballots be also, or so he hopes.

Republicans have no monopoly on religious imagery. The seven-headed Democratic slate resembles a frightening creature from Revelation. At recent forums, some contenders' comments have been almost as incomprehensible as that apocalyptic text.

Ironically, Jody Richards, speaker of the state House, sometimes has the hardest time talking. But teachers could not care less that Richards's oratory barely betters the babbling of Otis "Bullman" Hensley among the Democratic hopefuls. To gain that group's Friend of Education Award, it is enough that Richards regularly responds, "Yes, ma'am" to commands from Kentucky Education Association president Frances Steenbergen.

At the other end of the rhetorical spectrum, the loquacious Gatewood Galbraith believes the Richards campaign, which recently purged its manager and finance chair, rests upon a fallacious premise -- that the candidate can accomplish as governor what he has failed to do while leading the House.

Jonathan Miller, 39, and Steve Beshear, 62, blend together in a Dorian Gray kind of candidacy. They have similar political backgrounds, share a good-government Bluegrass blueblood constituent base, and echo each other on expanded gambling. But one seems too young to be governor, the other too old.

If the race was for student council president, Miller, ever the earnest eager beaver with better ideas, would surely win, as he did a recent mock election at Kentucky colleges. One easily imagines Beshear, gray-haired with an avuncular gravitas, battling Morty Seinfeld for the presidency of Del Boca Vista's condo board. It will be difficult for either to win as long as both are in.

On the stump, Lunsford plies potential primary voters with barbeque sandwiches. But there is not enough pork, or money, in Kentucky to make them believe anything issuing from the mouth of this man recently caught red-handed passing off as his own words and ideas from a failed Florida candidate. A loyal Democrat with fewer prior problems, Beshear can better withstand his own embarrassing policy plagiarism.

Maybe the most startling development from recent Democratic debates is Henry's poised gubernatorial presence behind a podium. He also has plenty of chutzpah, but little capacity for embarrassment or shame. From Happy Chandler to Wallace Wilkinson, history proves this can be a winning personality profile in commonwealth politics.

A boring campaign? Perhaps. But if the filing date was the starting gate and primary election day is the finish line, these horses are just approaching the quarter pole. The homestretch of Kentucky's gubernatorial derby can still be exciting.

John David Dyche is a Louisville attorney who writes a political column on alternate Tuesdays in Forum. His views are his own, not those of the law firm in which he practices. Read him on-line at www.courier-journal.com ; e-mail: jddyche@yahoo.com .
http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AI...
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