The cheering, along with the sobbing are over. The lights have been turned off and everyone has gone home. It’s sad to say, but true nevertheless, the Kentucky Republican Party took a beating and perhaps rightly so. Ernie Fletcher’s promise of four years ago to “clean up the mess in Frankfort” became little more than a hollow echo. Mark Hebert, reporter for WHAS 11 said last night that in an interview with former Congresswoman Anne Northup, she had remarked that Fletcher lost the election when he pardoned his aides and then took the 5th the following day. She said during her campaign for the Republican nomination for governor that Fletcher was unelectable. She was right, and Fletcher took most of the Republican slate down with him. Fletcher campaigned primarily on the issue of equating casinos with sin, and that in a state with a long history of gambling. As pretty much anyone but his campaign advisers could tell him, this was a non-issue from the start. Then, toward the end, his veiled accusations that the Democratic frontrunners were “gay” was another blow to his credibility. But the fact was that by then, nobody cared; attention was being focused on the down ticket. His campaign in some quarters became little more than a mockery.
Those that follow this blog will note that the predications I made in the last issue were a 100% accurate. Trey Grayson won a pretty tough race over Bruce Hendrickson. Trey is perhaps the only rising star left in the Republican stable, and the fact that he didn’t listen to GOP strategists and tie his race to the governor probably saved him from certain defeat. Henderson had no real chance of winning. His only shot was hoping that the anticipated Democratic landslide would be enough. It wasn’t.
“Young Jack” Conway beat up the Republican Stan Lee as expected. When will the Republicans get serious about running someone who can actually win Attorney General? Maybe by the next time they win the governorship, which may be in another 20 or 30 years. Democrat Todd Hollenbach had no trouble with Melinda Wheeler for State Treasurer. I guess we can assume that position won’t be eliminated anywhere soon. Republican Linda Greenwell had to sideline her campaign for State Auditor for personal reasons. It turned out her mother was, and remains, quite ill. However, the anticipated outcome was never in doubt. She simply didn’t have the money or party support to take out the incumbent, Crit Luallen. There’s some talk Crit may take on US Senator Mitch McConnell. Good luck. I think you’ll need your big girl panties for that one. As for Linda, I wish all the best for your mom’s swift recovery. Hope to see you out there again. Republican Richie Farmer plowed his opponent, David Williams to keep his seat as Agriculture Commissioner. The real question is where does he go from here?
As for the Library Tax, no surprise there, except perhaps for the Courier Journal’s editorial board and Abramson & Company. Most of us bloggers out here in county had a strong sense it would fail. Of all the people I heard from, none expressed any interest in an additional tax. Frankly, who can blame them? After all, we’re paying record gas prices, plus with winter coming, we’re expected to pay record heating and heating oil bills. Our sewer rates just went up, as did our water bills, and our electric bills are going up an average of 11% per household. Even our garbage bills are keep going up (and we’re paying the cost of fuel for their trucks as part of the bill). Food staples are on the rise. Of course, health care costs are always going up, as is cable, and then of course, we have the holidays to think about! I suspect Abramson & Company may try to push the Library Tax through again, but next time it may be done in away that denies the voters a voice.
So, where do we go from here? Well, first I’d like to address the Democrats. Enjoy your victory. It was well won, but don’t get arrogant. This wasn’t a mandate from the people. It was a rejection of Fletcher (and, in part, of Bush as well). People voted for Beshear holding their nose. And don’t forget, you wouldn’t have gotten your near record margins of victory without the crossover votes of Republicans and Independents. You owe them a word of thanks. But here it is—your opportunity. Don’t mess it up this time. Don’t do what you’ve done in the past. Try actually working for the people and not for special interests groups. No bribes. No vote selling. No petty bickering. Think past party lines and do what’s right for everyone. And for Pete’s sakes, keep your britches on. We don’t want another “Pants Droppin” Paul Patton scandal. Now go do your job.
As for the Republicans, what do you think about a long vacation in a third world country to regain your sense of perspective? Seriously, what are you all thinking? Who is advising your candidates? Find them and fire them! It’s time for a top to bottom house cleaning. Spare no one. The “I know what’s best” ivory tower mentality has to go. Find people who know what’s going on in the hinterlands. Find people who can think past base social issues and focus on the issues that matter to people like healthcare, daycare, lower taxes, smaller government, and jobs with decent wages. Most people didn’t give a hoot about the moral implications of casinos. What they care about is the jobs they bring and putting food on the table and roof over their heads. Why haven’t you reached out to minorities? It’s not like they’re going away any time soon!
In Jefferson County, the GOP has completely imploded. It’s time—no, it’s way past time for the current “losership” to go before everybody quits and there’s nobody left to turn off the lights. Forget that “East End Only” mentality. If you want to win elections, you have to think past (and West) of I-65. You have to think middle class, not country club. You can’t keep on promising potential candidates support and abandoning them as soon as they file (and that goes for the state leadership just as well). And remember, I don’t care if it’s “just politics” or not, you can’t keep lying to your candidates and expect them to keep coming back. Until you make serious changes, you will lose and keep losing. It’s time to rebuild from scratch.
Now, here’s another article from Moderate Man. He’s got a really good idea here. See what you think:
Prepare For the Future
The Louisville Metro Region, including Southern Indiana, Oldham, Bullitt and Shelby Counties need a Monorail. It should be operated by a private company, like the cities of Seattle, Las Vegas and Tokyo. All of them operate accident free at a profit. Taxpayer subsidies not needed. Capital costs will cost as much as Light Rail, but construction time is much quicker, knocking years off construction schedules. Capital costs can be bonded by these private companies and recaptured thru innovative financial methods. However, a fully linked system to all the outlying regions may take up to a hundred years to fund and build. Chicago’s elevated system comes to mind. They even have the South Shore line to South Bend, Indiana. Mass transit is not a one item cure all for our transportation needs. Yes, buses are and will always be needed. They are flexible for routing and a systems custom needs. Monorails will bring spurs to the center of downtown Louisville from places like LaGrange in Oldham County beside I-71, Shelbyville in Shelby County along I-64, Mt. Washington along Bardstown Rd., New Albany Ind. over the Ohio along the Sherman Minton Bridge, Shepherdsville along I-65. But we already have a system in place to put commuter trains on to bring workers into the downtown Metro area. There is the Paducah & Louisville Railroad along Dixie highway, the CSX line along LaGrange Rd from Peewee Valley, and the Louisville-Jeffersonville Line in Southern Indiana. An operating agreement and rail cars are all that is needed, as the lines are in place. If all these items listed above were in place, how much longer do you think it would be before the United States Congress allocated funding on an Amtrak intra city line from Louisville to Chicago, like the old Kentucky Cardinal Express, but this time upgrading the rails for faster service? This is the ultimate goal, to be connected to the federal rail commuter transportation system, so that at a future date when high speed rail replaces or supplements automobiles, our region is ready and willing to be connected to other cities for fast and efficient transportation, just like our airports are.