Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What's That Smell, Mitch?

The bodies of the politically dead are starting to pile up here in Kentucky:

- the most powerful republican woman in the state
- the sitting lieutenant governor
- a former governor and sitting state senator
- two millionaire businessmen
- a former lieutenant governor
- a former Miss America
- the chair of the state Democratic party (no, no, children: this is a good thing)
- the sitting Attorney General

And oh, yeah:

The current Minority Leader of the U.S. Senate.

Yes, indeedy, the big loser in yesterday’s GOP gubernatorial primary was none other than Mitch McConnell.

And that’s because incumbent Gov. Ernie Fletcher beat Mitch’s hand-picked challenger, former Rep. Anne Northup, by more than 13 points.


Technically, Mitch did not publicly endorse Annie, but he didn’t have to. Mitch’s senile junior colleague, Senator Jim Bunning, endorsed her. Everybody knows Annie would never have challenged an incumbent republican – and one whom Mitch personally anointed four years ago - without Mitch’s explicit approval.

And Mitch has been signaling his extreme disapproval of Ernie for more than a year by refusing to defend Ernie against charges of corruption, refusing to smack down Ernie’s growing number of critics, refusing to punish republicans who abandoned Ernie, refusing to endorse Ernie’s candidacy, refusing to discourage challengers like Northup, refusing, refusing, refusing.

That Ernie beat Mitch – er, Annie – by a two-digit margin is irrefutable proof that Mitch’s star is on the wane.

Forty-two months ago, Mitch was the GOP god who put an end to 32 years of Democratic ownership of the governor’s mansion.

Today, he faces a 2008 re-election campaign with the Kentucky Republican Machine he built himself in smithereens at his feet.

For the Democrats, this is no time to show mercy. Kick him when he’s down, right now, and keep kicking, right through November ’08.

Show Harry Reid how real Democrats treat republicans.

Tomorrow: Big winners who didn't make the front page, dirt on some of the losers, and proof that consorting with republicans lowers your IQ.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Victory in Kentucky

Former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear will take on Gov. Ernie Fletcher in November for the Governorship of Kentucky.

With 99.9 percent of precincts reporting, Fletcher has 50.1 percent of the GOP vote and Beshear has 40.9 percent of the Democratic vote - both exceeding the minimum required to avoid a runoff.

Fletcher successfully rose from the political dead to beat Anne Northup by a convincing 13.6 points and prove, once again, that Kentucky republicans are way dumber than we think they are.

But it was Beshear who really pulled off the miracle, trouncing five opponents and beating his nearest rival by 19.5 points.

Almost 20 points over Traitor and Fake Dem Bruce Lunsford, who outspent Beshear five to one.

Let me say that again. Beshear beat by 20 points an opponent who outspent him five to one.

Come November, Ernie is toast.

Tomorrow, details on the winners, the losers, the politically dead, the embarassingly stupid, and the people who should sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up, but probably won't.

Down the Straight and Headed for the Wire

Polls close in the eastern half of Kentucky in 10 minutes, and in the western half in 70 minutes. (Yeah, it's weird and annoying, but two time zones is what we get for being a horizontal state so close to the Mississippi River.)

Yes, I voted, and one of my votes is already turning out to be a huge mistake. Of the three Democrats running for Treasurer, I voted for Todd Hollenbach IV, only to get online and find out from a Bluegrass Report commenter that Hollenbach is an anti-choice wingnut.

Serves me right for not doing my homework. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Learn from my mistake, everybody - make sure you know who you're voting for before you vote.

So far, it's looking like Dirty Ernie, our corrupt and none-too-bright incumbent Governor Fletcher, is going to take the three-way GOP primary with more than 40 percent and avoid a runoff against former Louisville Congress critter Anne Northup.

That's good news for Democrats, as virtually any of the six Democrats running could beat Fletcher with half a campaign.

Latest polls have former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear with a 32-23 lead over Traitor and Fake Democrat Bruce Lunsford, but Lunsford could still deny Beshear the 41 percent he needs to avoid a runoff on June 26.

I'll be heading to the Beshear-Mongiardo party shortly, and will blog the results as soon as possible after 7 p.m. EDT.

Meanwhile, Bluegrass Report and Polwatchers will be posting updates.

Monday, May 14, 2007

When the Sex Matters

For the record: I am perfectly fine with any sex act between consenting adults, as long as it does not violate any criminal statutes or harm other adults, children, animals or antique furniture.

However, Christopher Hitchens' defense in Slate of Paul Wolfowitz' - Hitch resents the term "girlfriend," so let's call her his paramour - is just a bit much, even for The Hitch.

Hitchens apparently knows her personally, and thinks she's just peachy, therefore the media types criticizing her boyfriend are a bunch of meanies.

"(T)his is the nastiest and dirtiest and cheapest campaign of character assassination I have ever seen."


Nastier than discussing in detail the appearance and characteristics of the president's penis?

Dirtier than speculating on the First Lady's sexual proclivities?

Cheaper than taping a distraught young woman's private confessions and broadcasting them to the world?

Worse character assassination than attacking that young woman for falling for a powerful older man and making fun of her weight?

Adultery (Wolfowitz is separated, but still married) is far more common than any of us likes to admit. I have worked in almost two dozen different places in my life, large and small, and at every single one of them there was at least one affair going on.

Some were fairly harmless co-worker gropings. Others were boss-subordinate couplings that led to scream-fests, hysterical scenes, plummeting morale, destroyed productivity, mass resignations, firings, divorce and lawsuits.

It may be true, as Hitchens claims, that Shaha Riza was supremely qualified for her position at the World Bank and the one she eventually got at the State Department, that she did an outstanding job and that she earned every penny of the enormous salary Wolfie arranged for her.

But the only "character assassination" she has suffered is the revelation of her affair. I don't believe publication of the truth constitutes "character assassination."

Wolfowitz is a public figure, and has been for many years - since long before their affair began. Riza is by all accounts an intelligent, highly competent, sophisticated woman of the world. She knew, or should have known, that she was one resentful employee away from exposure.

If she wanted to maintain her privacy, she should have either insisted that Wolfowitz decline the World Bank job so she could keep hers (the I Am Woman option), quietly resigned from the World Bank and found another job on her own without Wolfie's help (the Stand By Your Man option) or ended the affair (the Good Girl option.)

That she arrogantly insisted on being treated as a professional while accepting special favors from her lover opened the door to both exposure and ridicule.

Both richly deserved.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

And Then There Were Six

Much as I would love this post to refer to the withdrawal from the presidential race of the three republican evolution-deniers – Huckabee, Brownback and Tancredo – and the spontaneous head-explosion of Rudy Guiliani due to terminal abortion confusion, I’m afraid it doesn’t.

The cleanest and most progressive candidate in the Kentucky Democratic Gubernatorial Primary has dropped out. State Treasurer Jonathan Miller announced this afternoon that he is withdrawing and endorsing former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear.

Two weeks out from the May 22 primary, Miller couldn’t seem to crack double-digits in the polls. The latest poll, from Survey USA last week, showed that not only had Miller dropped from 8 percent to 7 percent, but Party Traitor Bruce Lunsford had jumped from 20 percent to 29 percent.

Given that Lunsford is leading the Democratic candidates despite being a Republican, Miller staying in the race created the very real possibility that November’s general election would lack an actual Democratic candidate.

If you’re thinking Lunsford is the Joe Lieberman of Kentucky – stop. Compared to Lunsford, Lieberman is a paragon of Democratic loyalty. More on Lunsford's perfidy below.

Beshear is the second choice of a lot of Miller supporters and other progressives, including Change for Kentucky/Democracy for America of Kentucky.

But the anti-Lunsford vote is still split among Beshear (23 percent) and four others: former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry at 18 percent, State House Speaker Jody Richards at 9 percent, attorney and gadfly Gatewood Galbraith at 6 percent and demolition contractor Otis Hensley at 1 percent.

Don’t look for either Galbraith or Hensley to quit – they’ve both finished statewide races with less than 10 percent of the vote before, and it doesn’t seem to bother them.

Steve Henry is getting slammed in both the polls (dropping 4 points in two weeks) and the press, as we get to enjoy a new Henry-is-even-more-corrupt-than-we-thought story with our morning coffee just about every day.

That wouldn’t be such a handicap if Henry weren’t defending himself with the most obvious, lame and stupid series of lies since Alberto Gonzales last testified. At this rate, Henry may end up with fewer votes than Otis.

But he won’t drop out. He’s married to a former Miss America, dadgummit, and that means he gets to be governor!

That leaves Jody Richards. I’ve never been a Richards fan – he’s nowhere near bright and he lets the Republican Senate Majority Leader beat him up at will. Ask anybody in Kentucky what’s the best thing about Jody Richards and they’ll all say the same thing:

“He’s nice.”

Yep, just what you want in a candidate going up against the republican attack machine.

Jody: If you must be nice, then be nice to the Democratic voters of Kentucky and drop out now!

Miller’s and Richards’ supporters added to Beshear’s, plus half the undecideds, will put Beshear over the top.

I'm no fan of Beshear's (his lobbying for predatory payday loan companies makes me sick), but he's by far the best candidate left in the race. And that's despite the handicap of his running mate: State Senator Dan Mongiardo, who won the lasting enmity of most Kentucky progressives by sponsoring our lovely gay hate amendment in 2004.

Yes, it matters very much whom the Democrats nominate, even though any one of them could beat incumbent Gov. Ernie Fletcher in November. Well, maybe not Henry.

It's a close call as to which is more important: defeating Fletcher, or defeating Lunsford.
Lunsford’s a multi-millionaire (he sank $8 million into his 2003 primary run before quitting), supposedly willing to put his personal fortune into the general election. That’s why some seriously deluded/desperate Democrats are claiming he has the best chance to beat Fletcher.

Bruce Lunsford made his millions off the backs of two groups: the poor, sick old people he threw out of his nursing homes to make room for richer patients, and the poor, trusting Kentucky families who lost their life savings investing in Lunsford’s company before he bankrupted it.

His vicious ads attacking State Attorney General Ben Chandler in the 2003 gubernatorial primary fatally wounded Chandler in the general election, especially after Lunsford dropped out of the primary and endorsed Ernie Fletcher.

Read that again, slowly: A Democratic primary candidate endorsed the Republican primary winner. After promising to support the Democratic primary winner.

Ernie won, and gave Lunsford a nice job. Since 1995, Lunsford has given more than $40,000 to Republican candidates, and less than $12,000 to Democratic candidates.

Now he wants to be the Democratic nominee.

Ernie Fletcher has been one of the worst governors in Kentucky history. Cleaning up the mess he’s created will take years if not decades and billions of dollars Kentucky doesn’t have. We can’t afford another four months, never mind another four years of Ernie Fletcher.

But a lot of Democrats will be voting for Fletcher – if Bruce Lunsford gets the nomination.