Welcome to Election Day

Hello and welcome to State of the Commonwealth, a blog about Kentucky. After not living here for more than ten years, I recently relocated back in Louisville, and have been looking for some way to write about what I’m learning on returning. For the most part, I’m interested in writing about Kentucky news and politics, though with a fair amount of arts, music, travel and culture thrown in the mix as well. Additionally, I’m concerned with what I perceive as a lack of interesting or noteworthy media coverage of those topics in the Bluegrass State, exemplified mainly by Louisville’s flagship paper, the Courier-Journal. Once a consistent Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, the Courier now serves as a rather pablum look into what I believe is a exciting city and commonwealth.

So let’s get started. Today is Election Day in Kentucky, and a good reason to be excited as the corrupt administration of Ernie Fletcher is set to be defeated in today’s polling by Steve Beshear. Most polls conducted have Beshear winning the gubenatorial race by as much as 20 points, good news for Kentucky’s Democrats, embarrassed by losing the statehouse to Fletcher four years ago. Fletcher was the first Republican governor for Kentucky since Louie B. Nunn, who served from 1967 to 1971.

Though by all appearances Beshear has the race sewn up, there were two interesting but incredibly late developments reported in today’s Courier-Journal, both involving last-ditch (but most likely futile) efforts by the Fletcher campaign. First, U.S. District Judge Joseph Hood allowed a display of the Ten Commandments to be posted at the state capitol. This doesn’t really seem like that big of a story, though it does underlie a certain pathetic effort on Fletcher’s part to rally the religious right on Election Day. And from what I can tell from pictures of it, the display just looks sorta skimpy, boring framed printouts of the Ten Commandments, the Magna Carta, and the preamble to the Kentucky Constitution. Where’s Hammurabi’s Code? Or a copy of the Declaration of Independence? Or the charter to the Pendennis Club?

Buried on page 5 of the Metro section was the second, more sinister Fletcher-related brouhaha, reported with the headline Fletcher Supporters Attack Beshear Over Endorsement By Gay-Rights Group. Basically, the Beshear campaign was endorsed last week by a group called C-FAIR, despite Beshear’s opposition of gay marriage. As it turns out, C-FAIR is the political action committee of the Fairness Campaign, a long-running effort by Kentucky citizens to enact equal rights legislation for homosexuals. In response to the endorsement, the Republican Party of Kentucky “made automated phone calls with singer Pat Boone warning that if Beshear is elected Kentucky could become ‘another San Francisco.'”

Yes, you read that right. The Pat Boone. I’ve gotta wonder who would actually be scared by such a tactic. Even people my parents’ age (they’re in their mid-60s) consider Pat Boone a joke, a boring, white-bread cornball best suited to selling life insurance or some such. Secondly, while clearly “another San Francisco” is code for some sort of right-wing-imagined gay Gomorrah, anybody who has actually been to San Francisco raves about it, in my experience. Perhaps Gov. Fletcher doesn’t know that San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the country (and maybe the world), and also has a much-better-than-Louisville median household income of $57,833 and median family income of $67,809, the third-highest for any large city in the nation, while having one of the lowest poverty rates of any city (according to the U.S. Census Bureau). Seems like maybe they’re doing something right in the city by the bay.

Also in the story, we read that Robbie Rudolph, Fletcher’s choice for Lieutenant Governor, referred to Beshear and running mate Dan Mongiardo over the weekend as a “couple of San Francisco treats.” Additionally, another set of automated phone calls was made to voters Monday morning purporting to be from the Fairness Campaign, stating that Beshear “is receiving major support from out-of-state gay activists and has publicly committed to same-gender relationships…” despite there being no clear indication of who the calls were actually from, a potential violation of state campaign finance laws.

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One Response to “Welcome to Election Day”

  1. […] could look into banning plastic grocery bags, as San Francisco has done. Just don’t tell Pat Boone. Wouldn’t want Louisville to turn into another San Francisco, […]

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