The Skunk and Tiger

"Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge."-Horace Mann

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Governor's Troubles Threaten G.O.P. in Kentucky

New York Times

...15 indictments later, Mr. Fletcher's administration — including his self-titled Disciples, accused of being the ringleaders of the patronage scheme — is still feeling the sting as his approval ratings drop below 30 percent.

Most of his former backers, including his mentor, Senator Mitch McConnell, have distanced themselves from him, and Democrats point to the case as another example of Republican corruption and overreach. Mr. Fletcher was indicted on three misdemeanor charges; while on vacation in Florida in early June, he had his lawyer enter a plea of not guilty.

The accusations have threatened to reverse a tide that Republicans in the state have worked for more than a decade to turn in their favor. With the party controlling the State Senate and just shy of a majority in the House, many Republicans viewed Mr. Fletcher's easy victory in 2003 as the dawning of a new political era for the Bluegrass State.


Asked what adjectives he would use to describe morale in the administration, Stan Cave, Mr. Fletcher's chief of staff, paused before laughing. "I'm not sure you can print the ones I'd like to choose," Mr. Cave said. "So let's go with angry, frustrated, but still resolved to proceed."

He said that with a grand jury consisting entirely of Democrats and with perceptions of conflict of interest swirling around the case, he did not see how anyone could argue that the investigation was apolitical. The two judges who handled the case early later recused themselves.

But Mark Nickolas, a blogger who runs Bluegrass and is the former campaign manager for Representative Ben Chandler, Mr. Fletcher's opponent in 2003, made just that argument.

"The administration keeps peddling these ludicrous conspiracy theories," Mr. Nickolas said. "Really, what we have here is a microcosm of the Republicans' national problem, which is they play by their own rules even if it's against the law."


Despite a recent poll that found that 54 percent of the state's voters wanted Mr. Fletcher to resign, he remains upbeat. "Our folks have made some mistakes, and we have made some corrections," he said. "I think we will come through this."

(read entire story here)


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