Wordy casino amendment won’t save governor’s reputation

It’s great to know actions have consequences. As we saw just last week, Gov. Steve Beshear’s supposed political capital and his approval among Kentuckians is sinking. In fact, between Jan. 7 and Feb. 5, Beshear’s approval rating dropped from 62 percent to 52 percent while his disapproval rating rose from 27 percent to 38 percent, according to SurveyUSA polls. I have no reason to believe this trend will subside any time soon.

I have to wonder why Beshear’s stock is sinking so quickly. Maybe it is because of disappointment from young people and those enlightened Ph.D.s who are getting screwed thanks to his cuts in higher education. On second thought, that category can be expanded to include the teachers, teachers unions and superintendents who supported Beshear in the election but are now being told they will not receive their promised raises. Then again, it could be attributed to the displeasure of older people who will suffer from budget cuts to human services. Of course, come to think of it, it could be caused by dissatisfaction among state employees who are still waiting to hear Beshear’s promised plan to fix their insolvent retirement accounts. Still yet, it could be from the frustration of religious leaders who are opposed to bringing casinos into Kentucky.

One group that may still support Beshear, however, is a group that cannot even vote for him. I’m talking about prisoners. The governor has made it clear he has no inclination to solve the problems Kentucky faces with overcrowded prisons and jails. But, fellow Wildcats, rest easy knowing that we spend more money per prisoner in this state than we do per student.

I expect Beshear’s popularity will further decline since he finally unveiled his proposal to allow casinos in Kentucky. For those of you who missed the wordy ballot proposal, it went something like this: Are you in favor of increased funding for education, fully funding the tooth fairy, funding a program to help old ladies cross the street, funding a program to really find out why the chicken crossed the road, and funding my Las Vegas friends’ pockets with your losses at their businesses, by allowing casino gambling in the wonderful Commonwealth of Kentucky? Kinda catchy, huh?

After you read the first few lines you are ready to vote for the proposal without reading the rest. Nice try, Governor. Even the House Democratic leadership went into a huddle to figure out what to do with the amendment. I don’t think they should even waste their time. This bill will be lucky to pass the House. In fact, Beshear would be lucky if it did not pass the House. Because if by chance his casino bill makes it to the Senate, it will face a very public, very messy death. With just barely half of Kentuckians supporting him now, Beshear really can’t afford another political loss so soon. Of course, if you look at Beshear’s political record in the past 20 years, losing is something he should be quite accustomed to.

On a side note, Secretary of State Trey Grayson will be at the next UK College Republicans meeting. The meeting will be Tuesday at 8 p.m. on the third floor of the Commons Market. If you are interested in hearing what Grayson has to say, I hope to see you at the meeting.

Thomas Roberts is the chairman of UK College Republicans. E-mail [email protected]