From past campaigns to present, Beshear fails to satisfy voters

Column by Thomas Roberts

The Kentucky Democratic Party has never been known for memorable performances. Instead, the KDP has consistently been impotent on several fronts. From unimpressive fundraising to failing to knock off vulnerable Republicans in 2006 elections, the KDP consistently underperforms. Even the ultra-liberal blogger Mark Nickolas incessantly whined about the KDP’s incompetence, focusing heavily on the half-million dollars it had to borrow last year.

There is no reason to believe this tradition of poor performances will be broken this year. While early polls have shown Steve Beshear leading the governor race over incumbent Ernie Fletcher, the gap is closing. There is one question we must ask: Can Steve Beshear maintain an election?

To try to answer this question, let’s first look at Beshear’s last two races. In the 1987 Kentucky democratic primary for governor, voters correctly viewed Steve Beshear as being soft on the issues. Consequently, he failed to get out of the democratic primary for governor. Ironically enough, the issue that beat Beshear is gaming, specifically the lottery.

Not satisfied with one sound rejection, Beshear took another gamble and challenged U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in 1996. Once again, Beshear’s inability to perform resulted in his defeat by some 160,000 votes. If Beshear failed to maintain an election when he was 20 years younger, I have serious doubts about his current ability.

However, we need to look at this race for signs that Beshear has found the winning prescription. With underwhelming commercials espousing irrelevant issues, like Beshear singing in church, it is hard to imagine he is on target to perform now.

In addition to the lackluster advertisements, Beshear’s message is already going soft. Primary candidate Beshear advocated for casinos, mistakenly thinking they were going to be the little blue pill that would give Kentucky’s economy the stimulant he thinks it needs. Now Beshear is limping away from the issue. If Beshear cannot sustain his own position for more than four months, why should we believe he can maintain an election?

Maybe he should consult with his running mate, Dr. Dan Mongiardo. Then again, Dr. Dan doesn’t have a history of performing very well either. Dr. Dan failed to surmount a weakened and possibly senile incumbent who consistently made mistakes when he ran for Senate in 2004. A doctor who walks out on his patients will not be the boost Beshear needs to maintain his election.

Could the down-ticket democrat candidates be the lift Steve needs to maintain an election? Probably not. During his horrific Fancy Farm performance, Jack “Happy” Conway showed us all that he has trouble controlling his emotions. Conway even admitted to having serious issues. Maybe former Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig can see if he can’t smack the walls of a couple of bathroom stalls to find some spare change to give. I’d say this Duke grad isn’t an asset, but more of a drag.

The rest of the down-ticket candidates will not provide the boost Beshear needs to maintain this election. David Williams, the democratic commissioner of agriculture nominee, has regular legal troubles. As mayor of Pineville, Bruce Hendrickson, the Democratic secretary of state nominee, failed to satisfy his town of 2,000 people. His inability to win re-election as mayor is the sole reason he is running for secretary of state.

When thinking about whom to vote for this fall, remember the inability of the Democrats to perform. If they have trouble maintaining elections for a few months, how can we expect them to give a stellar performance in office for four years?

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