CommunityPam's House Blend

Kentucky's bigoted governor's in a heap of trouble

A NYT article notes that Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher is an ordained minister, a family doctor and a former fighter pilot.

He’s also a politician in a heap of trouble — he’s dragging the state GOP into the toilet. Pols in his party are running for cover.

A year ago, after being accused of illegally forcing Democrats out of state Civil Service jobs and giving the jobs to political loyalists, Mr. Fletcher, a Republican, dismissed the charges as little worse than noodling in March. (Noodling is legal only from June 1 to Aug. 31.)

But 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 charges against Mr. Fletcher — conspiracy, official misconduct and political discrimination — were brought on May 11. The 14 other members of his administration who have been indicted are charged with a total of 23 felonies and 60 misdemeanors for, among other things, criminal conspiracy and evidence tampering. In August 2005, Mr. Fletcher issued a blanket pardon protecting everyone in his administration but himself from prosecution.

Fletcher, you might recall, celebrated ‘diversity day’ in his state by cutting gays from anti-bias law, citing the inclusion of transgender protection was the problem — his spokesbot Brett Hall said “These types of special privileges are not only difficult to comply with, but it’s very expensive,” Hall said, saying it could lead to lawsuits or require the state to build additional restrooms.

The kicker is that Fletcher then gave a speech to students on Diversity Day, saying “It is our diversity that gives us strength.”

So these developments couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

Hat tip, Holly.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding