October 12, 2011

Whoever talks next loses

A buddy of mine is fond of the expression “whoever talks next loses.” He believes in keeping his mouth shut at pivotal moments during business deals and other high-stakes negotiations, such as those with his wife.

 

Gov. Steve Beshear obviously understands this principle, because he has been mostly mute during his reelection campaign, and the silent treatment seems to be paying off handsomely. The less he talks, the greater his lead in the polls. Which can mean only one thing: People really like it when Steve Beshear shuts up.

Count me in that group. Some commenters are bashing Beshear for hiding from the issues, but I salute his approach. Not because I think it’s a clever, time-tested way for the frontrunner to win an election, but because when Beshear talks, a teensy bit of vomit tends to back up into my mouth.

Fortunately, this rarely happens because the governor is nowhere to be found, for which I feel we all owe him a debt of gratitude. In fact, if, like all civilized people, you have a quick trigger finger on the TV remote, you might not even know there is a governor’s race going on. How awesome is that?

Besides, all three candidates in this year’s race have been pulverizing us with platitudes since the ’80s, so it’s not hard to guess what Beshear would be saying if he weren’t so busy shutting up. (Hint: He loves coal, guns, God and the good people of Kentucky, for whom he is hard at work finding jobs.)

Here’s how red Kentucky is: Democratic Gov. Beshear is pro-coal, pro-big-business, pro-death penalty, pro-NASCAR and pro-Noah’s Ark. In Kentucky, this is what is known as a “liberal.” Fortunately for him, his opposing candidates are cartoon characters. He’s running against one guy who sounds like he must be completely stoned at all times and also Gatewood Galbraith.

The Republican candidate, Sen. David Williams, wants to “take back Kentucky,” specifically back to the antebellum era, safely before education equality, renewable energy and open homosexuality were invented. To his detriment, Williams, who has the charm of a sinus infection, tends to come off a bit crabby on camera, which makes for entertaining television, especially if you were never traumatized by a drunk uncle at Thanksgiving dinner and really wonder what you missed. Williams’ original campaign slogan, “Don’t Make Me Come Over There and Knock Your Heads Together,” was dismissed by conservatives as too namby-pamby, so the campaign went with “David Williams — Because Kentucky Needs a Dick” instead. Nevertheless, he still trails badly in the polls.

A recent Courier-Journal/WHAS 11 Bluegrass poll showed that 57 percent of voters support Beshear, while 84 percent said they would “rather roll around naked in poison ivy while making out with David Spade” than vote for Williams. That kind of margin could be hard to overcome by November. With Beshear commanding such an insurmountable lead, it’s tempting to not even vote. But who could resist the chance to vote against Williams? It would be like passing up a chance to vote against humidity.

Independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith, who is against mountaintop-removal mining and for medical marijuana, might seem like a good, common-sense candidate, but his pandering to the Tea Party on taxes and his conservative views on other issues put him all over the ideological map. Galbraith calls himself “a Barry Goldwater conservative” in one breath and in the rapid-fire near-hip-hop next breath decries “petrochemical pharmaceutical military industrial transnational corporate fascist elite SOBs.”

As a world-class freak show, Galbraith is possibly even more entertaining than Williams. In a YouTube conversation with conspiracy nutjob Alex Jones of Infowars about how to hit on women at Wendy’s (Google it if you dare), Galbraith said, “I’m at that age where the girl, the mother and the grandmother all look good to me.” It could be the year’s top “ick” moment, other than everything that comes out of David Williams’ mouth.

So I’m tempted to vote for Galbraith, just for the entertainment factor. You’ve got to admit it would be awesome to smell weed wafting from the governor’s mansion in Frankfort during the annual Christmas tree lighting and open house.

But if there’s one thing that can trump an entertaining governor, it’s a governor you never hear from at all, so my vote will probably go to Beshear. Besides, Williams and Galbraith can’t bring themselves to shut up. And whoever talks next loses.