Bluegrass Politics: Say what?

With less than five weeks until the election, it’s that time when politicians will make whatever comments they feel will assist their electoral efforts,
and not necessarily those they intend to live up to.
So, over the past few days, I sifted through hundreds of old posts on my blog, pulling out those quotable gems of our esteemed political leaders over the past year, or those that have came back to bite them.

Here’s a sampling to keep in mind when thinking about whom you intend to support in the coming election:
• “If you only hired the most qualified people, how will our people ever get hired?”—Dave Disponett, adviser to Gov. Ernie Fletcher, in documents discovered during the Merit System investigation.
• “F**k no, he’s not going to resign.” —Fletcher spokesman Brett Hall, when asked if the governor intended to resign over the investigation. However, within days, Hall was forced to resign over his public choice of words.
• “Our main objective is to seek the truth, the unvarnished truth.” —Gov. Fletcher in the days after the Merit System investigation unfolded last year.
• “Women are mainly mothers and have their own careers, so it’s kind of hard to find someone who would be effective.” —Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan earlier this year, on why the slot for a female vice chairman had gone unfilled.
• “The war in Iraq has been an extremely successful undertaking.” —U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) earlier this year in remarks in Pikeville.
• “I don’t want to entice any of those people into our state. Those are the wrong kind of people.” —State Rep. Richard Roeding (R) on same-sex couples, following the decision by the University of Louisville to offer domestic partner benefits.
• “Things like that are not going to happen in a Fletcher-Pence administration.” —Lt. Gov. Steve Pence during the 2003 campaign, responding to a question about then-Gov. Paul Patton’s decision to pardon four political aides before trial.
• “The joke in the Republican Party is that if you gave him a choice of A, B or C, with C being the worst choice, he’d choose C every time.” —Jefferson County Republican Party Chairman Jack Richardson, illustrating the discontent among Republicans over the leadership of Gov. Fletcher.
• “In my opinion, he’s guilty of a fraud on the public. He ran his entire campaign on the theme of cleaning up the mess in Frankfort … what they’ve done is use everything in their power to replace one old-boy network with a new one.” —U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler (D) on Gov. Fletcher, his 2003 gubernatorial opponent.
• “I want state employees to know they now work in an atmosphere where this administration will take action when they come forward to report allegations of wrongdoing.” —Gov. Fletcher  in remarks to state employees not long after taking office.
• “I am qualified to run for this, as I was for the state Senate, even though some people don’t agree with that.” —2004 candidate Senate Dana Seum Stephenson (R) referring to “some people” being the Kentucky Supreme Court that ruled the Indiana resident ineligible to hold a Kentucky state Senate seat.
• “The biggest threat of terrorism is from terrorists themselves.” —U.S. Rep. Anne Northup (R) demonstrating her grasp of the war on terror in an interview with WHAS-TV’s Mark Hebert.
• “How about Ernie Fletcher? Here’s a man who in almost seven years in public office has yet to pass a single piece of legislation, who tells you that the state Constitution is for everybody — but him — to obey.” —Former State Rep. Bob Heleringer (R) offering his prescient thoughts during the 2003 gubernatorial primary campaign.
• “Your comments, frankly, are despicable, dishonorable, uninformed, unhistorical, anti-intellectual and, frankly, un-American.” —U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis (R) on those demanding a plan and timetable in Iraq.
• “You put those bitches on there. Make sure you tell Tim that they are — they are our enemies.” —Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert, in evidence discovered during the Merit System investigation, where he ordered several female workers to be put on the so-called “hit list” of employees they intended to terminate.
• “I got the call when I was already at Disney World. So immediately after that I rode Space Mountain with my 12-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter.” —Lt. Governor Pence, after learning Gov. Fletcher had transferred power to him just before going into surgery earlier this year.

Mark Nickolas is publisher of Kentucky’s most widely read political blog, Contact him at [email protected]