Friday, July 21, 2006

Fletcher Critic Gets History Wrong

In his column in yesterday's Lexington Herald-Leader, Ted Jackson, a proment critic of Gov. Ernie Fletcher, compared the current rebellion of Republican Party leaders against their own party's sitting governor to Reagan's opposition to Richard M. Nixon in 1976. Here are the words from his article:

In 1976, a Republican from California challenged a sitting Republican president, Richard M. Nixon, for their party's nomination. That man from California had concerns about the direction his fellow Republican was taking the party and the nation. No one could challenge his GOP credentials. Ronald Wilson Reagan had the right to ask the question, to spur the debate. That same debate must take place in Kentucky right now.

There's only one problem. Richard M. Nixon was not president in 1976. Nixon resigned in 1974. The Presidency was held at that time by Gerald Ford, Nixon's Vice President, who assumed office after Nixon's resignation.

Maybe that is why the reference mysteriously disappeared today on the Herald-Leader's website. The passage now reads without the reference to Nixon, although the print version contained it.

This error would be fairly unremarkable under normal circumstances. After all, we all make mistakes. But the error was made in an argument discussing Fletcher's alleged incompetence in office, and relies on the analogy he tries to draw from a challenge by Reagan of Nixon that never actually happened.

If you're arguing that someone else is incompetent, you'd better have your own house in order.

What are we to make of Republicans who question the competence of Gov. Fletcher who don't even know who the president of the United States was in 1976--particularly when the president was from their own Party?!!!

Jackson's problem is further exacerbated by the fact that his whole argument is based on a mistaken belief about who was president. His argument about Fletcher clearly assumes Nixon was president in 1976.

Maybe we should all be very concerned about the competence of the Republican Disloyalists sniping at their governor. Maybe their current leaders should think about stepping down and letting someone else run their little Rebellion.

Wait a minute. Haven't we heard this same argument somewhere before?


Anonymous said...

I think the error was on the Herald-Leader's part. The Courier-Journal printed the same piece and it was correct.

Martin Cothran said...

I would think that, since several people at the Herald-Leader get are on the e-mail list for this blog, they would have said something to me by now if this was the case. But I will try to confirm or disconfirm this with them. I have had many articles published with the Herald-Leader over the years, and they have actually caught a few errors in my own submissions and corrected them. They have been extremely gracious about this. But I just can't imagine them inserting something like this into an editorial submission. I think what likely happened is that the piece was submitted to both papers with the Nixon reference in it and that the Courier caught the mistake and the Herald didn't. But I'll let you know as soon as I have spoken with the Herald.

Anonymous said...

Rita Gatton said the mistake was hers.