Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fletcher may put domestic partner benefits on call for special session

The Courier-Journal reports today that Robbie Rudolf, the Governor's running mate, announced during last night's lieutenant governor's debate that the administration is considering putting the issue of domestic partner benefits on the call for a special session. This has to be a signal that administration, in fact, intends to do just that. To say it in and then not do it would, of course, be a very bad political move and open them up to withering criticism from their primary opponents.

To include the issue on the session call would solidify the administration's support among its conservative base and put the Democrats in a dilemma: either support the bill and divide their party, or oppose the bill and turn off conservative Kentucky voters. In either case, it would endanger Democratic prospects for the fall.

The timing of the announcement is interesting coming as it does on the eve of UK's Board of Trustee's meeting where the University is expected to approve a domestic partner benefits plan. It is doubtful to have an effect on UK's decision, since the ideologues at the university who are pressing Todd to do this probably don't care much about the larger political ramifications of their actions.

You have to wonder, however, what is going on in the back of Todd's mind. Even the Hollow Men recognize the political consequences of their actions. He--and U of L's Ramsey--value a good relationship with legislative leaders, and this issue could torpedo that. Already there are said to be strained relations with Senate President David Williams over the issue. Now the Democrats are about to be caught in the crossfire. Politically, there is only a downside to the universities' actions on this.

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