Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jake the Greek he's not: Why Page One has the House leadership race wrong

Jake at Page One Kentucky says he's polled "nearly every legislator in Kentucky" on who he is going to vote for for Speaker. Well, now that tells us something, doesn't it? Any outsider who thinks he can call "nearly every legislator in Kentucky" and get an honest answer as to who they are going to vote for in a leadership race has the same problem as Jody Richards: he doesn't know how to count votes.

Talk to the insiders, Jake. Three weeks ago, Stumbo had thirty committed votes and there were ten other ones ready to commit that he hadn't even asked yet--and that's not 30 out of 100 House members, that's 30 out of 67 or so Democrats. The leadership elections are decided in the Democratic caucus.

There is a slate that has developed, which includes Stumbo, Damron, Clark, and Thompson. Jody himself helped bring this about by taking the politically inept action of backing Joni Jenkins in the pro tem race. Bad idea. This slate has more committee chairmanships to give away than Richards does, since he is protecting current chairs, which gives them a natural advantage.

Also take a look at what happened in the 22nd House district: The Speaker of the confounded House couldn't get his own candidate nominated in the race! That's a signal to every House member where this thing is going.

Richards almost caused his membership to be completely hung out to dry last session. He had them vote for a tax increase, and then an austere budget on the assurance that they would be able to get projects back. And the only thing that bailed them out was Stumbo going around the backs of an incompetent leadership to make a deal with Williams to salvage a few projects. The members of the caucus know who the leader is.

Stumbo showed leadership, and Jody didn't. I'm surprised there are enough chickens in Kentucky to produce the amount of egg on Richard's face over the last year.

Heck, I shouldn't have to tell Jake this: it's his party, not mine. But Jake doesn't need to worry. We're going to help him through this process.

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