Dec. 22, 2010 — FRANKFORT - We’ve all had our fill of politics, right? It’s Christmas, so let’s have some fun by offering gift wishes for some politicians. It’s all in good humor, hoping to elicit a smile, no harm intended.
I’d offer Gov. Steve Beshear free lessons from Paul Patton on how to get along with lawmakers from his own party. Patton could also help with Republicans (not named David Williams) but there’s not enough time before the next General Assembly. Beshear dreams of fundraising sugar plums, but winning over lawmakers from his party won’t hurt his re-election chances.
Williams, who wants Beshear’s job, needs a little girl in his life – one who will invite him to a proper tea party. I know from experience when my daughter was small, such tea parties teach patience and diplomacy, even a bit of humility. As a bonus, he’d get some actual tea party credentials.
Mitch McConnell gets an abacus. The man who reads polls and counts votes better than anyone seems to lose track when the numbers get really big. He lambasts Barack Obama for deficit spending – then brokers a tax cut extension that adds more to the federal deficit than the economic stimulus or the TARP bank bailout. He also needs a very large net as he herds those Republican cats, some of whom seem drunk on catnip – or is it spiked tea?
I wouldn’t know what to offer Hal Rogers now that he’s been named chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the only gift he really wanted. But in that job, he’ll find some things he likes and ways to keep UNITE, PRIDE and other programs in the Fifth District going strong.
Rand Paul gets the complete works of Ayn Rand and Frederick Hayek. Oh, you say he’s already read them? Then how about a copy of John David Dyche’s biography of Mitch McConnell: Republican Leader? Afterwards, he can consult with Dyche on how members of Delta Kappa Epsilon (Dekes) put youthful college indiscretions behind them, rising to positions of power and influence. Four Dekes – two named Bush – became president and others play key roles in Kentucky.
Jack Conway gets Jon Meacham’s book: American Gospel: God, The Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. Maybe two of his political mentors, Patton and Crit Luallen, can offer him advice on campaign managers and media consultants.
If you’re looking for gift ideas for Kentucky’s Speaker of the House, Greg Stumbo, he’s partial to customized cowboy boots for himself and ankle bracelets for offenders. The question is what seal to put on the boots – Speaker of the House is the current fashion but he sometimes dreams of another seal just as Williams does. Stumbo, Williams and Beshear could all use new Passport photos in their stockings.
Phil Moffett gets Paul’s fundraising list. I’d expunge all of Gatewood Galbraith’s public comments on marijuana. So long as those follow him, the public doesn’t seem disposed to take him seriously which is a shame because he has thoughtful ideas about Kentucky’s persistent problems. I’d give Otis Hensley his theme park, a new bull, and contentment with his life outside of politics.
The gift I most would like to give is beyond my means. I wish for the people of Kentucky real visionary political leadership. We’ve had it in the past: Happy Chandler’s first administration, Earle Clements, Bert Combs, Louie Nunn, John Sherman Cooper, Walter Baker and others. We need leaders like them more than ever.
And for you, gentle reader, peace and goodwill. Merry Christmas.
RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.