At first blush, it appeared that the main editorial on July 29 in the Lexington Herald-Leader would cover something besides the so-called “hiring scandal” in Frankfort. The subject was the unthinkable notion that the state needs to significantly upgrade its fleet of aircraft, never mind that in a news article of the day before there ran an account in the H-L of the state’s fleet, averaging between 32 and 34 years in age. Alas, in the next-to-last paragraph – right out of the blue, as they say – the editorialist threw in this line: “That hiring scandal's not going away, Governor.” That’s all…no connection with any part of the subject at hand. That line constituted the whole paragraph. So…maybe the hiring thing is losing a bit of its sting, and the paper is, albeit somewhat behind the curve, beginning to realize that most folks read about the terrible scandal, yawn, mumble something about business as usual and let it go at that.
The paper can’t seem to understand that the air fleet is getting a bit long in the tooth. Indeed, it’s doubtful that anyone on the editorial staff drives a car that’s even 20 years old (on solid ground), much less one as old as the 34-year-old plane (10,000 feet up) that, because of faulty equipment, was flown into restricted Washington, D.C., airspace last year. More’s the pity for the Transportation Department, since its plane is 39 years old, probably older than some of the editorialists.
The editorialist heaved and groaned and did the usual resuscitation maneuver in order to come up with this profound truth: “Voters might get the idea that the perks and patronage that come with being governor matter more to you [Fletcher] than the responsibilities.” So…for no discernible reason, the writer goes right back to the point that actually drives the paper’s editorialists/philosophy, to wit, that a republican won the guv’s seat in 2003. It’s the same mentality as that of Senators Durbin, Kennedy, Schumer, Biden and their ilk with regard to the Roberts SCOTUS nomination – sheer hatred of Bush and resolve to hurt him because he won again in 2004. Disgusting! They couldn’t care less about Roberts or the SCOTUS…they just hate Bush at all costs. The H-L, as well as the Louisville Courier-Journal, just hate Fletcher at all costs.
The editorialist threw in the usual red herring – education, never mind that under democrat governors and legislatures (republican senate, however, since ’98) in the 90s right through 2003, education improvement didn’t happen under the Education Reform Act of 1990; indeed, education has been tanking in the state since then, no matter how much money has been thrown at it. Fletcher inherited a state in virtual bankruptcy and has refused to throw dollars at that which obviously is not working. Until the state Department of Education is relieved of the social-engineering baggage and idiotic entities cursed into existence in 1990, such as the Family and Youth Service Centers and the School-based Councils, throwing more money at the system is foolish. The F&YSCs drain millions from the system for social services not connected to education, while the SBCs have helped throw districts into academic chaos.
As for the planes…what’s wrong with securing a new plane that, considering the extant situation with regard to the age of the fleet, could be expected to require minimum maintenance in the short term but last for at least 25 years, long-term? A lot of people would call it smart business-sense to make that kind of investment. Considering the barrels of pork that the legislature routinely uses to grease the skids for anything that slides through Frankfort, this is chicken-feed…but it makes great cannon fodder for sharp editorialists with a quite recognizable agenda, namely, get even with Fletcher and the repubs in the state senate for just breathing.
And so it goes.