Sunday, July 02, 2006

Herald-Leader Smears Lt. Gov. Pence

Becoming a McClatchy paper last week, if anything, has introduced the Lexington Herald-Leader Editorial Board to even more inanity (or insanity) than usual – and that’s saying a lot, since its degree of lunacy was already well along to the nth level. In an attempt to smear Lt. Gov. Pence in the July 2 edition, the paper indirectly but unmistakably made Ky. Attorney General Stumbo appear to be either unaware of reality or so patently partisan that he couldn’t be trusted to feed the dog.

The editorialists(s) at least implied that Pence, then a federal (not state) prosecutor, must have been attempting to sabotage then Lt. Gov. Henry’s gubernatorial aspirations in 2003 by nailing him for $412,000 worth of Medcare/Medicaid fraud, but let him settle for paying $162,000. In the same editorial, the paper called attention to the fact that a woman who pleaded guilty in May to $74,000 worth of Medicare/Medicaid embezzlements now faces up to 60 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine. In other words, Pence let Henry, a state official, off easy (sued him instead of charging him with a crime), while the current federal prosecutor threw the book at the lady, despite the huge disparity in the charges.

The matters mentioned above involved federal felonies. By contrast with Pence’s treatment of Henry, Stumbo, instead of allowing the alleged Merit System matters to go before the proper personnel agency in order for the aggrieved employees to be made well, indicted a host of Kentucky officials, including the governor, on state misdemeanors…wrist-slappers at best and replicated – without due process – in democrat administrations since time immemorial. In other words, Stumbo actually did damage Fletcher, a state official, for reasons that seem entirely obvious, since he has said he would consider running for the governor’s seat next year only if Fletcher became unpopular. He obviously has done everything in his power to make the governor unpopular, but he’ll be the paper’s boy if he runs, no matter how this stinks.

This unintended consequence – the comparison of the two matters – apparently never registered with the editorialists, whose only aim in life since 2003 has been to deep-six Fletcher, the first republican in over 30 years to gain the governor’s chair. McClatchy Boy Columnist (aka Larry Keeling) is still carrying on about the door Fletcher had built between two offices in the Capitol building years ago, this affair seemingly as ominous as the expose of the New York Times regarding the work of the NSA, which, of course, has been perfectly legal and has helped forestall any further terrorist attacks in this country since 9/11. When he isn’t railing about the infamous door, Boy Columnist wails about the unfairness of a Constitutional provision that disallows men to marry each other…so, the McClatchey folks may wonder pretty soon just what drives this Editorial Board.

Even sillier in the July 2 edition was the banner headline on the front page, with letters nearly an inch tall: Fletcher’s investments tied to a select group. There followed reams of columns of ramblings and pictures, including most of the front page and half of page 12, that meant absolutely nothing, suggested no criminal acts, and wound up with a quote by – of all people – Democrat Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan to the effect that the governor has a right to do just what he did. The editors at the paper knew the public wouldn’t read or care about all this stuff, but the headline was tailored to taint the governor. Okay…it’s summer time and the news business is slow…but between the editorialists and the “reporters,” the H-L gave a new meaning to irrelevance in the July 2 edition.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

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