Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dyche on Beshear

Excerpts from John David Dyche's op-ed in today's C-J on Beshear's speech-- with a critique similar to that of the C-J editorialists the other day...

Gov. Steve Beshear's State of the Commonwealth speech Monday night was the mildest, most uninspiring plea for "bold action" ever made. With more than 20 years to prepare, was that the best he could do?

In his inaugural address about a month ago, Beshear spoke generally of broad themes that will animate his administration. So what did he do in his second chance to speak directly to Kentucky? He spoke generally about broad themes that will animate his administration.

It was a "pleasant" little talk, as state Senate President David Williams correctly commented. But Kentucky confronts unpleasant times, and the moment cried out for something much more bracing. We got a perfunctory gubernatorial handshake when we needed a slap in the face.

Despite polite post-speech comments, Democratic disappointment was palpable. What good is a landslide mandate if the man who won it is too timid to dare use it? Beshear will never have more political capital than he had Monday, but he squandered some of it then.

Invoking the buzz words and trendy phrases of today's business and political lexicons, Beshear said Kentucky needs "a top-to-bottom infusion of imagination." But he is the top! And based on this pedestrian performance, he needs an immediate transfusion of imagination to cure his apparent anemia of ambition and tired political blood....

Conventional wisdom claims Beshear will govern boldly because he harbors no hopes of higher office and thus has nothing to lose. After Monday, there is no factual basis for believing either part of this facile formulation....

Beshear inexplicably breached faith with voters by saying nothing about expanded gambling, the main policy plank of his campaign platform....

This columnist makes no claim to comprehend the curious ways the Democratic mind works. Maybe Beshear shrewdly disdains public oratory and can do great things via backroom deals. Otherwise, he badly blew part two in the trilogy of speeches Kentucky's new governors give.


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