Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Letting experience teach Jake a lesson on how not to analyze a leadership race

Jake over at Page One Kentucky is saying mean things about me again--nay, even obscene things. But I will refrain from such indiscretions. I will simply offer a few observations about some things Jake said this past year. How about this one:
"Greg Stumbo is in for a rude awakening if he thinks he has enough votes to oust Jody Richards as Speaker of the House." --Jake, Page One, August 25, 2008
I pointed out to Jake at the time that Stumbo was going to beat Jody because Jody didn't know how to count votes. Jake didn't take the advice too well, lapsing, as he did today, into course vulgarities. But what do we hear people saying now? That Jody didn't know how to count votes. Jody even admits it now. How do I know this? Because it is on Jake's blog! Oh, the irony.

In fact, on August 27, in response to my constructive critique of his analysis, Jake responded:
Yo, Marty Cothran: No, Greg Stumbo doesn’t have the votes he needs. I’ve polled nearly every legislator in Kentucky. --Jake, Page One, August 27, 2008
He said he could "prove it"--that Jody had the votes, that is. To this I patiently responded, in a post called "How not to count votes," as follows:
He is still apparently under the impression that he's a better vote counter than Stumbo because he has gone around asking reps where they are on it and they're telling him they're not committed.

Well, let's just say the first thing a lobbyist learns (and I've been one for 17 years) is that you can't trust what a legislator tells you. You can't lie to them, but they can and will lie to you with impunity. Some day we'll give Jake a primer on how such things work. But for now, we're just going to let experience teach him a little lesson.
But Jake found some sand in which to bury his somewhat confused head: "Greg has at best 16 votes and he has openly admitted in the press that he knows he does not have the votes to win. So let’s deal with those facts, sweet cheeks..."

Ahem. We will ignore that last indiscreet reference and the ones that followed in his post and point out that the experience has happened. Jake got it ... how can we say this in a measured way? ... completely and utterly wrong.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at a situation in which Jody Richards, who tells everyone else what they want to hear--and what he wants to believe, says he has a certain level of support, and in which Greg Stumbo, whose political abilities are beyond compare, say he has the same level of support and conclude that you should place your money on the latter. If Jody had 10, he'd say he had 20. If he had 20, he'd say he had 30. When Stumbo says he's got thirty, he's got thirty.

There's also the matter of how the two men operate. No one is scared of Jody. Everyone is scared of Stumbo. Lying to Jody and telling him you support him--and then not voting for him--costs you very little. Doing the same to Stumbo will result in a new office assignment--the broom closet down the hall--and banishment to the Plumbing Affairs Committee, the committee to which, after Stumbo is ensconced in his new position, all of the legislation you sponsor will be assigned. As one lobbyist put it, "Who would you rather not lie to?"

Now I'd probably better make it clear (again) that I was not supporting Stumbo in the race (nor was I supporting Jody)--a point which Jake seemed not to understand a month or two back. In fact, here I am, spokesman for Say No Casino, directly confronting the new Speaker on what could turn out to be the major issue of the 2009 session.

No, I was simply trying to administer a dose of reality to Page One, which bills itself as "an informed savvy take on Kentucky politics." But you would have thought I had suggested castor oil.

I'm now thinking maybe I should have.


Anonymous said...

Governor Burns now has his House dream team..a hack from Louisville and Greg's hillbilly all star team. Western Kentucky must feel great about this. How did it go for Beshear's boy Newberry in that Senate race? FEAR.

Anonymous said...

One good thing about Stumbo's victory is that Harry Moberly will be out as A and R dictator.

Anonymous said...

It's hard not to be intimidated by Stumbo. He once had his own police force and invisible guys drive him around from bars.