Napoleon is reputed to have once said of something that was "worse than a sin; it was a mistake." I thought of that line as I was trying to fathom the political calculations of Kentucky's slots lobby.
Despite all the money this seemingly hard hit industry has to throw around, they are all but tone deaf on the politics of their situation. The errors they have made in pursuing their agenda are simply breathtaking.
First of all, there is the matter of the Governor. As has been pointed out in several news stories, had he been serious about this he would have stumped the state to ensure the passage of the slots bill. Instead, he did virtually nothing for it other than tag along for the ride. Okay, he put it on the call, but only hesitatingly, as an amendment the next day. What kind of signal does that send?
If I'm in the horse industry, I'm not looking to do anything to David Williams, I'm going after the Governor. David Williams has always been against expanded gambling. For him to fight it as he has is a no-brainer. That's what he's supposed to do. But to have the guy who's supposed be the leader of the slots effort hedging and hesitating is a far worse problem for slots than David Williams.
With friends like the Governor, the slots lobby doesn't need any enemies.
Second, let's talk about David Williams. The horse industry has blundered their way into an impossible situation with the Senate. From the start, KEEP has done nothing but alienate the one person would could have helped them. When they should have been trying to endear themselves to Williams so he at least wouldn't dislike them, they instead dumped money into Senate races to defeat Republican members. What is that?
When they added sleazy tactics to the mix and now ugly rhetoric, they really did themselves in. If I'm Williams (and I'm not), I'm now not only opposed to slots, I'm their mortal enemy. It's one thing to have an opponent who disagrees with you in principle, which Williams does with the slots lobby, but to do everything but spit in his face and poke him in the eye is just simply an inept political strategy. Why in the world would you do that? What is it going to get you?
The old Klingon proverb is appropriate here: "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." Instead, the slots lobby fumbles along, keeping friends it can afford to do without, and making enemies it can't afford to make.
I don't know who the commanding general is over there, but if I were running the slots effort, I'd send the guy to the Eastern front.
Wait, what am I saying? I hope they just keep on making the same mistakes.