After completely screwing up their effort to pass casino gambling in Kentucky, proponents of SB 151, which was soundly defeated on the floor of the State Senate on Thursday in a decisive 21-16 vote, are blaming David Williams for the loss of their bill.
First, Gov. Beshear announces that he's going have the bill out early. He then waits until weeks into the session to introduce the bill. Then, the bill he introduced was so bad that he had to announce the very same day that he was going to have to make changes. Then he makes changes which did absolutely nothing to correct the problems with the bill.
Meanwhile the Governor's own lobbying seemed almost non-existent. And the media campaign was only launched days before the vote.
Look, folks, the effort to pass this bill couldn't have been worse if they were trying to lose it. In fact, the more I look at the facts, the more I think maybe Beshear was trying to kill his own gambling effort. The man has collected campaign cash from expanded gambling advocates for years. But does he really care about their issue?
Here's a fact that I cannot explain without assuming that Beshear tried to do in his own bill. The bill is in committee, and it was known by insiders before the bill got there that they had the votes to get it out. I had it 6-5. It passed out 7-4, although one Democrat reserved the right to vote against it on the floor, which he ended up doing.
Now think about this. Unless Beshear was just completely incompetent (which is not out of the realm of possibility), why, knowing that you didn't have the votes on the floor--a fact which everyone close to the process knew, would you want that bill out of committee and on its way to the floor for what you had to know would be, and, in fact, turned out to be, a crushing defeat?
Why wouldn't you want to keep it in committee for another week or two and wait for your media campaign (which was only launched last week) to take effect, and give yourself time to improve your position?
They knew the bill was in trouble. Why would they push it out knowing that the bill didn't have the votes and knowing that the Republicans knew it didn't have the votes? If you knew a defeat on the floor would doom your bill for the session, why would you do this?
Did Steve Beshear sabotage his own bill?
This was either one of the stupidest political moves I've seen in my years in Frankfort--or it was intentional.
All you advocates of SB 151 out there, you need to have a serious sit down with your boy. You need to ask him why this was handled the way it was. You need to ask him why this bill was pushed out of committee for what he had to have known was certain defeat on the floor.
If he starts to blither and his eyes start to roll in their sockets, you will have one of the two possible answers: the man is in need of full time political care. But if he seems lucid and tries to tell you that he did the best he could to get your bill through, then you will know you've been taken.
Beshear has grown fat on your campaign cash for years now and this is what you get? If I were you, I would ask for my money back.