Sunday, February 17, 2008

Yes, He's From Kentucky, But Thank Goodness He's Not A Republican

We thought no one could do anything more embarrassing for Kentucky's national image than when Gov. Fletcher buzzed the nation's capitol in the state airplane at President Reagan's funeral. But now members of the newly energized Kentucky Democratic Party, on many different levels, are trying to one-up him.

Today's Washington Times highlights one of the more prominent initiatives in this regard:

If the First Amendment had eyes, last week's news from Kentucky would be two thumbs jammed right in them. State Rep. Jim Gooch, a Democrat who chairs Kentucky's House Natural Resources and Environment Committee, wants editorialists and political cartoonists to register in Frankfort as lobbyists. The powerful Mr. Gooch, a favorite target of Kentucky opinion writers, is aggrieved to be depicted as a tool of mining interests as he opposed a coal-mine safety bill. One cartoon showed him basking in a hot tub with King Coal.

Not that Mr. Gooch thinks that opinion writers and editors are just another interest group seeking favor. That regrettable viewpoint would be merely wrongheaded and unconstitutional. No — Mr. Gooch's attack on the First Amendment is much more frontal. He calls the actions of editorial writers and cartoonists who lampoon him "beyond lobbying. [It's] almost extortion."

"It's almost as if they want to silence you," Mr. Gooch complained of his opinion-page critics, seemingly unaware of the irony. "They want to hurt your credibility. They do it by either trying to make you look stupid or corrupt."

Don't worry, Mr. Gooch, we Kentuckians don't believe you are corrupt, and we don't need editorial writers and cartoonists to know that your proposal is stupid. Unfortunately, the rest of America knows that now too.

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