Editorials

You call that gubernatorial?

Senate President David Williams presides in the Senate chamber on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011 on the opening day of the legislative session at the Capitol in Frankfort, Ky.  Photo by David Perry | Staff
Senate President David Williams presides in the Senate chamber on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011 on the opening day of the legislative session at the Capitol in Frankfort, Ky. Photo by David Perry | Staff

Any session of the Kentucky General Assembly produces generous doses (overdoses?) of political theatrics. But with a Republican Senate president making a run at unseating an incumbent Democratic governor this year, the session now underway in Frankfort could set new records for pandering, posturing and pomposity.

And the audience — Kentucky voters — won't have to wait long for the show to begin.

Senate President David Williams plans to have the upper chamber act on several of his campaign platform planks, otherwise known as the Senate Republicans' agenda, this week.

This hasty approach to enacting laws may make for good political show biz, but it is lousy public policy. Even the good elements of this agenda, notably stronger campaign finance rules, deserve proper vetting before members of the Senate are forced to vote on them — vetting that includes adequate time for public input.

And by rushing to pass a pandering piece of legislation, such as an immigration bill patterned after the Arizona law now being challenged in federal court, Williams brings into question his qualifications and competence to be governor.

This far-reaching measure has serious fiscal implications for state and local governments and may well impede law enforcement in Kentucky rather than enhance it. Calling a floor vote on it without a thorough discussion of those consequences is a disservice to Williams' colleagues in the Senate as well as to voters.

Of course, Williams knows several of the bills he plans to act on this week are not likely to win approval in the Democratic-controlled House. That's what makes his rush to judgment this week so cynical. It's all an act of political showmanship he hopes will make him look gubernatorial.

In reality, though, opportunistic grandstanding that precludes thoughtful deliberation on issues is the last thing this state needs in a governor.

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