Beshear's pandering hypocrisy

Gov. Steve Beshear opened his State of the Commonwealth Address Tuesday night by lamenting "a national recession born of greed on Wall Street and reckless spending in Washington."

He went on to say, "Kentuckians are rightly disgusted by a federal government that defines fiscal management as the speed at which you can print money."

Then, Beshear started tooting his own horn on fiscal management, bragging about balancing the state budget "eight times in three years, slashing over a billion dollars in spending."

Excuse us if we don't rise to applaud such disingenuous — dare we say "hypocritical" — hogwash.

Beshear and the General Assembly managed to balance the budget the last three years solely because $3 billion of the "reckless spending in Washington" dropped into their laps in the form of the federal stimulus package Congress approved in an attempt to soften the blow of the worse economic collapse since the Great Depression.

Without it, the more than $1 billion "slashed" from spending during the past three years would have been more than $4 billion — which would have left Beshear and lawmakers with a choice between dismantling much of state government or leaving as their legacy one of the largest, if not the largest, tax increase in Kentucky history.

Of course, Beshear had a motive for biting the hand that fed him the past three years — not a good motive necessarily, but a motive nonetheless.

He's running for re-election, and he feels the need to separate himself from those liberal "Washington Democrats." Most notable among them, of course, is President Barack Obama, who ran poorly in the Bluegrass State in 2008 and might run even more poorly today.

With his verbal slap at Washington and his pandering to a coal industry that has devastated some of Kentucky's most scenic areas and polluted its rivers and streams, Beshear reduced the State of the Commonwealth Address to a campaign speech.

As a campaign speech, it contained a couple of good lines but failed to inspire. As a State of the Commonwealth Address, it was even more disappointing,