Frankfort beware: the public gets it

Perhaps it's no coincidence that it was a wise Kentucky native, Abraham Lincoln, who commented that you can't fool all the people all the time.

Two national news stories prove the truth of Lincoln's adage and might serve as a warning for self-absorbed politicians here in the Bluegrass State as they bicker over an ever-diminishing reservoir of public trust.

Despite the best efforts of well-funded lobbies, spin-meisters and disingenuous politicians, the public eventually gets the drift.

For coal-favoring Kentucky politicians (is there any other kind?) who have balanced perilously on the fence about climate change despite overwhelming scientific evidence, a recent poll suggests you should just give it up if you think you're fooling voters.

A poll released Wednesday showed that two-thirds of those surveyed believe recent extreme weather has been caused by global warming and that human activities are a primary cause of that warming.

A very different kind of public opinion barometer was the shareholders' vote this week to deny Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit a $15 million payday. According to the New York Times, shareholders turn down executive pay packages only about 2 percent of the time.

Observers said these rejections may become more common, though, as shareholders tire of seeing executives richly rewarded while profits and stock prices languish.

In Kentucky, facts and experiences mount up on one side while elected leaders look the other way.

Although employment has improved, too much of it is in low-paying service and retail jobs. Cheap electricity carries with it huge environmental and health costs. Political cronies and family members get cushy, well-paid state jobs while hard-working nobodies struggle. New ashpalt is abundant in the home districts of leaders of the parties in power but dangerous roads go untended.

As Lincoln said, you can and you have, fooled all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but don't think you're home free.

So, please pass a road budget and quit trying to pave your own backyards or psychoanalyze your opponents.

And keep in mind another Lincoln aphorism: "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."