When a planted notion or made-up-rumor gets said by more than three people it becomes a "they say," as in they say that Richie Farmer will run for lieutenant governor.
They say he is well on his way to learning how to spell "lieutenant" and is willing to do a no look and hand off to the Big Man.
I expect that since he was a little post-red neck in Clay County, Richie's burning desire in life has been to be Lt. Gov. and that at times his parents would catch him out behind the garage, doing nothing for hours at a time, practicing to be Lt. Gov.
It's easier to understand why Jerry Abramson would want a job more challenging than being mayor of Louisville. He might have gotten a tip from the present Lt. Gov. that the state helps Lt. Govs. buy land. In a pique from the peaks, the present Lt. Gov. made some sort of a statement about what he wouldn't do if the Senate nominee were on fire.
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I had that desire to be Lt. Gov. once but was edged out by Brereton Jones, who had just moved to Kentucky and switched from Republican to Democrat on the Ashland bridge coming in. We both came out against capital punishment, but later an angel came down, I think it was, and got Brereton to be for capital punishment. You can be for capital punishment and not do much of it if you are governor. Thank heavens for that.
My chances in November 1987 may have been affected by my promise that if I were Lt. Gov., the first time the real governor went to New Albany that I would empty out the prisons in a mass pardon ceremony like one of Rev. Sun Moon's weddings. That, and I was going to let ugly people cheerlead too.
That kind of political science is hard to market and marketing is what getting elected is all about. There are certain rules for being politically marketable in Kentucky and us old hands need to pass them on so that rich or poor, white or black can all meet their ambition to become Lt. Gov. Just follow these simple rules:
■ Jesus is the answer. If somebody asks you your favorite political role model, or your favorite person, or to name somebody who has had an influence on you, Jesus is the answer. You can't go wrong with this one. And now days you must end every speech with God Bless America, like you automatically say "love you too" into the cell phone before flipping her off.
■ You must make it absolutely clear that you will not appoint Mickey McCoy to any kind of board. Mickey McCoy from Inez is about the brightest, best and most courageous of the mountain people, so he don't get no boards. If people like him were appointed to the Board of Trustees of the University of Wildcat Coal, the brightest, best and most courageous of the flatlanders might bring back his papers.
■ You must either be real rich or be of sufficient value to the rich that they will fund your campaign. It is true that poor people have political opportunity in Kentucky, but only after they get rich. You simply do not see non-millionaires in politics, except maybe as a constable.
■ When asked how you will continue services and not raise taxes, act like a train went by and you didn't hear the end of the question. Tell them that if people lose enough money gambling that all our problems will be solved.
■ Kiss the ass of coal, whiskey and horses — and don't be afraid to be one.
Larry Webster is a Pikeville attorney.