Monday, February 21, 2005
A Bluegrass Blueprint to avoid a competition of ideas in favor of political dominance by wealthy interests:
First, Kentucky's powerbrokers formed a task force to figure out ways to whittle away at the state's campaign finance laws.
Next, State Senators Thayer and Denton introduced a bill --SB 112 -- which would kill the state's public financing for gubernatorial candidates.
Then, the State Senate voted down an amendment to SB 112 which would have required slates of candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor to participate in a public forum or debate in each congressional district within the state prior to each primary, runoff, and general election. God forbid candidates for governor have to go talk to the public.
Then, the State Senate voted 34-2 in favor of SB 112, sending the bill on to the House.
We can only predict what Big Money's little helpers will do next, but it will likely include House passage of SB 112 and an endorsement by the task force or its members (Secretary of State Grayson, for example, a staunch opponent of clean elections).
Many of the players who are trying to kill Kentucky's program of public financing for candidates are the same folks who refused to fund the program for the last election in 2003. Then they have the gall to say the program doesn't work.
What seems sure is that regular folks in the Bluegrass State can expect an uphill battle against the (task) forces of Big Money for their fair say in the political process.