Saturday, March 17, 2007

Unbridled Walk Home

Unbridled Walk Home

“These boots are made for walking. That’s just what they’ll do. One of these days these boots are going to walk all over you.”

-Nancy Sinatra

I wrote The Unbridled World of Ernie Fletcher. Although the book is somewhat critical of Kentucky’s governor, the last chapter says he will get re-elected.

I need to rewrite that chapter. He is not going to make it.

It is difficult to beat an incumbent Kentucky Governor. Due to the incumbent’s ability to raise money and command the media spotlight, it is seemingly impossible for him/her to lose.

Ernie Fletcher is proving me wrong.

In the past, I’ve stuck to my re-election prediction in numerous media appearances. In spite of his indictments, pardons, noodling, and having spent tax dollars on his dog, I’ve clung to the idea that Fletcher would walk into a second term.

Then I saw his television commercial.

If you have not seen it, you need to. The producers spent a lot of money but accomplish absolutely nothing.

Expect to make Fletcher a laughingstock.

It shows a child walking past playground bullies and then later growing up to become Governor Ernie Fletcher

Who is this commercial trying to appeal to? People who got beaten up by playground bullies?

I was beaten up by playground bullies in the second grade. How did I solve it? I had a growth spurt. In the third grade, I was the biggest guy in my class. No one wanted to mess with me then.

If Governor Fletcher had had an emotional growth spurt at any time during his administration, no one would have messed with him. He could have walked into re-election with nominal opposition.

Instead, seven or eight serious candidates are running against him.

When the hiring scandal came along, he needed to stop self-pitying and take responsibility. When problems arose within his administration, he needed to suck it up and show leadership.

When you are over 50 and have been a doctor, preacher, fighter pilot and governor, it is time to grow up and get over it. Criticism comes with the job.

Fletcher has never been able to get over that aspect of being in the public eye. He must be the most thinned-skinned person to ever hold office. I have never been crazy about his whining in the free media, but I am stunned that his campaign blew contributions on commercials that stroke Fletcher’s ego without even trying to pick up new voters.

People were anticipating the ad and expecting Fletcher to rise in the polls. It won’t happen. I’d be amazed to see any poll that shows that the advertisement worked. If it does, I am going to start crying in public and asking people to send me money.

Moreover, there are factual flaws in the commercial. It shows Fletcher walking from his office to the Governor’s mansion. In reality, Fletcher doesn’t walk: he takes a limo ride for the 500 FEET between the Governor’s office and the Governor’s mansion.

They don’t even have him walking from his actual office. They have him coming from the Supreme Court two floors above his. Being in the neighborhood was close enough.

The commercial shows Fletcher’s disconnection with reality. People in Kentucky have real problems and need real leadership. Fletcher has been in a position to provide it and has failed.

Harry Truman said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

He didn’t say wallow in self pity and make commercials about it.

I don’t know who will beat Governor Fletcher. Someone will. His opponents have yet to captivate the public’s attention, but Fletcher is so self-consumed that I can’t see how he would make it.

I have a vested interest in Ernie. He helped me sell a lot of books. He is my answer to Dan Quayle. It’s hard to find politicians who spend $5000 for a secret office door and

whose airplane caused panic in the nation’s capitol. You can’t make stuff like that up.

I planned on writing a Fletcher sequel, but I am now writing about lottery winners instead. I know they will be around next year.

Fletcher is obsessed with walking all over his critics. Unless things change quickly, he is going to take a long walk himself.

Ex-governors don’t get to ride in the limo.

Don McNay is the author of the Unbridled World of Ernie Fletcher. You can write to him at or read what he has written at His award-winning column is syndicated on the CNHI News Service.

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