Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

December 22, 2012

Holiday gift ideas for the Frankfort players

By RONNIE ELLIS
CNHI

FRANKFORT — Let’s offer some tongue-in-cheek “stocking stuffers” for some of Kentucky’s political players, all in good humor.

But first, a Hanukkah gift. The eight-day Festival of Lights has ended, but Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson should be credited with trying to reform Kentucky’s antiquated tax code. There’s no political gain here for the former mayor of Louisville who has been mentioned as a possible 2015 gubernatorial candidate, but he took it on anyway.

Some members of that task force seemed at times to pursue their own agendas, but two non-voting members deserve something special in their Christmas stockings. Representatives Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, and Bill Farmer, R-Lexington, have different philosophies, but worked hard together to find a compromise to benefit the people of this state rather than to score political points.

When soon-to-be-Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, looks in his stocking Christmas morning he would do well to find some patience and wisdom. He’ll need both to deal with a suddenly liberated Republican Senate caucus, which is more fractious than a lot of people believe.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, has images dancing in his head of an honorary degree from the University of Pikeville along with a map of the state’s legislative districts that ensures his party’s majority beyond the 2014 House elections. He might also wish for a crowded 2015 Democratic primary for governor, a scenario in which he might prevail with a plurality rather than majority.

For Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark, D-Louisville, Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

For Stivers’ predecessor, David Williams, peace and contentment in his new job as circuit judge. His stocking ought to – but probably won’t – include gratitude from his party for all the hits he took, some deserved, some not so deserved, on behalf of that party.

Newly named Senate Education Committee Chairman Steve Wilson, R-Bowling Green, might find a book from Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington: The History of the Old Testament, with a special section on Nimrod, the mighty hunter and great-grandson of Noah.

House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover needs a new Whip. How about Si Robertson from “Duck Dynasty,” Hoover’s favorite television show? Si knows everything about everything and that’s just a fact, Jack, and he looks great in elf ears.

Gov. Steve Beshear might find a couple of betting chips in his stocking, perhaps with the names of Thayer and Stivers emblazoned on them. If he’s been really nice, he might also find a guide on how to compute odds, count cards and count votes to help him cash those chips.

But he’s just as likely to find a stocking weighed down by several lumps of coal. He might find a vial of orange water from Raccoon Creek in Floyd County but it should include a skull-and-bones warning not to drink it. He probably won’t notice it among all those thank-you notes from coal interests.

Mitch McConnell is wishing for only one thing in his stocking: an official membership certificate from the tea party, signed by Rand Paul, Thomas Massie, Phil Moffett and Mica Sims. Oh – and a tiny wood chipper lapel pin.

Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth and President Barack Obama are all hoping for the same thing – the name and phone number of a Democratic candidate who might beat McConnell in 2014, even if the number has a 615 area code.

For you gentle reader, a warm Christmas with loved ones and a New Year resolution from political leaders to put your interests ahead their own.

Merry Christmas, peace and good will to all!

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.