Friday, August 24, 2007

The Last Real Democrat in the Kentucky Senate


One and only one of the 16 Democrats in the Kentucky State Senate had the integrity, courage and balls to stand up to Big Coal and Admitted Criminal Governor Ernie Fletcher today.

Senator Ernesto Scorsone, D-Lexington, cast the sole Senate vote against the Bankrupt The Commonwealth And Destroy the Environment At The Same Time Act of 2007

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Scorsone said the bill is not the state's energy policy, but that of (coal giant) Peabody Energy Co.

The bill, which passed the Democratic House on Wednesday, now goes to Ernie for his signature. Ernie, lagging 18 points behind in the governor's race, called this totally unnecessary legislative special session and demanded approval of this bill because he's desperate to show an accomplishment - any accomplishment, no matter how destructive - to voters.

Not going to be easy for Democrats to call him on this boondoggle since so many of them voted for it.

Ernesto, as all of his admirers call him, admittedly risked very little with his No vote. He represents a Senate District that is by far the most liberal in the state. Someday when we country liberals grow up, we want to move to Lexington so we can have Ernesto as our senator.

In 1998, Ernesto ran against then-state-representative Ernie Fletcher for the Sixth Congressional seat, in the Battle of the Erns. Ernie won on the strength of a whisper campaign about the single Ernesto's probable sexuality.

Ernesto had never denied being gay, mostly because no one had ever been rude enough to ask him about it. He ignored the whispers, and lost to Ernie by seven points.

Five years later in 2003, Ernesto made a speech in Lexington in which he referred obliquely to his homosexuality. The Lexington Herald-Leader put it on the front page, but everybody yawned.

Here's how incredibly popular Ernesto is in Lexington: In 2004, the year after he became the only openly gay member of the Kentucky General Assembly, the year republicans nationwide ran on gay-bashing, the Kentucky GOP did not even attempt to field a challenger to Ernesto.

Kentucky Democrats, however, made up for that lack. Also in 2004, the flat-on-its-ass Kentucky Democratic Party was desperately searching for someone to take charge as chair. Ernesto's name was mentioned, and the panicked party honchos lashed out by choosing corrupt, antediluvian hack Jerry Lundergan. Several Central Committee members, including current Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee Steve Beshear, resigned in protest.

Ernesto quietly returned to his Senate seat, and continues today to serve as the lonely - and sometimes lone - voice of liberal values in the General Assembly.

He's also the only Democrat in the Senate who grasps the criminal obscenity of handing billions of tax dollars to the destructive and inhumane coal industry at a time when, as the Herald-Leader noted, the state's economy, public education, infrastructure and just about every measure of civilized life rank in the bottom 10 states nationally.

UPDATE, 6:27 p.m.: Steve Beshear's Lite Guv running mate, Dan Mongiardo, is a current member of the State Senate. Does that mean he voted for the Bend Over For The Coal Industry, One More Time Act of 2007? No, thank goodness. He was not present for the vote, presumably because he's on the campaign trail. Still, what a chicken.

Historical note: Democrat Dan Mongiardo earned the everlasting enmity of thousands of Kentucky Democrats in 2004 when he sponsored the anti-gay marriage amendment to the Kentucky Constitution. Keep in mind he did so months AFTER his fellow Democratic Senator Ernesto Scorsone had come out as gay.