I was sorely disappointed when I read the New Era editorial board’s assessment of David Williams’ years as senate majority leader. I believe that we in Kentucky owe Sen. Williams a debt of gratitude. He is responsible for the military income tax exemption. If the Senate had rolled over, we definitely would have a casino here in Oak Grove. Are you ready for that? Please remember that it was the Kentucky Senate under David Williams’ leadership that has passed pro-life legislation every year since 2000. Such legislation was not voted on in the House because it never made it out of committee.
More disappointing to me was the mention of Sen. Williams being referred to as the “Bully from Burkesville.” Perhaps it is also appropriate to call House Leader Greg Stumbo the “Prima Donna from Prestonsburg.” I interpret the editorial staffs’ point of view to be that Sen. Williams was singlehandedly responsible for Gov. Steve Beshear’s minimal lack of legislative success. The editorial’s headline stated that “Williams’ exit gives cooperation a new chance.”
To achieve cooperation, the person in charge must possess leadership skills. Maybe the minimal lack of legislative accomplishment needs to be placed squarely on the person in charge, Gov. Beshear, and not Sen. Williams, who has kept us from becoming as liberal as California.
Cooperation requires compromise and that involves negotiation between the two political parties to reach a mutual agreement. This means that one makes the decision to surrender some things wanted in order to get the thing most desired. Leaders must differentiate between the most important issue, and the issues that can be handled flexibly. The phrase, “pick your battles,” applies well to understanding the art of compromising. Having strong character is essential for one to be successful when it comes to compromising and cooperating in the arena of politics.
This brings me to next Tuesday. Yes, I really want Gov. Mitt Romney to win, and I do embrace his policies, but I am not going to discuss either candidate’s policy differences. I am more interested in their leadership skills and demeanor. Ask yourself which man appeared more presidential and exhibited the most poise during the debates. If I had been an alien transported to earth just to view the debates, I would have gravitated to Gov. Romney because he looked and acted presidential, was respectful, engaged, and never once degraded President Obama.
When did name-calling and condescending behavior become the acceptable conduct of a well-adjusted adult? It was very demeaning the way President Obama proclaimed to Gov. Romney that bayonets and soldiers on horseback were ancient tools. To give the governor a good dose of reality, the president flaunted his masterful understanding of our current military requirements. He implied that the governor’s mention of the Navy needing more ships than the 285 that it currently possesses as being out of touch.
Think back to Nov. 4, 2008. The election results were in, and President-elect Obama announced that “change had come to America.” He said he would unite the country around core principles and that his election was the signal that our planet was on the verge of healing.
He claimed to be a doer. Many of us were deceived by his grandiose speeches. Even though I opposed his election, I thought that maybe he could get Congress to work together. I was encouraged that we just might have elected the right person to be president.
What a disappointment! He has been ineffective. In three and half years, we have not had a budget. How can any business survive with such ineptness? Yet, we are asked to give him another chance because he did not have enough time to achieve success during his first four years. We are warned that electing the wrong person will result in “Romnesia.” My how his rhetoric has changed!
How impressed and hopeful I am with Mitt Romney’s leadership abilities. He was elected as a Republican governor in the very liberal state of Massachusetts and had to work with a legislature that was 85 percent Democrat. He displayed extraordinary ability to cooperate and had a very successful term as governor.
Election Day is almost here. Some of us will be thrilled and some of us will be predicting doom and gloom. Most Americans really want the best for our country, but it is our view of policy that causes our disagreements.
I am reminded of Whitney Westerfield’s closing remarks at the League of Women Voters candidate forum. He recalled the words from Timothy (I Timothy 2:1-3) and invited us to pray for our leaders and all those in authority. I hope that we all will hold that advice in our hearts and minds.
WILLEE COOPER is a former teacher and military spouse. A Hopkinsville resident, she is past president of the Kentucky Federation of Republican Women. Her column runs on the first and third Friday of each month. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.