Saturday, October 12, 2013

Louisville Courier Journal still owes us one

On September 30, when the Louisville Courier Journal's Joe Gerth wrote a column inaccurately describing my legal effort to stop Gov. Steve Beshear from illegally implementing, I asked the paper's editors for space to respond. They agreed to my request to print a 600 word response.

On Tuesday October 8, I emailed to the Courier a 593-word essay. I was asked to change one word in the second sentence to clarify that I am indeed personally involved in the legal effort underway currently. I did so and was then informed that my column would appear in the paper on Friday October 11. And it did.

Well, most of it. I read it quickly in the paper's online edition on Thursday night and remember thinking briefly that it didn't flow quite like I thought it did when I wrote it. But I didn't take time to think about it. Later, when I purchased a hard-copy version of the paper, I was surprised to notice a huge graphic at the top of the page, which usually indicates a shortage of content for the space.

Then, I read my column again and realized parts were missing from what I wrote. Pretty important parts.

You can click here and read what the Courier printed and then click here and read what I sent them. The version that made it into the paper is 558 words long.

The first thing removed was a complete sentence contemplating a new lawsuit against Beshear if he continues his illegal activity for a second year. That sentence read: "That suit would be distinct from the first in undisputedly involving expenditure of unappropriated funds." This is an important piece of information because a huge part of Beshear's legal argument is that in 2014, Kentucky's "exchange" is spending dollars given to it by the federal government. At the end of the year, those funds are gone and, unless Senate Republicans suddenly lose their minds and become Obama supporters, they won't be replaced by legally appropriated dollars.

The next altered segment was the following sentence, with everything past the comma removed: "The 2015 Kentucky gubernatorial race would then be substantially about ObamaCare, another prospect Democrats might relish now in their health reform utopian denial, but which reality just might bring home colored differently by then." This is significant because Democrats really need to start considering the millstone ObamaCare will be around their necks when it not only doesn't fix Kentucky's access to healthcare challenges, but actually makes them worse. Gov. Beshear's heady victory tour and caustic rhetoric for ObamaCare opponents may be lots of fun to watch now, but the aftereffects really won't benefit anyone, particularly if we don't resolve this festering problem of an executive who really seems to believe the law doesn't apply to him.

Merely replacing Beshear with a Republican who inherits the same illegitimate power we could and should take away now is a disaster in the making for Kentuckians of all political stripes. Making that point was the purpose for writing the column I wrote in the Courier. Attempting to lessen the impact of my essay, as the Courier did, serves only a lawlessness we should all agree to oppose.