Last week, the public temper tantrums of David Williams and Steve Beshear embarrassed the entire state — which would be devastating for Kentucky if we weren’t already used to humiliating ourselves on a regular basis.
Some have speculated that Beshear going medieval on Williams was a ploy to initiate a Republican coup attempt in Senate leadership, forcing senators to either jump onto Williams’ side or throw him off the boat.
While no Republican senators are saying anything publicly at the moment, some influential outsiders are already beating the drum.
John David Dyche — often thought of as the oracle into Mitch McConnell’s mind — renewed his call to oust Williams from leadership this weekend in The Courier-Journal:
The Governor has tried and failed in other such anti-Williams gambits, but Senate Republicans deserve what he is trying to do to them. They had the chance to change leadership after Beshear “whooped” Williams by almost 21 percentage points in the 2011 gubernatorial election. For whatever reason — fear, loyalty or just plain lack of political skill — the Senate GOP stuck with Williams. Now they must ride out this confrontation with him as the party’s face and voice.
There is admittedly an aspect of Greek tragedy to Williams’ situation. He is, after all, right on most matters of policy. And unlike Beshear and the Democrats, he has a smart reform agenda for a better Kentucky. But the bitter and often abusive Williams has made many more enemies than friends along his path to power, even among his fellow Republicans. The press has, of course, demonized him beyond rehabilitation.
Voters should still give Republicans a chance to run the lower chamber. It is impossible to imagine how things could get any worse. The electorate should also demand a leadership change in the Senate as a condition for supporting any Republican candidate there.
That last sentence is the kicker: If you support Williams, you do not deserve to be elected, even if you are a Republican. Dyche has been extremely harsh in his criticism of Williams since January, but that’s about as harsh as you can possibly get.
And now Williams has a new critic: former heir to the Kentucky GOP throne, Trey Grayson. After tweeting that both sides had embarrassed Kentucky last week, Grayson went on Ryan Alessi’s show this week to discuss (out in the open!) how the coup might go down and throw his support behind it:
After saying he didn’t want to “create tension” between Williams and Sen. Tom Jensen, Grayson did just that, saying Jensen is someone who is respected on both sides of the aisle and would make a great leader.
“It would be nice to have people like that in control, instead of people who are dividing.”
Dyche and Grayson are, of course, equally critical of Beshear (and to a lesser degree, House Speaker Greg Stumbo), but the governor isn’t going anywhere, and Senate Republicans will be voting on leadership in the not-too-distant future. It should also be noted that Williams is still hated by most in the Tea Party and has a brand new arch-enemy in Sen. Damon Thayer, who felt he was stabbed in the back on congressional redistricting by Williams.
So now all eyes are on the Republican senators and who will be the first one to break ranks publicly. Or perhaps no one will, and we can all go through this same sad routine of the Williams-Beshear Show for another three years. It’s not like we have some good reputation to uphold, or anything…