Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Saturday | August 16, 2003

'Job Terminator' riles KY GOP

The Kentucky race is shaping up to be the most interesting of the three this November. While all three feature high-stakes governor races, the KY race is running away with the personality award.

The Job Terminator -- a giant head with sunglasses that is supposed to resemble and lampoon GOP gubernatorial nominee Ernie Fletcher -- made its debut at the Fancy Farm picnic in Western Kentucky two weeks ago where that kind of gimmickry is the order of the day.

The idea was for Democratic candidate Ben Chandler to slam Fletcher, a Congressman from Lexington, for supporting President Bush's economic policies, but it has spawned a series of theatrics that Kentucky voters can expect to see through the fall.

There is now a Web site, a letter to other governors around the country and, of course, the seemingly ubiquitous Job Terminator character itself -- a kind of a cross between an action hero and a stalker.

The race is neck and neck. Yet in a state trending strong GOP, the Democrats are running hard against the popular Bush. And I mean hard, as this PDF "comic" proves.

Sample panel:

Bush: Ernie, it's time to begin the next phase of my master plan.

Fletcher: I'm behind you 97%, my liege.

Narration: Unsatisfied with record surpluses, millions of jobs and opportunity for all, these two politicians formed a dark alliance...

Remember, Bush has an approval rating of 70 percent in Kentucky, yet that state's Dems are running against him? What do they think they are, an opposition party or something?

And while the Job Terminator (which is now following Fletcher as he campaigns around the state) may seem cheesy, it's effective political theater. Chandler needs to tar Fletcher (and Bush) as harmful to the state's economy, and job losses are the easiest and clearest way to make that point. Everytime the Job Terminator appears, the notion of "job losses" gets further ingrained in the voter's minds.

Quite fascinating, indeed. And Fletcher is reduced to regurgitating White House talking points:

Meanwhile, Fletcher and Republican officials are arguing that the economy is perking up and might not be an issue by the Nov. 4 election.

They point to a report by the U.S. Department of the Treasury from last month. It says that, without economic measures enacted by Bush, such as the recent tax cut package, the "unemployment rate would have been nearly 1 percentage point higher" and "as many as 1.5 million fewer Americans would be working."

When Treasury released this report last month, I wrote, "They just make shit up." Now Fletcher is reduced to circulating the same b.s. But it doesn't pass the smell test, especially with Chandler harping on the 56,000 Kentuckians who have lost their jobs.

Posted August 16, 2003 11:26 AM | Comments (59)


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