In a message to supporters, the campaign to re-elect Democratic Governor Steve Beshear slammed his opponents and the media for criticizing the governor’s speech at the Fancy Farm picnic this weekend.
During this year’s political event, Beshear attempted to bypass the heated rhetoric and heckling that is customary at the gathering by discussing his recent visit with member of the armed forces serving in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.
And though Beshear said he wasn’t concerned what critics thought of the decision, campaign manager Bill Hyers lashed out in an e-mail to supporters Monday, telling them the governor was showing the crowd what a true leader is and was trying to elevate the discourse.
“It is a sad state of affairs when a leader is criticized for not attacking his opponents,” he says. “Leadership is not about who can scream the loudest at their political opponent. Leadership is about sitting down with friend and foe, finding common ground to do what is right for the people. These times are too perilous to do otherwise.”
During the event, independent gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith called it the worst delivered in the picnic’s history. And former Kentucky State Adjutant Major General Donald Storm, who is the campaign chairman for Republican nominee David Williams, called the governor’s remarks inappropriate and accused Beshear of using the troops as a political prop.
From the Beshear campaign:
As the Governor said, a week earlier he was prepared to give the typical partisan Fancy Farm speech. Instead, he chose to speak from his heart. As a veteran myself, I was proud of him, and appreciated him honoring our men and women in uniform in such a public and thoughtful way.
And the reaction? The Governor’s political opponents, as well as members of the media, attacked him for declining to give a nasty, partisan, vitriolic speech. Partisan political divisions are what have led to the dysfunction in Washington, D.C. Bitter, venomous attacks on each other are why elected officials on the federal level can’t get their act together to get this country moving again, and frankly, Americans, including myself, are sick of it.
Governor Beshear chose a different path—not only on Saturday, but throughout his term as governor. He has stood up to both sides to do the right thing for Kentucky, and he has also brought them together, time and time again—to balance our budget nine times, to cut over a billion dollars in spending, to protect our priorities of education, public safety and economic development, and to do it all without raising broad-based taxes.