Photo: Still of Matt Bevin from his video
The Situation: On Monday, March 7, Kentucky governor Matt Bevin decided to make a video. In the video, he wants to see how the House – specifically Speaker Greg Stumbo and his fellow Democrats – were getting on with the budget he proposed about two months ago. In the video, he was “surprised” to discover that the Chamber were completely empty. He then took the opportunity to shame the Democrats, offer up #PasstheBudget, try to convince Kentuckians that their leaders (specifically the Democrats) were wasting their tax dollars, and posted it all on Facebook.
The only problem? The whole thing was a lie.
In fact, as Governor Bevin would know if he ever checked out the Kentucky legislature web site, the House doesn’t meet until 4:00pm in the Chamber. Instead, they were in the Annex, a building directly across from his office, working on the transportation budget. Because, and this seems to be another thing Governor Bevin doesn’t realize, you don’t just argue bills in the Chamber all the time. Most of your time is spent in committees doing research and hashing out the bills. That’s where the real work gets done. Which maybe he would have known if he were in any way, shape, or form qualified to lead, but he’s not.
The Response: Governor Bevin’s video is unethical. It’s sneaky and underhanded. It plays on people’s fears that their governments aren’t actually trying to help them. It tricks the gullible into believing something that is demonstrably not true. It tries to pressure the legislature into passing a budget that is unwieldy, harmful, and poorly constructed. It attempts to take the blame for the budget’s slash-and-burn nature from Governor Bevin’s shoulders and place it upon the legislature’s. He also released this video one day before a special election took place that would determine whether or not the House would lose its Democratic majority (Ha hah, Bevin, it didn’t, so fuck you.).
Full disclosure: I don’t like Bevin. I didn’t vote for him. I’ve signed petitions and donated to organizations fighting to keep the healthcare system he’s shutting down and calling for his impeachment. But I do recognize that he’s my governor. I am willing to work with him, to agree that the budget needs to be balanced, to call for an end to party fighting, and to attempt to treat him with the most respect that I can.
But when he does something this juvenile, this deceitful, and this petty, it makes my resolve slip. It makes me want to call him a penis-head and send his email odd fetish videos. Because I expect my elected leaders to rise above the pettiness. I expect them to show me why they’re worthy of the position, especially if I didn’t vote for him. And Bevin didn’t. All he showed me is that he’s too immature and too ignorant to lead this state – and that we’re in for four years of hurt. Those aren’t the actions of a leader. And they shouldn’t be the actions of my governor.