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Williams wants to be remembered for what?




If, as the political rumor mill has it, Senate President David Williams still harbors ambitions of being elected to statewide office, he might consider the record on which he would have to run.

Let’s begin with Franklin Circuit Court’s decision in the “stop the clock” road plan case, involving a suit filed by Mr. Williams against Gov. S teve Beshear.

The decision deemed invalid a 2008 bill that outlined the General Assembly’s road-building preferences, because it was signed, sealed and delivered to the Governor after midnight on the last legislative day. The ruling said Mr. Williams’s argument to the contrary “shows a complete lack of respect for the institutional integrity of both the courts and the legislative process required by the Constitution.”

This is the same David Williams who tried to force Dana Sum Stephenson, who clearly did not meet constitutional qualifications, on the Senate, only to be decisively rebuffed by the courts. Undeterred, he claimed it was the judges who ignored the Constitution and overstepped their bounds. He even said that if a majority of senators decided a 23-year-old candidate was actually 30, then ” no court in the land could overturn that.”

One is reminded of France’s Louis XIV, the Sun King, who thought everything was supposed to revolve around him.

Only a politician with imperial delusions could arrange for pledge cards to be handed out at a pay-to-play special interest lunch, as Mr. William’s did —the better to keep track of the lobbyists’ tribute.

Louis XIV —christened Louis Dieudonné, or gift of God —decided after the death of Cardinal Mazarin in 1661 that he would do what no ruler of France had done in living memory: reign without a chief minister, not unlik e the le adership style Mr. Williams h as adopted in Frankfort.

L’état, c’est lui —he is the state —even if his policy druthers and political conceits leave Kentucky without enough revenue to fund educational progress and social help.

As things stand, when scholars look at this period in Kentucky history they will find Mr. Williams’s cold hand, squeezing the relevance out of state government. To date, his legacy as Senate president is managing a sustained show of arrogance and turning a royal thumb down on every effort to raise desperately needed money. Surely he wants to be remembered for something better than that.

— The Courier-Journal, Louisville


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