Over the decades, Kentucky paid dearly for an "insider" approach to leading the state's public colleges and universities.
It put too much power in the hands of a few political manipulators, who consorted behind closed doors with powerful university presidents who were, themselves, widely respected and much-feared politicos.
Do the names Adron Doran and Bob Martin ring a bell?
They contributed mightily to the development of Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky universities, but they also helped set a standard for personal and political control in higher education that has taken many years and much effort to overcome.
This is the larger context in which to see Attorney General Greg Stumbo's fight for what the law mandates -- campus boards whose makeup reflects the political party allegiances of the state. He thinks the law means what it says, and, since Gov. Ernie Fletcher disagrees, he should take the matter to court.
Gov. Fletcher's contempt for the law was obvious in his handling of the merit system scandal, in which he was an indicted conspirator but escaped by making a deal, then disavowing his own admissions and demonizing his antagonists.
Maybe the Governor will prove to be right in claiming that he need not appoint campus boards that approximate Kentucky's political party affiliations. Maybe he's right that he can do as he pleases, just as he did in flouting the rules against political manipulation of state hiring and firing.
But Republicans should watch what they wish for. Gov. Fletcher soon may be replaced by a Democrat, who could take the same arbitrary view of a governor's campus appointment power...
This from the Courier-Journal.