Sunday, July 09, 2000

TV's 'Big Brother,' Ky. style

        How about all these bad voyeuristic shows popping up, like Survivor (haven't seen it) and Big Brother? (Won't watch it.)

        Who cares about a bunch of goofs trying to survive on a tropical island or cooped up in a house with no contact with the outside world?

        If I want to witness the kind of bizarre behavior that happens when people are locked up together for too long in one place, I'll just wait for the next session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

        But in reading a news story about Big Brother, I got a wicked idea.

        In the story, the participants are described like this: “William, who loves women and shaves his bald head twice a day,” and “Brittany, who works at a drug company ... then after work installs her nose ring and goes out dancing.”

        Well, here's my idea. Let's put some of our own pols in a house by themselves. Here's the cast:

        • Jim, a former big-league baseball player and U.S. senator who GOP pollster Kellyanne Fitzpatrick, writing in the latest issue of National Review, says would make a dandy vice presidential running mate for George W. Bush.

        Fun to talk about but not likely to happen.

        • Garry, a Kenton County attorney who is trying to decide whether to remain a Democrat or switch to Republican as he gears up for a re-election run in a couple of years. The results of the November election will help him decide.

        • Ken, a Democratic congressman who votes like a Republican and plays hide-and-seek anytime Al Gore gets near Kentucky.

        • John, a Democrat running for state Senate who apparently took a little too much credit for writing a newspaper op-ed piece about the Declaration of Independence.

        • Gary, a leading county official with a Jesus complex who is considering what office to run for next.

        • Jim, the lame-duck mayor of a big Northern Kentucky city (hint: It's Covington) who is also pondering what to do next in his political career. Back to the City Commission? Covington School Board? The General Assembly?

        • Butch, who wants Jim's mayoral gig but has to pick up more votes outside of Latonia to make it happen.

        • Steve, the mayor of a Kenton County city who has council, the attorney general's office and lots of angry residents wondering why he cut a $25,025 check for sidewalks without the proper authorization.

        • Jack, a state senator who hopes a vote to raise his own pension doesn't come back and bite him in the assets this November.

        • Jaimie, a flight attendant who wants Jack's seat but who needs to start raising some real money.

        • Jerry, who found out making contributions to political candidates can help get roads built to a big speedway, but it can't stop the rain from falling. Maybe he should have asked Gary (see above) for help.

        • Lance, a lone-wolf Democrat running in the meanest, toughest, biggest Republican territory in Kentucky. Will he be sitting on the fiscal court come next year or back out working on his putting?

        • Bernie, bucking the trend in Covington with new ideas that are actually old ideas that were never listened to in the first place.

        • Patrick, a wiseguy political reporter who deep down knows it's a lot easier writing about the pols than actually having to be one.

        Patrick Crowley covers Kentucky politics. He can be reached at (859) 578-5581, or by e-mail at