Wednesday, January 13, 2016

In her State of the Union rebuttal, Republican Governor Nikki Haley promoted "limited government"... but failed to mention the lawlessness, death, and poisonings "limited government" causes.

(Republican Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia, used under the CCA-2.0 license.)

In her State of the Union rebuttal, Nikki Haley praised Obama, saying "he is at his best" when he speaks "eloquently about grand things." She then quickly scolded him: "Unfortunately, the President’s record has often fallen far short of his soaring words." I'm no fan of President Obama, but I find it disingenuous that Haley did not mention the fact that Republicans have ridiculed and blocked Obama's agenda, throughout his entire presidency, thereby ensuring that, indeed, his record would fall far short of his words.

She then back-stabs the president (more on that in a minute) further, by saying: "Even worse, we are facing the most dangerous terrorist threat our nation has seen since September 11th, and this president appears either unwilling or unable to deal with it [translation: "Obama is a wimp"]. Soon, the Obama presidency will end, and America will have the chance to turn in a new direction." (What direction would that be Ms. Haley? More involvement in the middle-east? More tax breaks for your millionaire & billionaire donors? More negligence of our infrastructure?)    

The reason I say she is back-stabbing the president, is because just a few months ago she was on the phone begging him for federal aid (you can see a picture of that here), after she and her Republican buddies in South Carolina had failed to adequately take care of their infrastructure (they were more interested in lying about the unemployed and getting them to pee in cups) and the infrastructure was decimated in a storm - dozens of failed dams, washed out roads, broken water mains, etc. At the time, she was thankful for his declaration of a disaster, because it freed up federal funds to help her state. She said Obama was "extremely gracious and kind." So gracious and kind, in fact, that she felt compelled to imply he was a wimp in her speech last night.

What I found most interesting however, was Haley's call for limited government: "If we held the White House, taxes would be lower for working families [actually, all of the Republican candidates' tax plans skew towards the wealthy, and some actually increase taxes on the middle-class and poor] and we’d put the brakes on runaway spending and debt."

Ah, the eternal GOP/Tea Party siren-call of "limited government!".

But, in many ways, limited government has already been achieved. For example, federal criminal prosecution of big financial institutions is non-existent, and armed militia groups are now permitted to point their weapons at federal officers and seize control of federal land (see yesterday's blog post). Also, taxes are (by historic standards) very low on the super-wealthy, and government spending on infrastructure has been drastically reduced.

But there's a price to be paid for all this "limited government" - for example, lawlessness and crime. And, with respect to infrastructure, dams fail and kill people, roads deteriorate and kill people, and old water mains flood homes, close businesses, and poison children. But Nikki Haley didn't mention any of this in her State of the Union rebuttal, despite experiencing some of these things first hand. Why not? Because conservative governance is all about (a) blathering on about "limited government" and (b) ignoring the lawlessness, death, and destruction that such "limited government" causes - until it's too late, and then they beg the federal government (a.k.a., taxpayers across the country) to fix their problems (also see, "[Republican] Snyder activates National Guard in Flint, seeks federal help" [after infrastructure is ignored and children are poisoned by lead] Associated Press, Yahoo News, January 12, 2016).

There is a better way to govern, of course, but most Americans have never learned or heard about it, and thus have no idea what you're talking about when you say things like "New Deal," "Works Progress Administration," or "Civilian Conservation Corps." I went to a state forest headquarters once--a state forest where the CCC had been in the 1930s and 40s--and asked one of the young assistants if she had any information about the CCC's work there. She thought for a moment, and then said she was unaware of the CCR being at the park. Now, as much as I like Credence Clearwater Revival, that wasn't exactly the type of information I was looking for.

We need to teach more Americans about the New Deal; otherwise, we'll be left with more empty-headed calls for "limited government," more broken water mains, and more poisoned children.

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