Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The good news

By Bill Kraus

1. It’s different than the former California Speaker Jesse Unruh’s dictum, “If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, take their money and vote against them, you don’t belong in this business,” and John Boehner’s scolding is directed at the dreaded third parties who want to dictate elections from the outside, but it is a huge step in a welcome direction nonetheless.

It is important to remind everyone that power still resides in those in office not those who think the money they spend on their screeds put them in office. This seems to be a revelation to those who prefer buying votes and voters to getting into the trenches and fighting for the right to rule.

It is also a reassurance to those of us who contribute only votes, that we still count more than the idiot billionaires and the cult organization with their benign labels and questionable agendas.

Who knows what might happen next. Following the Supreme Court’s suggestion and the Boehner lead, we might even be told who it is exactly who is funding and running these organizations that want to run the game from the bleachers.

Let the people decide? What a novel idea.

2. It becomes clearer every day in every way that the boring, often arcane topic and process of legislative redistricting has come out of the “inside politics” closet. The less powerful than they once were newspapers have been hounding those who want to keep the power to gerrymander to themselves for months. The best guess is that if the issue were to be put to the voters in dramatic language like, “Would you prefer to pick your legislators or have your legislators pick you?” the vote would be something like 90-10 in favor of the former. In by-elections in Wisconsin both voters and reporters have asked the embarrassing question of the candidates, “Do you favor gerrymandering?” And the question has gone at least national, where it made The Daily Show, and has the prospect of going viral to the extent that the leaders who try to brush it off with reasons like “we’ve always done it this way” or “the present system works” are no longer getting by with it. What is becoming obvious even to the lightly engaged is that the issue cannot stand the harsh light of day, because everybody knows what gerrymander means and what gerrymandering does. It is not quite the third rail that some toxic issues are, but it is unlikely that anyone is going to campaign in favor of gerrymandering.

3. The estimable and omnipresent David Brooks’ contribution to the public order is that more power should go to the executives who are elected by all the people and less to the cluster victors in legislatures everywhere who too often forget that while they are elected by some of the people, once they assume office, they represent all of the people. Our own “uninhibited” governor has become increasingly passive in the wake of his surprising and dramatic legislative victories in the winter of 2010. Way too much leadership has come from the legislature not the governor’s office. The governor expresses his hands off policy with the phrase, “If they send it to me, I’ll look at it.” This is not what David Brooks is recommending

Too many occupants of the executive branch offices have abdicated leadership to the already too powerful legislative leaders. The the governors I watched from up close like Warren Knowles, Pat Lucey, and Tommy Thompson and even the less aggressive Lee Dreyfus who said “the governor proposes; the legislature disposes” would welcome the Brooks suggestion, as would I.

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1 comment:

  1. Scott Walker remembers creating jobs as assemblyman in Wisconsin . It was easy with ALEC. 32000 UNION public sector jobs. It is not as easy this time with out using your tax dollars. Scott Walker has created ALL Wisconsin`s budget problems working for ALEC. In 1997 Walker and Prosser as state assemblymen championed for ALEC with truth in sentencing telling the legislatures it would not cost a dime it was to give judges not parole boards the control over sentencing. Then Walker filibustered to stop sentencing changes after the fact misleading ALL the legislatures. With out the sentencing changes Wisconsin`s prisons quadrupled over night. Most people sentenced to 2 years now had to serve as much as 6o years. It shows Wisconsin has wasted 100 billion if you add the numbers to the state budget since 1997. Not including the building new or remodeling of 71 courthouses & 71 county jails & 441 police stations and dozens of prisons 28 billion plus interest. The total is over 28 BILLION plus the 60 Billion spent by social services to support prisoners families because the bread winner was a political prisoner as US Att gen Eric Holder explained. Then farming out prisoners in several states until the courts realized it was not allowed in the Wisconsin constitution. Wisconsin then hired 32000 union public sector workers to fill the jobs housing the prisoners from deputies , judges, district attorneys all owe Walker for creating there jobs. 32000 UNION PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS. This cost taxpayers over 3.8 billion or a half million per day to house these EXTRA prisoners per day in Milwaukee county alone. Wisconsin claims it has 24,000 prisoners compared to Minnesota`s 5500. Wisconsin`s corrections population is 104,000 with many in half way house and county jails and county prisons that are not counted.