A precarious house of cards

A precarious house of cards

We are barely a full month into 2016 and it is already shaping up to be a rough year to be a Republican in Oklahoma and the rest of the nation.  Forget the mess that somehow qualifies as the Republican Presidential Primary.  Closer to home, our Sooner State GOP-led legislature is looking at managing government with a $1 billion budget deficit and having to confront problems like our state being the new Earthquake Capitol of the World,  funding a flailing Department of Education and addressing criminal justice reform.  In spite of the seriousness of these pressing issues, members of the state’s Republican majority persist in pushing to legislate their social agenda aimed at discriminating against citizens who have sex differently than they do (or at least for those who have sex) and to restrict use of restrooms by “biological gender.”  To say the majority party has a priorities problem is an understatement.  Truth be known, myself and many others I am sure would not mind nearly as much if we did not have to suffer the consequences of their failings along side them, but we do.

Earthquake damage at St. Gregory's University, Shawnee

Earthquake damage at St. Gregory’s University, Shawnee

The results of governance by this Republican majority government is becoming more apparent with each passing day and the results are just not very favorable.  Another item of note, legal decisions are not going in favor of the conservative social agenda in places not far away.  Just this past week in a neighboring state a grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing in the case of last year’s sting videos.  In fact, the organization’s accusers were indicted for fraud for falsifying documents, certainly not the results the anti-Choice lobby was seeking.  Even though the indictments likely will not result in any jail time for the now accused, the anti-Choice movement is going to be saddled with answering for the crime the sting attempt videos inspired.  Those spewing falsehoods about those videos, including a GOP Presidential candidate, can hide behind plausible deniability for now.  This however, like other things conservatives have stubbornly held onto like Benghazi and any one of a number of faux Obama Administration scandals, is going to rapidly reach a point of diminishing returns and is going to do far more harm to their cause in the long run than any short term benefit it might provide.

Planned Parenthood

Elsewhere in the nation and just this month in fact with all the bad press of the contamination of the water supply for an entire American city in Michigan, all but one House Republican voted to overturn an EPA rule regulating small waterways. Perhaps the federal government may not need to regulate ever single drop of water in theory, but who should be held accountable when decisions made by state, county and municipal officials result in disasters requiring federal intervention?

Flint City Water

Flint, Michigan city water.

Spin the Flint, MI water crisis however you please but blame for this mess is going be laid at the feet of another Republican governor.   This is yet another case of where a Republican attempted to run government like a business with disastrous results.  Results like this seem to be a recurring theme.

As I have stated on this blog multiple times, results of governing matter.  Results of governing matter a lot.  An increasing number of citizens are feeling the harm done by Republican governance.  We here in Oklahoma may have not reached that proverbial critical mass as of yet to where an outcry goes up to hold our governor and legislators accountable, but we are getting an increasing number of people to take notice of who is in charge and how the results of their governing is effecting them.  Even my neighbor who is as conservative as they come has felt the effects of the earthquakes spawned by poorly regulated fracking waste water disposal wells.  Notice the cracking of his beautiful tarrazzo garage floor:

Earthquake generated floor crackingOur illustrious governor’s advice to homeowners to get earthquake insurance simply is not going to adequately assuage the demands of many Oklahomans.  Like medicine, the first rule of government should be to do no harm.  Given the state’s inaction on stopping fracking and its waste water disposal, failing for whatever reason to accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion for eligible citizens and allowing the cutting of taxes at a time of severely diminished state revenue sources qualifies as governmental mismanagement and is doing some very real harm to a significant number of its citizens.  In spite of the fact the last two special elections to fill open seats in the legislature were resoundingly won by the Democrats in the respective races, it still remains to be seen if enough voters will take note of how bad of a job the Republican majority has really done since assuming both bodies of the legislature and the Governor’s Mansion in 2011.  The aforementioned legislative races did get the attention of the OKGOP.  I am sure Sooner State Republicans are not relishing having to defend their policies that gotten us an eight figure budget deficit, several quality of life indicators bring up the rear of the Union and an infrastructure falling down around us all.  They are going to have to defend their precarious house of cards they have built with their ideological platitudes.  To be fair, many of them sounded good in  campaign sound bytes like “Cutting taxes increases state revenue”  and “Tax cuts for the job creators reduces unemployment.”  In practice they simply did not work and the problem for them this year is we have enough available data to dismiss all of those political claims as false.  If all they have to counter Democratic ideas in the forthcoming campaign are one-liners like “Bill Clinton got an Oval Office B.J.” then November 8th may be an early evening for them.  As a political operative, theirs is not a position I would seek to be in this year.  There is nothing like defending abject failure to make for the tallest order of the day.  Every Oklahoma Republican in 2016 is going to have to defend their legislative record in every single district.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  DISTRICT.

Precarious house of cards