When Politicians and Politics Embarrass the Nation?

Dear Commons Community,

As a nation, we are becoming numb to the embarrassing way our political leaders conduct themselves while governing.   Maureen Dowd in her usually red-meat way takes it to Donald Trump for his bombastic twitting, outrageous personal attacks, and unfounded claims. In her New York Times column this morning, she commented on his address earlier this week to Congress.

“And a huge sigh of relief went up in the land. The mad king could stay on script long enough to fake normality.

The truculent sovereign could be yanked away, for a blessed hour, from Twitter to a teleprompter.

He could emerge from his dystopian, carnivorous man cave, guarded by the fanged two-headed Stephenbeast of Bannon and Miller, and condemn the hate he spent so long stirring up.”

A good wake up for a Sunday morning.

But it isn’t just Donald Trump.  A New York Times editorial yesterday took  aim at Republican governors and state legislators who are doing everything possible to enact legislation that is driven by ideology and ignores decency and the public good.  For example:

“Before his unsuccessful run for president, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin cut his teeth as a tough-on-crime Republican lawmaker who demanded that prison inmates serve their full terms. Mr. Walker is taking this passion to a new low in a budget plan to cut the state’s parole agency from eight employees to just one.

At least 2,000 inmates have served enough of their sentences to be eligible for parole, subject to a hearing and recommendations from the parole commission’s staff of civil servants. State officials insist that a single gubernatorial appointee can handle the parole process as efficiently as eight people, with assistance from other agencies.

But reducing the likelihood that a prisoner will be considered for parole, rather than efficiency, is probably the real rationale for a governor who gloats that he also does not issue pardons.

Such is the mood that permeates more than a few statehouses as Republican victors settle in for a fresh season’s budget proposals and legislation inspired by partisan regressiveness more than civic good.”

The editorial (see below) also refers to legislation being considered in Arizona to crackdown on people protesting President Trump and other Republicans.

We are all hoping that sanity will return to our politics but it is becoming a very rough and dangerous road we are traveling.



When Politics Embarrass the Nation!

New York Times


March 4, 2017

In Arizona, Republican state senators recently approved a crackdown on people who, in the senators’ fervid imaginations, are being paid to stir rioting in the waves of constitutionally protected protests directed at the agendas of Republicans and President Trump. There are already anti-rioting laws on the books. But the Arizona Senate’s full 17-member Republican majority approved use of the state’s racketeering conspiracy laws to give the police new power to arrest organizers of protests that become unruly, even if it’s an outsider who stirs a riotous situation.

“You have full-time, almost professional agent-provocateurs that attempt to create public disorder,” insisted State Senator John Kavanagh. “This stuff is all planned.” The proposal, which would also allow the police to seize a protest planner’s assets, was sent to the House for quick action.

Fortunately for the Constitution, Arizona’s Republican House leadership was soon bombarded with public complaints that the measure was a low-road, outrageous attempt to chill free speech. “The people need to know we are not about limiting people’s rights,” the House speaker, J. D. Mesnard, hurriedly announced, killing the bill in an attempt to spare his party further embarrassment.

Unfortunately, Arizona Republicans have not been alone in their feverish attempt to crimp free speech in the name of law and order. The practice has been growing in Republican legislatures in at least 16 states. Some of the measures have made it into law; most so far have not. But the meanspirited edge is sadly transparent and presents a further cause for public protest.

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