Wednesday, November 4, 2015

State Of Confusion!


Today I awoke to a literal state of confusion. The governor-elect of my humble little Kentucky is now a  carpetbagger and Donald Trump wannabe, a man who is pugnacious, intemperate, and seems to bear a tremendous grudge against a political and social system which has made him rich several times over. Matt Bevin was elected last night as my future governor, a man disliked by his own party and soon to be disliked by many, if not most in Kentucky, even those who in a bout of blindness elected him.

But I suspect he never really expected to win, and now that he has he's left with the task of trying to live up to the irresponsible promises he made as part of the no-nothing Tea Party which rose up in unreasoning opposition to all things Obama. Kentucky is not a donor state, which means that we take more from the federal coffers than we contribute, a state which has been wracked traditionally by its isolated mountainous geography and culture, left to idle while other regions around it thrive. Kentucky has long been like a colony, full of rich natural resources used by other more industrialized neighbors for the betterment of their populations. The romanticism of horse racing clouds over a century of poverty.

Now that said, it seems the state would be ripe for the promises of a man or woman with a vision forward. That's true, but this mope ain't that guy. As is the practice for these Tea Party types he's full of vitriol for the existing status quo but desperately lacking in any specific plan to improve things other than the bellwether blather to lower taxes (the only true goal of most Tea Party enthusiasts despite lip-service to other causes). In this new society we live in nowadays such murmurings find purchase, but they don't speak to the future, only the here and now.


These folks are defined by what they are against, not what they are for. In Bevin's case he's against Common Core (though I doubt he'd be able to articulate what it is about that system he particularly objects to and ironically Kentucky was a pioneer in this effort making improvements long before the current crisis of wisdom struck the benighted), Obamacare (called KYNECT in this state, the best state exchange developed and the model for other states when the reforms went forward some years) gay marriage (the Supreme Court decision was likely why Bevin won really), unions, public education (the oft-proven disaster of charter schools), and of course government (starve the beast) itself. What is he for? He's for cutting taxes and I suspect he likes puppies, though I don't have evidence to support that. That's not responsible leadership, that's the warm glow of nostalgia for a time when things were better, but when and how remain scandalously vague.  

Bevin was elected with the mindless assistance of many current and former public employees who were either blinded by their irrational fear and loathing of Obama (who has exactly one more year in office) or the terror of gay marriage (see miscegenation fifty years earlier and ironically also Obama now) and either cannot or choose not to see that this maroon is a threat to their short term and long term interests. If I could imagine for a moment they were being selfless I'd have some heart, but I know they are just being knot-headedly short-sighted.

We've watched over the last few years as ultra-conservative governor in Kansas has ransacked that state driving it into economic ruin with tax cuts and budget shortfalls which have decimated the state's credit rating. Kentucky is not a state which has that much room to spare. We do have a legislature which can, for the time being slow the change I dread coming, but who knows how long or effective that bulwark might prove to be.

Heavy sigh now; heavy drinking later. Salute!

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4 comments:

  1. Insightful post Rip…Strange times we live in…I’d never heard of Matt Bevin before, although he’s all over the national media this morning. They seem to be fixated on the fact that Bevin has 4 Ethiopian children – and an African American lieutenant governor, while remaining mum on the fact that the guy has zero political experience and vaguely articulated, if not outright odd conservative policies.

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    1. Like many conservatives Bevin is capable of great gestures of charity, such as bringing in children from Africa to be part of a large family. It's too sad though that the charity they themselves extend personally falls short when it comes to public policy amid lectures about personal responsibility. Growing up in a reasonably well to do family himself, he seems limited in his ability to apprehend the struggles of folks who lack the edge he was given from birth.

      I don't argue that there aren't better ways to do things in government, change is inevitable, but I'm always struck by the willingness of conservatives who preach endlessly about the glory of capitalism who then will very quickly rush to renege on contracts both private and public with the folks they are responsible for. The pensions in this state are not a charity that the politicians should feel noble about contributing to, but already contracted deferred compensation which is owed outright.

      Cutting taxes in the face of such needs is reckless, but I've seen this maneuver time and again by Republicans who bleat about being responsible stewards but when push comes to shove only ever focus on the easy solutions and resort the rest of the time to cheap words and acrimony. Maybe Bevin will be different, I see little hope of that though.

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  2. I feel for you, Rip, but this is happening everywhere and it's a struggle to understand. To some out there it doesn't seem that far a leap from an establishment that can't seem to function on the most minimal of levels (and is preoccupied more with their own wealth than ours) and a rebellious group who say the hell with those guys, let's just blow them up. I can't feel too sorry for the Republican establishment, since they basically enabled these guys by annexing them for short-term gains (in some cases creating fake Tea Party-like fundraising operations) and legitimizing them in the eyes of many low-information voters who just generally hate the way things are going and want to punch back. If the old guard are not too enfeebled and fossilized to fight back, I imagine we're going to see a definitive showdown, first at the national level (the convention should be psychotic) and eventually. state by state.( This guy initially ran against Mitch McConnell. right?) I hope that the Democratic response is at least coherent enough to teach their own voters to get their asses to the polls on off years.

    Sometimes it seems as if we're doomed to fight the same battle forever, like the Justice Society trapped in a Ragnarok loop. But there are a few things about this babbling uprising that are positive, like a LIbertarian reluctance to go to war and a new populism that somehow has Republican candidates talking about income inequality.

    A big problem is there are too many opportunists out there in the media and in power who are still attempting to exploit this genuine rage for their own advantage. It's like trying to turn Rabies into money...or gain immortality by becoming an undead vampire. Say. did you ever notice that Ted Cruz tends to smile without showing his teeth?

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    1. You make many good points. The rage machine on the right (and truth told a bit on the left also) is less about effecting different policies than it is about getting donations from the minions they whip into a frenzy. Carson is a good example of a guy who (to me) seems to be positioned to make money from true believers while never seriously considering what he'll do if by some fluke he actually becomes president. Maybe he'll build a pyramid. Sheesh!

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