Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Four weeks later in Hoosier land

While Governor Walker was finally able to pass the legislation he and Republicans in the Wisconsin state Senate were elected to pass, here in Indiana we still are missing (well not “missing”, they are absent) our Hoosier House Democrats. Their absence has prevented the state House from conducting any real business for a month. I am very concerned that the Republican House leadership is considering “compromise” to coax the Democrats back because in this case compromise means that the majority with every right in the world to pass the legislation they choose through the democratic process will be required to abandon large pieces of their agenda and in return they get….Democrats coming back to Indiana. That is quite a deal. At least for the Democrats, not for Republicans or the citizens of Indiana.

The end result is that Democrats in Indiana have essentially declared the democratic process null and void. We held elections. In the course of those elections a majority of the state level legislative seats and the governorship were won by Republicans. By the will of the people, the legislative priorities and agenda of Republicans should at the very least be debated and voted on. That is just common sense and in keeping with the rule of law that has led to centuries of unbroken governance and peaceful transitions of political power in this country.

In spite of that, Democrats have decided to invalidate the votes of Hoosiers and declare that only complete surrender to the will and agenda of the minority will suffice. In the eyes of Indiana Democrats the only votes that counted were those cast for Democrats. The majority of Hoosiers who cast votes for Republicans were clearly duped and need to be saved from themselves. The whole thing is a stinking cauldron of arrogance, petulance and misplaced paternalism. Fortunately House Republicans are examining a way to get these bills passed even without the House Democrats gracing the Hoosier state with their collective presence:

Instead, he said, House Republicans will work with the Senate to have provisions that are caught in the standoff inserted into bills that have already passed the House and are awaiting Senate action.

The result: The House would need to take only an up-or-down vote on the Senate changes. If accepted, the bill could move to Gov. Mitch Daniels' desk.

Although those votes could not happen in the House unless Democrats return, this procedural end-run would allow Republicans to get legislative work done more quickly while stripping House Democrats of any chance to offer changes.

I think that is an excellent idea. House Democrats have abdicated their responsibilities and have forfeited their right to engage in debate and offering amendments.

Indiana Democrats made the case for their agenda last year and the voters rejected it. Now in a fit of undemocratic pouting Hoosier Democrats have declared that only their agenda can be advanced in spite of their minority status in both chambers. It is instructive to note that the GOP holds a 60-40 advantage in the House. This is not a razor thin margin, it is a solid majority. If the Indiana House GOP leadership capitulates here, it sets the stage for more shenanigans like this in the future.

Indiana and America as a whole needs strong leadership to face the serious financial issues that we collectively face. One party is making serious proposals to get our financial house in order. One party is proposing that any serious cuts are draconian and when they don’t get their way, they lead by fleeing.

Speaker Bosma, the issues we face are too serious and the time is too short to allow Democrats to derail any real reform in order to pay back their union puppet masters.
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