There are things we all agree need to be done (or can’t be seen as not agreeing to). Prisons, landfills and so on. Sure we need them; but, don’t put it in my back yard.
I think there’s a somewhat related concept working in national and state politics since the last election. Republicans swept in on promises reduced spending, local control, no tax increases, “fixing” immigration, etc.
But now the new Congress and legislatures around the country are faced with the reality of governance.
Take earmarks. Everyone knows they’re bad; no one is for them. But wait a minute! Couple this platitude with the Republican promise to cut $100 billion in spending (now something south of $40 billion – they don’t have a full year to keep the promise). Couple that with the general proposition that you can’t cut military and entitlement spending, and you have some squeals coming from the hinterlands.
Well yeah, it’s an earmark but it’s a good earmark for this neighborhood. Here in Georgia, the state wants to dredge the Savannah River to accommodate bigger ships to attract imports and exports to the Port of Savannah. More traffic, more spending, more taxes and so on. But you see, we’d rather not pay for the project, which will cost a bit less than a billion bucks. But all of our Republican federal elected officials ran on the no earmark and cut spending pledges. They and their state Republican colleagues ran in large part by painting Obama and Washington as twin devils. They are twisting and turning trying to figure out ways to get the money out of the devil feds they reviled last fall.
Another example. Like any other state worth its salt, we’re outraged about the federal failure to protect our borders and stop illegal immigration, so we’re going to take it into our own hands. They had a hearing this week with testimony from Georgia’s agricultural interests. Turns out they aren’t too thrilled with the Arizona model of stopping, arresting and shipping out everyone with brown skin. Why you ask? Who’ll pick the peaches?
Those evil people in Washington that were the cause of all of our troubles also hold the answer to the dilemma of the millions in interest Georgia is supposed to start paying this year on the money it borrowed last year from the feds to pay unemployment claims. Obama has proposed deferring the interest owed by the states and there’s the rub. The local GOPpers are all for it. Their federal counterparts aren’t too thrilled with deferring billions in revenue needed to offset the cosmetic billions they want to cut.
Last fall, politicians talked the talk. With spring coming, they aren’t so much walking the walk as tiptoeing through the landmines laid by their rhetoric.