‘Nonpartisan’? Who are you kidding?
It was not for nothing that wags once said, “Lock up your women and children and bury your gold in a safe hiding place. The Georgia General Assembly is in session.”
I often wonder how bad would it be, really, if one year the legislature just simply did not convene. How bad could it be that all those lawyers and oh-so-helpful legislators would just stay home and confine their helpfulness to their immediate family?
Oh, well, one can dream.
An example of how staying at home would be much better for all of us comes courtesy of Representative Allen Peake (R-Macon) who has deposited House Bill 682 in the pre-filing hopper.
His bill “would allow counties to petition their local legislative delegation to make the office of county commissioner, along with other county-wide elected offices, non-partisan.”
If there is a more stupid idea than the myth of “nonpartisan” politicians, I have yet to hear it.
Why would anybody want such a change? Let Rep. Peake (a Republican!) explain it:
“My local elected officials asked me to introduce this bill so they can more effectively work together and solve problems that matter to local taxpayers,” said Rep. Peake. “Since Georgia has a long tradition of providing flexibility at the local level for self-government, I think this bill makes sense and I look forward to debating the merits of this legislation with my colleagues during the upcoming General Assembly.”
This bill is good only for politicians, not for real-world voters.
Think about it: Every elected official has some preconceived, maybe even lifelong, philosophy of governance, some notion of how the public purse ought to be protected or spent and on what.
Party labels are like “truth in advertising” labels for the general public. Democrat and Republican are handy, if crude, descriptions of how an individual views government and the exercise of the levers of power.
And this Republican from Macon wants to take away what little descriptive labels we poor voters have left with which to choose from among all those selfless persons who “just want to give something back” by taking charge of our tax money.
As Peake’s news release explains, “This process would mirror the one already in place for the offices of school board members and probate judges, which presently have the option to become nonpartisan through a local act. In Georgia, 107 counties have chosen to create either a non-partisan county school board and/or a non-partisan county probate judge.”
And have we the voters gained any useful information by unlabeling these politicians?
I am for more partisan labeling, not less, because it’s my money that nonpartisan politician wants to take by force of law out of my pocket and spend on whatever that nonpartisan politician thinks is important and appropriate, based on his/her governing philosophy.
A party label would help some — just some — in determining what that philosophy is and would thus be protective of the taxpayer and the taxpayer’s money.
With no party label, you are taking a shot in the dark and placing your money — literally — on somebody about whom you know only platitudes and sound bites that obfuscate more than illuminate.
It’s in the politician’s own best interest to provide as little real information to the voter as he/she can, because you can fool more people more often that way.
Yes, I recognize there are Republicans who spend like Democrats and I am prepared to accept the (so far) theoretical possibility that some Democrats could, in some alternate universe, actually cut both spending and taxation.
But I am really dreaming now.
The news release notes that “Rep. Peake also serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the House Republican Caucus.” This guy is one of the Republican wheels in the House.
So this is what are calling themselves Republicans nowadays.
Lock up your women and children, and hide your treasure in a safe place. The Republicans are in session.
And on a completely separate issue, I have one more sure sign that American culture is on the skids.
For the first time in my lifetime — and so far as I know, for the first time in more than 90 years, since they were invented — there was no college football bowl game played on New Year’s Day.
How can it be New Year’s Day without a college football bowl game being played?
For most of my life, you could count on one thing: By the end of Jan. 1 of whatever year, one could know with certainty the winners and losers and who was Number One in the only game that really mattered.
Not any more.
In the world I remember, Alabama should have played LSU Sunday night and beaten the Tigers by one field goal to win the national championship on the field of play — on New Year’s Day!
Forget the Mayan calendar and the end of the world. No bowl game on New Year’s Day? The world has already ended.
[Cal Beverly is editor and publisher of The Citizen.]