Wise men say…

If you are any semblance of an Elvis fan, you know the next phrase of this song is “…only fools rush in.” While this song is about not listening to your head and what others say, but rushing ahead with what your heart says, it does apply well to legislation. When legislators rush into anything, they will make mistakes. You can take that to the bank.

I cite four examples, two at the federal level and two at the state level. In North Carolina, our legislators called a special session last spring to pass the HB2 Law, henceforth known as the Bathroom Bill, in ten hours. They did not ask what others thought of this legislation. The transgender discrimination part of the bill was sold on fear, and when that is done, it is hard to back off. Yet, the part that ruffled the feathers of the NCAA, NBA and ACC as well as businesses and musicians, was the part that denied protection for LGBT members under the law. This is flat out unconstitutional, but since they passed it so quickly, they did not take the time to know this.

You would think our General Assembly would learn this lesson, but last month after it was official the new governor would be a Democrat, this impatient and power-hungry assembly met to address something more than hurricane assistance, which was the purpose for the gathering. They decided to strip powers away from the new governor. Mind you, the General Assembly already had a super-majority, but they had to flex their muscles and use a coup to grab more power. Even Republican voters thought this was poor form. Yet, our leaders in the General Assembly seem to not care what people think. As an Independent, I find this to be horrific legislation, an abuse of power and poor stewardship.

Not to be out done, the first measure our Republican friends in Congress wanted to change was the nonpartisan Ethics Committee. Over the chagrin of their leaders and after meeting in secret, they decided to restrict this ethics review process. After backlash from the public and with the President-elect piling on, they repealed the bill in less than 24 hours. When the President-elect, not known for his ethics, calls you on the carpet for ethics, you really screwed up. In my view, this may have been one of the more idiotic bills ever passed. The fact that this measure was the first thing that was done is outrageous and sets a tone of poor governance.

Which brings us to the rush to repeal Obamacare. This law is imperfect and complex, but is working pretty well. It does need to be improved and there are ways to do that leaving the framework in place. The administration is already built to accommodate some needed changes, so it is only for political reasons that it must be repealed first. I have written many posts, including the previous one, which shows how we got to this place, adds some needed truths, and asks for a data-driven change. Yet, if you govern off rhetoric, you suffer the consequences. The President-elect said he’s going to make benefits more generous and cheaper at the same time – that sounds like a TV ad for a new product, so good luck with that.

Wise men say, only fools rush in. These are four examples of foolish behavior that led to or are leading to poor legislation. The sad part is there are many more. Legislation is hard enough without rushing into it. When you do, mistakes will happen. I also believe, legislators don’t want citizens to take the time to see the real story. And, if you govern by tweet without input from advisors, you are being foolish.



21 thoughts on “Wise men say…

  1. Beautifully done! I love the way you use the wrap-around Elvis allusion to both introduce and conclude your thesis. That is truly elegant I am going to share this with cracker friends on Facebook and see if they dare to actually read it. They generally shy away from things that have the potential to change their minds.

    • Unfortunately yes. If NC is an indication, we have had five laws ruled unconstitutional on this watch with one pending. Plus, we rammed a through a pro-fracking bill, which was written by industry.

  2. Speaking about the repealing of Obamacare; I read an article recently that Republicans took a “vote-a-rama” with non-binding rapid fire amendments on Jan 12. Republicans voted against the 6 essential health benefits of the ACA:

    1. Protecting people with pre-existing conditions
    2. Letting young adults stay on parents plans
    3. Contraceptive coverage
    4. Medicaid expansion (this expansion has actually created thousands of jobs.)
    5. Protect children on Medicaid or CHIP
    6. Protect Veterans Health Care

    The article was by Thinkprogress.org, “In one night, the GOP voted to take away these 6 essential health benefits.” dated Jan 12, 2017.

  3. Dear Keith,

    These republicans keep promising things they really can’t deliver on but will end up taking a lot of time and money to look like they are doing something, which often backfires..But they need to save face like repealing Obamacare a million times never thinking that they would be in a position to actually do something but risk loosing the support of millions of other voters. Worse yet, as in NC, they loose a lot of monies as sports leagues, conventions, etc take their business elsewhere.

    Ethics is a pesky issue, Gronda

    • Gronda, data-centric decision-making is not the approach taken. The ethics decision was just plain unwise. In NC, the leaders do not care if their decisions garner criticism. Their usual defense is the Democrats did it when they were in charge, yet nothing is as extreme as it is now. Keith

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