Helping Hands or Talking Heads? Trolling or Governance?

Two Unrelated Events Share an Interesting Connection


Event 1: The Insurrection in DC

One of the still evolving consequences of the January 6 insurrection was the dismissal of QAnon follower Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from any Congressional committee assignments. When asked what she would now do with her time, she said this freed her up to do what she wanted to do – make more speeches, fundraising, etc.

Right after she spoke, newly elected embarrassment to his district NC Rep Madison Cawthorn indicated he understood Greene’s point. He said he had built his own staff around “communication”. Not legislation, not constituent service, but making speeches and podcasts. How fortunate for his constituents (including me).

EVENT 2: The Texas Energy Collapse

Sure, the storm in Texas was a humdinger, but think about it. The corner of Texas not in the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) network, the one connected to the national grid, did fine. They never lost power or water. Clearly the completely deregulated (ignored) energy approach failed spectacularly. It did so predictably.

Experts told Texas back when Rick Perry was governor that they were cruising for a bruising. There was near zero incentive for companies to invest in hardening the system. The state had no meaningful oversight and could not prepare for the worst.

The results came roosting. Millions suffered, people died, millions are still boiling or hunting for water. It looks like a Third World country. And people are getting 4 and 5 figure energy bills to boot.

What Is the Connection?

It’s hard to imagine two more different events in two more different places. What connects them is the non-linkage between Republicans and Governance.

For a long time, I thought that I knew the problem with Republicans (or at least one of their problems). They had been so mired in the “government is the problem” mentality and the talk radio inspired approach of lead with criticism- always. They had forgotten how to govern, I thought.

I was off by an order of magnitude. Look at those like Greene and Cawthorn. They have a LOT of company. Look at almost everything about government in Texas. They have not just lost the ability to govern; they have lost interest in governing.

Nice Work if You Can Get It, I Suppose

We now have, more than ever, a class of politicians who love the trappings of office but have no aspirations to do the work. They love the megaphone of office. They get comfortable with thinking the rules don’t apply to them (Mask? Me?  Metal detector? Not me!).

There are members of Congress and at the state level who see their jobs as speechifying and stoking their base. No time to run the country. They don’t really care about governance or legislating.

There Is a Moral Component, Too

Lest we forget, much of what we become is anchored in what we value. I cannot imagine a better example of how far the Republicans have fallen than the following.

The head of the PA Republican Party raged at a PA senator who voted to convict Trump. He said:

“We didn’t elect him to vote his conscience; we didn’t elect him to do the right thing, or whatever. We elected him to represent us.” [meaning us Republicans, not the entire state].

This is what one gets from rot at the core.

     Bill Clontz

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