Thursday, May 7, 2009

Life Under Republicans: “That’s Crazy!”


ACK informs me via e-mail that the saggy pants bill was a Democratic idea. Very well. But hey, that doesn't mean the Republicans have to take that ball and run with it.


As we all know, Tennessee was one of the few states to take a huge step backwards last November and give Republicans control of our state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.

While the national media spent a lot of time evaluating President Obama’s first 100 days, I’ve been looking at what our Republican legislature has given us in that time-frame. Check it out America. Look what you’re missing out on.

Since the new legislature was sworn in, Tennessee has seen a rash of new gun legislation (allowing guns in bars, restaurants, state parks, playgrounds, everywhere except the State Capitol.) We’ve closed handgun permit records, in an effort to protect handgun owners. Gosh, I thought that’s what the guns were for to begin with.

We have a ban on saggy pants, a bill that would bar federal funding of Planned Parenthood, and a ban on texting while driving. We have bills to change how state Supreme Court judges are appointed. We have decided not to allow sale of wine in grocery stores and we will probably not implement the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act, which would replace our electronic voting machines with paper ballots.

We have the infamous "Baby Daddy Bill”, which says a man doesn’t have to pay child support if DNA testing proves he is not a child’s biological father. I’m curious to see if this lets adoptive fathers off the hook, too; divorce lawyers must be chomping at the bit to make that argument.

We have a bill declaring the state's sovereignty.

And lastly, the heinous SJ127 is moving forward, which states that the Tennessee constitution does not protect a woman’s right to choose.

In short, we have a wingnut’s legislative wet dream. What we don’t have is anything that actually helps you find a job or put food on your table.

Hey, Tennessee legislators: in case you haven’t noticed, the latest figures show Tennessee unemployment nearing 10%. Perry County had unemployment of 25.4%. That’s staggering -- that’s one-fourth of the entire county unemployed.

You guys don’t think that’s a problem? You’re worried about saggy pants and putting guns on playgrounds?

Also, it seems to have escaped the legislature’s notice that as of 2007, 840,550 non-elderly people in Tennessee had no health insurance. Expect that number to be higher today, reflecting the increase in unemployment. Nearly 350,000 of those folks were women, by the way.

So what’s our Republican-led legislature’s solution to this issue? Cut off federal funds from non-profit women’s health centers, of course. Because all of 3% of the services they provide are abortion related.

I guess the Republican-led state legislature doesn’t care if women have access to pap smears, STD testing, birth control, pregnancy care, etc.

So this is life under a Republican government. A lot of focus on shit that doesn’t really matter to people struggling to get by. And a lot of denial about priorities:
Q: Would you respond to the criticism that while the economy's tanking, the new Republican majority in the legislature has been spending all its time debating abortion and gun bills?

Ramsey: That's crazy. I challenge you. I want you all to figure up how much time that we've been on the Senate floor and I want you to figure out the percentage of the time that we debated abortion on the Senate floor. Point 2 or 3 percent or whatever, guaranteed. That's driven by editorial boards in my opinion. I want y'all to figure how much time we've been on the Senate floor and how much time we've debated gun bills. Less than 1 percent, I'm sure of that. That's wrong. That's flat wrong. We've been here doing the people's business and because those are glamorous, selling-newspaper kind of issues, that's what gets reported. But I can assure you, I guarantee you less than 1 percent of our time on the Senate floor has been spent on those bills.

Q: Well, what exactly what you guys accomplished?

Ramsey: There's lots of bills that we've passed dealing with AT&T deregulation ... I'd have to have that in front of me to be sure. But if I had a list of stuff, I could pick those out what we've done. Lots of different things.

Q: Nothing springs to mind, though, does it?

Ramsey: Well. ... It's no different from any other year. The big issues get pushed off until the end of the year. But all I'm saying is that to say that our time has been consumed debating abortion and guns is 180 degrees wrong, period.
Okie dokie. AT&T deregulation. Guess I missed that one.

My bad.

The rest of the country must be feeling pretty smart right about now.

And Tennessee Democrats, you aren't off the hook, either. Why aren't you holding the Republicans feet to the fire on this? Where are your bold initiatives for jobs and healthcare? Do you have any ideas I haven't been reading about in the papers? All I see is a bunch of drama over who {hearts} whom. C'mon, you're passing up a golden opportunity here to make the Republicans look like fools.