Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● The 94 Republicans who signed on to a bill that would keep candidates off the ballot who won’t — or can’t — produce evidence of their eligibility is being interpreted as a “birther” bill directed at President Barack Obama. This president should be defeated in 2012 on the basis of his record. Chances are good that he will. Win or lose nationally, he won’t carry Georgia. There’s no need, therefore, for state Republicans to gin up distractions now with legislation such as this. Bring it back in 2013. The state will survive in the meantime.
● Republicans should consider health care deals like the one embraced by Obama this week after three things happen. One is that the U.S. Supreme Court affirms that the Constitution’s commerce clause gives the federal government the power to force individuals to buy a product designated by Congress. Two is that Obama is re-elected in 2012 and has the votes in Congress to uphold a veto. Three is after Democrats retain the Senate and regain the House prior to the 2016 election. The president’s deal this week was an offer that states may be allowed to opt out of Obamacare “if your state can create a plan” that covers as many people at prices as affordable as the federally subsidized coverage and with benefits just as comprehensive without adding to the federal deficit. It’s the illusion of flexibility or compromise — Obama’s specialty.
● State Rep. Ann Purcell, R-Rincon, wants to change state law to permit motorcyclists to pass through red lights after pausing 60 seconds. Her argument is that some lights signaled by movement aren’t triggered by motorcyclists. Note to legislators: Not every idea that pops in the head, nor every “problem” identified by a constituent, should be brought before the Legislature. In some cases, legislators should smile, thank the constituent for the suggestion, and offer to take it under consideration.
● There are some Republican-only rules and standards being applied under the Gold Dome. One example is the effort by the state Senate Republican leadership to survey the caucus and determine whether the Sunday booze bill is moved to the floor for action. Leadership did, concluded that it was not worth the effort, and side-tracked the bill — something legislative leaders have done for generations. The bill’s supporters are indignant, insisting that the decision is illegitimate because it was made “in secret.” Nonsense. Never before has there been any expectation that leaders would produce a preliminary count of the yeas and nays and identify who’s for and who’s against.
● Be wary — very wary — of “reforming” the state’s tax structure by extending a sales tax to services, such as haircuts, home maintenance, health club memberships and shoe repair. Fiscal conservatives, to the extent they exist in the Republican Party, won’t be in charge forever. While they are, they should religiously avoid putting in place a tax system that future legislative big-spenders can exploit by slowly creeping up rates while employing a divide-and-tax strategy. Don’t build a life-support system for Big Government. Assuming they’re gone, one day they’ll be back.
● The Government Accountability Office, at the behest of U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R- Okla., finds that the federal government has created more than 100 programs dealing with surface transportation, 82 to monitor teacher quality, 80 for economic development, 56 for “financial literacy,” 20 for “homelessness,” 17 for “disaster preparation” and 47 for job training. No politician responsible for creating them wants you to know how well they work, or whether they do. That’s because monuments are built based on intent, not results, and success is judged by money allocated, not what it produces and not by what it delivers.