I’m working on a post for Pith about Ramsey’s desire to have the Legislature force the Attorney General to file a lawsuit against the Federal Government, when such action seems to me to be in direct violation of the State Constitution. The Judicial branch is supposed to be separate from the legislative branch. The Legislature can’t dictate to the Attorney General what specific cases he has to take up since the State Legislature is neither the boss of the Attorney General nor somehow above the Judicial Branch in some kind of hierarchy of the state.
There’s an irony in violating the State Constitution in order to “defend” the Federal Constitution, which is made greater when one considers that the would-be violator wants to run the state.
But the thing that concerns me most is that a couple of people running for governor seem not to understand that they’re not running to be king of the state for four years. They aren’t just going to sit in the Governor’s office and point at things and say “Make it so!”
I worry about this on the left, too, with the amount of people who are mad at Obama for not, say, making gay marriage legal. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of folks who mean “I’m pissed that Obama is not throwing his political weight around in order to pressure Congress to act on this.” That’s cool. I’m not talking to you people.
I’m concerned about the folks who seem to think we elected Our Dictator and fuck him if he’s not waking every day to point at our issues and saying, “Make it so!”
I’m wondering how many people in this country, even people who get elected to office and who make runs for governor, don’t really understand how our government is set up and how it functions. It kind of concerns me.
Your post reminds me of an old Country Song, I think that was sung by Eddie Arnold. ” Well come to my World “.
I think maybe they know how separation of powers work but don’t believe in its efficacy. We have gone through a period where the executive branch has inflated (through fair means and foul) its powers so drastically — and where countering that power-grab meant focusing all one’s ire on the executive branch — that I understand that people all over the political spectrum can be confused about the appropriate limits of executive power.
Also, what concrete pieces of legislation has the Tennessee legislature put through recently to benefit the majority of the citizens of the state? Jobs creation? No. Improved social services? No. Commitment to infrastructural improvements? No. Instead, what you’ve gotten from the legislative branch is a lot of immature goobs endlessly positioning themselves for an endless election cycle rather than…you know, governing. With such an ineffective bunch milling around, citizens rightly understand them as a group of grandstanders and want to bypass them if they want any substantive results. The only time the federal Congress makes the news is when it is making people angry or doing nothing. (My own state legislature is grievously gridlocked on budgetary issues and the whole state is suffering due to a high-level pissing contest between men who would be king of the Senate.) When the institution of the legislature isn’t working productively, citizens can be forgiven if they would just like to turn to one guy who they can hold accountable and keep track of.
It’s not so much laziness as a desperate response to how things are and a distrust in democratic engagement.
That Ramsey ad makes me see red (ha!) every time it comes on. “If they don’t like it, we’ll incite Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo.”
Are you kidding me?
Mike Turner, you make me laugh!
Bridgett, I think you’re definitely on to part of it, but that doesn’t explain the shockingly weird presumptions by our elected officials, some of whom act as if they’re running for king.
Samantha, I was just thing about that! The Feds wouldn’t even have to fight us. They’d just have to shutter the military bases in or near Tennessee and cut off all other federal funds and wait us out.
What I don’t understand is why the amount of money this bullshit lawsuit will cost is not part of the discussion especially considering the Tennessee Republicans are branding themselves as being “fiscally responsible.”
I now have a mental image of these people wearing some homecoming or prom king sash. They’re apparently giving it about as much thought: to them, it’s all about popularity with no responsibility on the back-end.
Southern Beale – Both Aunt B and I have brought it up.
Why others aren’t talking about it, I can’t tell you. Or, at least, I can’t find words fit for polite discussion.
I conditionally disagree, Bridgett. When the legislature isn’t working properly, it’s the fault of the citizens. I know so many people who are up to date on the latest happenings in whatever sport or reality TV show, but who don’t know their state and federal districts or the names of many of their elected representatives. If people have the time for American Idol or fantasy football, then they have the time to do their homework as citizens.
But as you say yourself, Sam, knowledge does not magically become power. I can know my district and the name of my representatives; I can be current on the issues and active in trying to shape the debate. And, for reasons that you and I know all too well, I can still lack efficacy and not actually be getting the representation that I’m working towards.
While I agree that there are plenty of people choosing not to concern themselves (because bitching or plastering on a bumper sticker is infinitely easier than doing the hard work of cutting a deal everyone can live with), we’re left in some states with situations in which the institutions that purport to be democratic are responsive only to their own entrenched interests and not to the people that are notionally represented.
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