Friday, January 16, 2009

Beebe to Ledge "All or Nothing"

The Arkansas Legislature as seen by Governor Mike Beebe after a fine afternoon's walk through the muddy, manure strewn fields.
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Governor Mike Beebe has told the legislature through his spokesman that it is "all or nothing" on his multi-faceted health care plan. Increasingly, legislators are being treated as irrelevant, on both the state and federal levels.

This is the exact opposite of the way that our system is supposed to work. The legislature is supposed to be the most powerful branch of government, and the executive exists to carry out or "execute" the will of the legislature. Now we have executives telling the legislative branch what laws they can pass. We have Bush using "signing statements" to circumvent the clear intent of legislation that has been passed, so this is not a party-specific problem- It's a sign of the times. And the ledge has been getting run over by the judiciary, even in things that are clearly under the purview of the ledge like spending levels, for years.

We are increasingly drifting towards authoritarianism on both the state and national levels. Dissent, even among the legislative branch on policy, is made increasingly more difficult. Even communist governments had rubber-stamp legislatures to give a cover to dictators. Iraq under Saddam had a legislature. Having a legislature is no protection of the liberties of the people unless they actually perform the job of a legislature. They are the ones who are supposed to make the rules. Can significant bills that don't start out as a submission from the executive branch still get passed into law ?

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