Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Against a Strong Governor

So a friend of mine was telling me about the recent "Benton County Tea Party" meeting at which the "other candidate" in the Republican Race for Governor, Representative Debra Hobbs of Rogers, was among the speakers.   She said that one Republican legislator, who she would not name, voted for the "Private Option", Arkansas' version of Obamacare, because Governor Mike Beebe's goons threatened to pull the state license for his business if he didn't.   This legislator had apparently had that license pulled once before leading to a financial rough patch that took years for his family to recover from.    He folded.

During the same conversation I asked my friend what he thought of Hobbs as a candidate.  He said he liked her but complained that he did not think she would be "a strong Governor."     I told him "to me that's a plus, not a minus."  I am not a fan of a strong executive.   It tends toward tyranny.

Love him or hate him, Mike Beebe is a "strong Governor".    The reason he is strong is that he is willing to do things like abuse the state's professional licensing process and use GIF money to bribe legislators.   That is what it takes to be a "strong Governor" in Arkansas, because our state constitution established a very weak executive by the letter of the law.  They way you get strong therefore, is to go beyond that letter.

The other way a Governor is strong is to follow in lock-step with the agenda of his national party.   That way the legislators from his or her party are even more afraid to buck them, because they will fear the wrath of the whole party, not just the one executive.   If you are comfortable with a governor who is an enforcer for the elites of one of the two major parties, then vote for a "strong governor."   My own view is that of the Founders, that the legislative branch ought to be first among equals, with the executive branch simply there to execute the laws passed by the legislature.

If a "weak Governor" is one who faithfully serves and carries out the will of the people in the form of the laws passed by their representatives in the legislature rather than trying to ram through their own agenda, then put me down in favor of a "weak Governor."   I will take service over imperiousness in our elected officials any day.

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