Today’s Miami Herald has an interesting piece about the unwillingness of Republicans to adhere to conservative principles in its implementation of laws at the state level if local authorities to do not either adhere to the legislative majorities special interest fueled talking points. In other words if the business and insurance lobbies do not like what local authorities are doing or school boards are not adhering to Jeb Bush’s education agenda, local control will be wiped out in favor of the big brother state of Florida.
The 14-year GOP legislative majority pattern of entitlement, cronyism and unwillingness to be accountable is once again on full display with multiple attempts at preemption, something the GOP has been doing since obtaining complete control of Florida government over a decade ago.
Senate President Don Gaetz cynically stated in the Herald piece:
“I understand that there are times when local [governance] is important,” said Senate President Don Gaetz, a Niceville Republican and former school superintendent. “There are other times when the state has a legitimate right as the parent of local governments…to exercise our jurisdiction.”
The odd thing is if this were said by a prominent Democrat, the conservative entertainment complex led by FOX News and Palm Beach County based Newsmax magazine (whose publisher Christopher Ruddy has emerged as a major national conservative opinion leader while giving large sums of money locally to Democrats) would brandish the person giving the quote as a “socialist.” Thus Gaetz is in many ways confirming what I wrote the other day about Soviet styled governing and thinking among the Republicans who control the levers of Florida government.
Since the Republicans took complete control of Florida state government in 1998 they have loved big government. In 1999, thanks to the NRA President Marion P. Hammer the legislature attempted to pass a law to prevent Miami-Dade county’s lawsuit against gun manufacturers. The Columbine tragedy happened the day the bill was on the House floor for 2nd reading and the bill was pulled. An amended version was passed the following year.
Consistently since 1999, when it has come to the education issue, Republicans have forced local school boards to adhere to initiatives and directives drawn up in Tallahassee and stifled any local innovation. They have also attempted to alter the funding formula to discriminate against counties that send more Democrats to the legislature. Ironically many of the ideas for preemption of local laws have come from the James Madison Institute founded by J. Stanley Marshall. The JMI has long been a major influence on the GOP led legislature and has always in theory advocated “federalism” but yet somehow county and municipal authorities do not matter in this odd interpretation of federalism.
We have even seen this year the efforts of the GOP to control outside non-governmental entities such as FHSAA. Republicans may wonder why Tea Party conservatives are so disaffected with the party after delivering the GOP its best election cycle in 2010 since 1952, they need not look any further than the phony soviet-styled conservatives running the Florida Legislature.