Will the shark jumping continue?

As Chris Fitzsimon noted with some biting and on-the-money humor last week, conservative state political leaders appear to have reached the point in the 2013 legislative session at which they have ”jumped the shark.” For those who may not have caught the cultural reference, the phrase derives from a late-20th Century TV sitcom called “Happy Days”; the show was widely seen to have reached its nadir during an episode in which one of the main characters jumped over a shark while water skiing.

For conservatives, it’s hard to point out just one shark-jumping moment in their script, but as Chris notes, the bill to excuse the state from the First Amendment’s establishment clause seems like a strong contender.

Rob Christensen of Raleigh’s News & Observer wrote a rather curious column over the weekend in which he alleged that GOP leaders had basically gotten all the shark-jumping ideas under control, but judging by the agenda for the coming week (destruction of the state tax code, mandatory voter ID, selling off the state’s award-winning Medicaid system to privatizers, more hostile takeovers of the assets of unfavored municipalities, just to name a few) the leaders have a strange way of showing it.

Indeed, what Christensen didn’t mention about the crazy state religion bill is that it wasn’t just the work of extreme outliers; it was in fact endorsed by nearly one-in-five House Republicans. As Fitzsimon noted:

“Among the 14 Republicans who signed the state religion resolution are House Majority Leader Edgar Starnes and Appropriations Committee Chair Justin Burr, two senior members of the House leadership team.”

It’s also rather interesting that Christensen said nothing critical about the notion that House Speaker Tillis can simply kill a proposal unilaterally — an idea that would have generated all sorts of criticism in past years if it had been done by Marc Basnight or Joe Hackney.

The bottom line: If conservative state leaders have the shark jumping under control, it’s sure not apparent to average North Carolinians. That’s one of the reasons a lot of them will be descending on Jones Street tomorrow to protest the out-of-control behavior of state lawmakers. These folks understand that with the bill introduction deadline for House members still two weeks away, there are still probably a lot of extreme twists in the 2013 session script yet to come.

 

11 Comments

  1. HunterC

    April 8, 2013 at 9:29 am

    When did a poll tax become “moderate” or less than crazy?

  2. Alex

    April 8, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Let’s face it ! Pat is just rocking the old-line establishment’s world in North Carolina, and they are wandering around like a punch-drunk fighter looking for his corner. We’ve had a series of do-nothing governors in this state for so long that we’ve forgotten what real change looks like. It’s about time we finally get this state moving again !

  3. Doug

    April 8, 2013 at 10:53 am

    These leftists are only in a hysteria because someone is actually doing something, and it is not how they would do it.

  4. david esmay

    April 8, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Let’s face it!! These Right wingnuts and McClueless want carte blanche to inflict damage to the state’s economy and the civil rights of it’s citizens by rehashing failed conservative policies that create a corporate socialist government!!

    These neo-cons think they are actually doing something when the reality is they are only doing what their told to do by corporate interests.

  5. Doug

    April 8, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I guess these leftists know what they talk about since they jumped years ago.

  6. Alex

    April 8, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    esmay should just copy and paste his responses because regardless of the topic, all we ever get are the same old tired cliche’s and name calling. I wouldn’t even waste my time typing this garbage over and over !

  7. Gene Bridges

    April 8, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Doug writes; These leftists are only in a hysteria because someone is actually doing something, and it is not how they would do it.

    Of course, the reason ‘these leftists” are in ‘hysteria” because of what’s being done is that what’s being done has a proven track record elsewhere. Maybe Doug can answer a question for us here. If current Republican ideology is so prosperous and works so well, why do so many strongly Republican states rank so poorly in education, median family income, infant mortality, life expectancy, and numbers of average citizens with health care coverage? Why do the Red States take more federal dollars, for example, for social safety net programs than Blue States?

    Doug also has a short memory. One of the reasons “these leftists” are “hysterical” about how things are being done is because, to take a few glaring examples, we’ve had a series of bills that were literally proposed on one day, went through committee, and then voted on the first readings just days afterward. For the party so concerned about “tyranny” the actions of this General Assembly strike me as the very defintion of that term in the earliest days of this session.

  8. Chris

    April 8, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    The argument that “at least they are doing something” is a bad argument. If that is the best defense for feckless Republican actions, then you ought to do everyone a favor and just remain silent.

  9. Alex

    April 8, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    You can ask the same question as to why are Illinois and California bankrupt if Democratic principles are so great ?A lot of the older red states were agricultural, and did not have the industrial base as the North.The new red states are doing very well.

  10. Doug

    April 9, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Gene,
    To paraphrase what I have posted on other blog entries: The liberal policies that are advocated all over this site have crashed and burned even harder everywhere they have been tried…..it is not just because you guys have not been the one to try them, but the fact that a socialist welfare state does not work. It may feel good, but it just simply does not work to “redistribute the wealth”. All that happens is that the productive people go elsewhere to start over where there is more freedom, and government stays out of the way.

  11. Gene Bridges

    April 9, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Doug writes: The liberal policies that are advocated all over this site have crashed and burned even harder everywhere they have been tried.

    This is non-specific. But that’s to be expected from somebody who calls a regulatory economy a “socialist welfare state.” (it would only be “socialist” if you were writing from a fascist perspective). It’s also non-responsive. I specifically asked you about *Republican* states. The policies *you* advocate don’t result in much good in *Republican* states. That’s a fact. You’re now guilty of trying to deflect away from the original question.

    Doug continues: it just simply does not work to “redistribute the wealth”

    For starters, that’s an assertion, not an argument. That said: Yes, corporate welfare that redistributes wealth to the top doesn’t work. Thank you for that admission. Of course, we all know that what you’re really doing is substituting question begging libertarian jargon for principled discourse.

    Doug meanders on: All that happens is that the productive people go elsewhere to start over where there is more freedom, and government stays out of the way.

    More question-begging adjectives in lieu of a reasoned argument, this time inserting the word “freedom” and a libertarian axiom.

    Alex writes: You can ask the same question as to why are Illinois and California bankrupt if Democratic principles are so great ? Funny you should mention California. California went into the hole while their legislature, under Republican Governors, enacted de facto austerity measures. *That* is a large part of their problem. However, now, under those “Democratic* principles you don’t like so much, they are in the midst of an ever growing, but slow, recovery. In fact, their about to run a budget surplus. Try to stay abreast of current events, even if they undermine your own arguments.