Commentary

The hard reality of governing modifies a Tea Partier

In case you missed it earlier this week, Raleigh’s News & Observer is featuring Chris Fitzsimon’s excellent column from earlier in the week under the headline “In NC, a Republican lawmaker finds room to rethink.”

In it, Chris highlights the recent comments of conservative GOP state representative Bob Setinburg who, amazingly enough, stood up in public recently and admitted that the facts he had learned while governing in Raleigh had forced him to rethink one of his hardline, ideology-based positions — this one on business incentives. Let’s hope it’s just the start. As Chris writes:

“Steinburg used to think that but he knows better now because he has been meeting with constituents, hearing from his community leaders and local businesses and people who are looking for jobs.

Their struggles are more important to him than an economic treatise by a right-wing scholar on the shelf of a Raleigh think tank. And they ought to be.  That’s why Steinburg and his colleagues in the House and Senate are in Raleigh, to represent the people in their districts.

Think of how much better off we’d all be if Steinburg’s reasoning for rethinking his view of incentives was expanded to other issues facing the General Assembly.

Imagine if Senator Bob Rucho and his fellow lawmakers spent some time with folks who are still looking for a job and who have lost their unemployment insurance that used to help keep their lights on and gas in their car.

In a perfect world, there would be enough jobs for people who wanted to work, but this isn’t a perfect world and punishing laid off workers who can’t find a job doesn’t help, it hurts their families.

Maybe if House and Senate budget leaders spent a few days in a classroom with veteran 2nd grade public school teachers, they’d be less likely to fire teacher assistants or slash funding for textbooks or give only starting teachers a raise.

Maybe if the budget chairs would wander over the Department of Public Instruction and talk to the workers there once in a while, they’d be less likely to attack them as bureaucrats wasting taxpayer money and see their efforts to support small school systems or manage federal grants or improve student achievement.

The possibilities are endless. All it takes is for the folks running the General Assembly to follow Rep. Steinburg’s lead and step out of their ideological bubble and actually talk to the folks they are supposed to be representing.

Imagine how different things would be with a little less rigid ideology and a lot more responsible governing.”

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