(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To This Post)
Being our semi-regular weekly survey of what’s goin’ down in the several states where, as we know, the real work of governmentin’ gets done, and where dogs run free, so why not me?
I guess we should start this week’s tour in Kentucky, where the Republican majority in the state legislature is making all kinds of noises about how, as far as they’re all concerned, the wrong person got elected governor on Tuesday. From the Louisville Courier-Journal:
Stivers' comments came shortly after Gov. Matt Bevin refused to concede to Attorney General Andy Beshear, who led by roughly 5,100 votes when all the precincts were counted. “There’s less than one-half of 1%, as I understand, separating the governor and the attorney general,” Stivers said. “We will follow the letter of the law and what various processes determine.” Stivers, R-Manchester, said based on his staff’s research, the decision could come before the Republican-controlled state legislature. Under state law, Bevin has 30 days to formally contest the outcome once it is certified by the State Board of Elections. Candidates typically ask for a re-canvass of voting machines and a recount first. The last contested governor's race was the 1899 election of Democrat William Goebel.
(It should be noted here that things didn’t work out that well for Goebel back in the day. He lost by somewhere around 2,200 votes to William Taylor after a chaotic Democratic nominating process. Whereupon, the assembly ratfcked Taylor out of his victory and, the day after Goebel was declared the winner, somebody shot him to death, but he lingered long enough to be sworn in. He’s still the only sitting state governor to be assassinated. Meanwhile, the ringleader of the plot to kill Goebel did a little time and, upon release, got elected to Congress four times, because, you know, America.)
Suffice it to say, this would be ratfcking of the highest parliamentary order, but it also is yet another indication that the authoritarian rot that produced the current president* is present in the Republican Party at all levels. Democratic success in elections, unless it is achieved by overwhelming margins, is in the eyes of Republicans prima facie illegitimate. It started with Bill Clinton and it’s gotten worse ever since.
And, if you need further proof, take a jaunt with us up to Wisconsin, where the voters had the audacity to vote in Tony Evers, a Democrat, and turn out Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage that particular midwest subsidiary. Ever since Evers was inaugurated, his agriculture secretary was a man named Scott Pfaff. This week, the Republican majority in the state legislature fired him. Their excuse was that Pfaff had put in place new manure storage rules that would hurt the state’s farmers. (This ignores the fact that the largest manure storage unit in Wisconsin is the building in which they work in Madison, but we digress.) The state’s Democrats—and Evers—believe that the reason was even more heartless than that. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Evers said the lawmakers were punishing Pfaff for sticking up for farmers and publicly criticizing Republicans who control the Legislature for holding back suicide prevention funds. "If I was a total cynic I'd say, 'Keep your damn mouth shut,' but I'm not. I want them to be forthcoming. I want them to be professional. That's why we hired them," Evers said, referring to other cabinet members who have not yet been approved by the Senate. "To think that they're going to have to keep their mouth shut for the next, who knows — four years — in order to get approved by this Senate, this is just absolute bullshit.”
Support for Pfaff faded after the Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously recommended confirming him in February. Fitzgerald, who is now running for Congress, was angered in July when Pfaff criticized GOP lawmakers for not making available $100,000 for mental health services for struggling farmers that was included in the state budget. Fitzgerald told Pfaff his comments were "beneath your position.”
Wisconsin’s agriculture industry—particularly the state’s dairy farmers—has been battered economically over the past decade, and the current trade war was gasoline on the bonfire. The state lost 700 dairy farms in 2018 alone. Naturally, this has been accompanied by a sense of despair among the people who made their living in the industry. Who knows? Maybe they were tired of all this winning. Anyway, Pfaff wasn’t shy about expressing his opinion. Again, from the Journal-Sentinel:
"There’s no two ways about it: Republicans have chosen to leave farmers behind," Pfaff said after Republican lawmakers on the finance committee rejected Democratic members' request to vote on releasing the funding allocated in the state budget. "As of today, (the Agriculture Department) has funding to provide just five more counseling vouchers to farmers in need of mental health care," he continued. "If the Joint Finance Committee doesn’t want to move this funding forward immediately, then they have a choice to make: Which five farmers will it be?”
Fitzgerald’s fee-fee was so wounded by these comments, which were made back in July, that he had no choice but to retaliate this week. If he hadn’t, Evers might have thought he was the governor or something.
And we conclude, as is our custom, in the great state of Oklahoma, where Blog Official Saloon Pianist Friedman of the Plains brings us the saga of something I fear we’re all going to have to deal with when this great scourge of an administration* finally is no more. From KTUL News:
Two Republican state senators have written a bill to rename a portion of the world-renowned Route 66 highway in northeastern Oklahoma the President Donald J. Trump Highway. Sens. Nathan Dahm of Broken Arrow and Marty Quinn of Claremore announced Tuesday their plans to introduce the bill. The bill would rename a roughly 13-mile stretch of Route 66 from the town of Miami extending north and east through the town of Commerce to Industrial Parkway in Ottawa County.
You just know that he’s going to be bribing people to name stuff after him until two weeks after he’s dead. Hell, his only real skill in business was getting people to name stuff after him. Your grandchildren one day may go to Donald J. Trump High School. This is the nightmare we have chosen.
This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.
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