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Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Down in Flames

By Steven Taylor @ 6:30 am

The Alabama vote is in, and the Riley Plan lost 68% to 32%.

And now the fun begins: Riley hears message; cuts coming

Of course, as I said the other day:

Insanity has been defined as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We have done the same thing for decades—under-funded our schools and hoped that they would eventually improve. They haven’t . We aren’t ranked fiftieth, or near fiftieth in key educational indicators by happenstance.

Also, one wonders if Riley doesn’t now become essentially a lame duck, despite this being his first year in office.

Filed under: US Politics
  • The World Around You linked with Amendment 1 Defeated, Where Do We Go from Here?

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  1. I don’t think this issue has affected Riley’s popularity as much as people suspect. He still has a long haul until re-election.

    Comment by Kristopher — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 8:28 am

  2. While I am not wholly convinced he is a lame duck, I lean heavily in that direction. Indeed, there are some stark parallels here to the Siegleman vote on the lottery in 1999. It is an “all the eggs in one basket” kind of problem.

    Riley now faces a monumental test of leadership, political skill, and policy inventiveness.

    It is a daunting task at this point.

    Comment by Steven — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 8:37 am

  3. What a conundrum this issue must present for you, Steven.

    On one hand, you extol tax-cutting while claiming “special interests” have nothing but beneficial effects for politics.

    OTOH, you’re about to watch your state sink into the third world.

    It’s always amazing to watch conservative ideology run headlong into the wall of reality. The visual I’m getting is that moment when Wile E. Coyote realizes he has run off the cliff in his fanatical pursuit of the Roadrunner. He has only a brief suspended moment of hanging in mid-air, before he begins his plunge, as he gazes balefully into the camera and holds up a small sign which reads, “Uh Oh.”

    Comment by JadeGold — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 8:49 am

  4. What I find interesting is that even on an issue that you would allegedly have some common ground with me, you still choose to engage in vituperation. It calls into question (not that your posts don’t do this already) your intellectual honesty and whether you have any interest whatsoever in anything approaching an honest exchange of ideas.

    Indeed, it simply indicates that you are a partisan of the worst stripe, who is unlikely to ever be persuaded on any point of logic or reason regardless of the evidence presented. It confirms that I waste my time engaging you at all.

    Comment by Steven — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 8:54 am

  5. You’re just shooting the messenger, Steven. I think your ad hominems are just the not unexpected lashing out of someone who has begun to realize their professed ideology doesn’t work in the real world.

    Remember, Steven, the trainwreck coming in your state is the result of people sharing *your* ideology-not mine.

    Comment by JadeGold — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 9:16 am

  6. The trainwreck which may come is not the result of those who share Steven’s ideology. The trainwreck is coming because of the most in-effective check and balances system in the country. We have a number of legislators who depend on one person to do a job and then complain when that one person sneaks in something extra for themselves. If every member of the legislative and executive branches would do his/her job, we wouldn’t have many of the problems Alabama faces.

    “Special interests” only have as much influence as politicians allow them to have.

    Comment by Kristopher — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 9:24 am

  7. “"Special interests” only have as much influence as politicians allow them to have.”

    I’m done laughing now, Kristopher. That was hilarious.

    Time for a little reality check. The plain fact is that without special interest money, politicians would have to find another line of work. They wouldn’t get elected without special interest money. And this is true on the right and left sides of the political spectrum. Essentially, you’re demanding a politician give up any hope of reelection and do what’s right, regardless of the desires of that special interest.

    To stack the deck even further, conservatives have long poisoned the well against taxes. “It’s *your* money” they tell us. They also tell us how over-taxed we are and how Government is inherently wasteful and too large and a drag on private enterprise. They certainly don’t tell you how they propose to fund those services citizens demand such as schools, roads, police and fire protection, etc. Essentially, conservatives tell us there is a free lunch-that you can get all these services without paying for them.

    If you’re honest with yourself-look at how conservatives run their campaigns. Message one will always be “[Insert opponent name] wants to raise your taxes. [Opponent name] voted x times to raise your taxes. [Opponent name] voted for tax increases of y gazillion dollars. Vote for [conservative name]-he wants to cut your taxes. It’s your money-[conservative name] believes you should keep your hard-earned paycheck.”

    Comment by JadeGold — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 9:58 am

  8. Your excuse for logic is what I find hilarious. Let me give you a reality check. What is “special interest” money? The money follows the candidate’s position on an issue, not the other way around. Candidates are supported by the groups who agree with them ideologically and the money follows. You (and others) leap to the assumption that because a politician receives money from an organization they are “owned” by that organization. Money buys access for anyone who wants to get together and pony up the bucks, but individual constituents also have a lot of influence over their representatives.

    Now, back to Alabama. The problem does not come from “big money", we don’t have much of that in Montgomery. The issue comes from those who take the standard conservative position without even looking at reality (Steven is not one of these). The issue is when have we reached the level of too little taxes to fund basic services and a system that is fundamentally unfair. In other words government can be too small and there is such a thing as “paying your fair share".

    Comment by Kristopher — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 10:21 am

  9. That’s actually the point, Kris. The standard line on the right seems to be “any taxes are too much taxes". So this is continuously pounded in without a thought about what your taxes actually pay for, and what the world would be like without them.

    Right now, I don’t hear any democrats who are for taxes for taxes sake. I do hear a lot of republicans claiming this is the case, of course, and proclaiming they only want to steal your money.

    This leads to a disasterous debate. But the problem is, the issue of “no taxes", regardless of the cost, has become the defining issue of the republican party.

    Democrats can’t change this about republicans. Only republicans can.

    Comment by JohnC — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 11:16 am

  10. But Alabama has a very conservative Governor and thousands of his conservative supporters who were able to look at the situation we are in and acknowledge that more funds were needed to pull us up off the bottom. I think that is significantly different than the standard national debate.

    Comment by Kristopher — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 12:03 pm

  11. I agree. But the result was overwhelmingly defeated… I don’t understand the reasons, but I’d like to at least hear theories as to why.

    Comment by JohnC — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 12:41 pm

  12. You’re missing the point, Kristopher.

    Yes, AL has a conservative Governor. And he had the courage to acknowledge his state has a lot of problems that aren’t going to be solved by wishing and hoping. And he came up with a pretty eloquent plan to raise the revenues to begin to address these problems without inflicting a lot of ‘pain’ on those least able to afford it. For this, he deserves much credit; many conservative Governors, facing similar problems, are content to let their states slide down the tubes.

    And he got shot down in flames.

    Why? Because Special Interest groups have decided taxes are evil under any circumstance. What makes this even more odious is the prime movers to defeat Riley’s plan aren’t from AL. They dishonestly portrayed the plan as nothing more than a state Govt. giveaway to the poor.

    The problem is Repugs will never consider education as a vital investment. Instaed, they see education as something which only the wealthy ought to have.

    Comment by JadeGold — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 12:48 pm

  13. The standard theory seems to be the package was too large, too much change, too fast. The secondary theory is that Alabamians have a strong aversion to tax increases that overcomes just about anything else.

    The reality is that most people could not get a handle on what the package would mean to them individually. And an effective advertising campaign reinforced the notion that the money would just be wasted by the state legislature.

    Comment by Kristopher — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 12:49 pm

  14. JG,

    There you go grouping the Repugs together again. The problem with the Dems is that they think everyone who disagrees with them just doesn’t care. It’s not that Republicans don’t believe in education. It’s two issues (as I understand it, not being on that side of the fence):

    1) Too much money is spent on bureaucracy (i.e. disband the Federal Dept. of Education, State Dept. of Education, etc.) so more money will not fix the problems.
    2) The only way to improve the public schools is to give people an alternative (i.e. school choice, vouchers, etc.)

    We can debate the merit of these arguments, but they are not the arguments of someone who thinks education is only for the rich.

    Comment by Kristopher — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 12:54 pm

  15. JG,

    I am not lashing out, and my statements aren’t “ad hominems” (improper usage-would you please look this stuff up?). Indeed, they are the direct opposite: I am attacking your arugments and your style of argumentation. How can I attack you personally when I don’t know a single thing about you?

    I simply have dropped any pretense that you actually are interested in reasoned argument.

    Comment by Steven — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 3:03 pm

  16. In every conservative blog he/she comments on, Jade has always behaved like a Fray/Metafilter denizen, posting comments without paying attention to the relevant articles and hoping the sheer volume of the comments will be enough to disguise their thuggish mentality.

    With regard to the charge of “ad hominem” against Steven, trolls are always the first to hide behind the ad hominem shield even though they’re highly likely to be walking, talking ad hominem spouters themselves. Jade can’t even refer to his/her political opponents without ad hominems - “Repugs.” That’s about as idiotic as Freepers who spend all day typing “Hitlery Clinton.”

    Steven, my advice is to disengage from Jade and spend time talking to liberals who are worth debating/discussing issues with, like Mr. Constantine. If other commenters want to address Jade’s points, so be it, but don’t let yourself get dragged into responding to Jade.

    Oh, and about the tax reform vote, I agree with you Steven that it’s a shame that pragmatism was defeated by so-called “principle.” But Alabamans will have only themselves to blame when their social services grind to a halt. And grind they will.

    Comment by Matthew — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 5:04 pm

  17. “pragmatism was defeated by so-called “principle.” ”

    What did you expect, Matthew and Steven? You and your fellow ideologues preach about the undying evilness of taxes for the past 20+ years, you bludgeon any candidate who has the temerity to suggest there’s no free lunch, and then you’re shocked when some state decides they can and want to do even worse than last place.

    I can only shake my head.

    Honestly, it’s like a couple of pimps being shocked that prostitution exists.

    What makes this bittersweet (and I take no joy in watching what will happen in AL) is the fact Grover Norquist-the architect of this defeat in AL-is one of Dubya’s political masters.

    Comment by JadeGold — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 7:03 pm

  18. Matthew,

    Sage advice, and indeed, ’twas my original inclination. Indeed, I have now returned to said policy. As I noted as some point a while back, the professor in me makes it difficult not to want to correct idiocy and poor thinking, but so it goes (and I mean reasoning, not ideology).

    Not everyone really wants to truly engage in thinking discourse. Anyway…

    And Heaven knows I have enough work that needs attending to that debating JG is a waste of time (not that it is debating when someone is just shouting at you…).

    Comment by Steven — Wednesday, September 10, 2003 @ 8:45 pm

  19. Pols always risk their necks when they show guts like this. It’s always dicey when you say to people, “If you want it, tell me how to pay for it.” People don’t like being told there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

    The What Would Jesus Tax was a gutsy angle. Some people got a little pissed off when Jesus and religion was invoked for a cause that wasn’t right wing. (Jesus would’ve been a 60s hippie if he hadn’t died when he was 32)

    Comment by Brian — Friday, September 12, 2003 @ 6:50 pm

  20. Comment by Deleter Spy — Monday, July 12, 2004 @ 3:06 am

  21. Comment by Anonymous — Tuesday, August 10, 2004 @ 3:16 pm

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