Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Letters

January 22, 2013

Letter to the editor - Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013

Time to be citizen 1st, politician 2nd

Republicans in the Legislature are reordering their relationship with their constituency. They are either becoming more a citizen legislator or more a governing representative.

In normal times the two roles co-mingle even in the best of them. The most conscientious have found themselves in moments when they had to be just a bit of a mandarin to effectively meet the electorate’s expectations. Those most comfortable with that duplicity floated to the top and leadership. The least comfortable dropped to the bottom and ignominy.

Not so much any more. Hoosiers are focused on their own little budgets at their own little statehouses (in my case, the kitchen table). And they have become expert in the economics of our times — as expert as are their legislators, arguably more so in that they are dealing with their own money. And with the stakes so high, they are looking for representation that is above all authentic and trustworthy.

As a result, we are returning to a time when Hoosiers send legislators to the Statehouse as friends and neighbors, not as lawyers to court. The difference being that the former is expected to sincerely share our political, religious and philosophical beliefs, the later only to win the next case on the docket.

Earlier this month, coincidental to this trend, the governor’s office put down a uncommonly straightforward budget. It is surprisingly flat and thereby unassailable by the usual political means. Moreover, it appears to build on the fiscal structure of the Daniels administration but in a compounding way that begins to reduce the size of Indiana government.

That could mean surpluses, tax cuts and eventually the increase in private investment and jobs that economic historians tell us accompanies such policy decisions. At the least, it would send an economic message to the nation that Indiana “gets it.”

So who could be against that?

Yes, well, liberal Democrats of course, which is pretty much all Democrats these days. It threatens their core philosophy that governments, good times or bad, should grow larger to keep pace with the continuing advance of Homo sapiens toward the Utopia of moment.

Opposition also has come from the GOP leadership, at least initially. The body language is clear that attempts by any governor to make the Statehouse less palatine are unappreciated. Who will cut the deals, make the exceptions, apply the realpolitik so that everything comes out fair, balanced and neutral? Who will guide this historic supermajority? Who, in sum, will make the sausage we call state government?

“[The governor’s budget] puts transportation funding totally in the hands of the economy; if the economy tanks, there’s no transportation dollars,” complains House Speaker Brian Bosma.

To understand the difficulty of that position, ask your spouse to take a second job because you spent the grocery budget on beer. Under such calculation, the laws of economics don’t apply to government itself. And even past accounting and spending errors do not carry over to the next page. The leadership maintains it is supremely exempt from the rules the rest of us must live by, an expression of hubris that is always fatal.

So let’s hope the speaker and his friends take a step back in coming weeks. They need to listen to friendly advice that this is no longer about them. The state, the nation, is in full crises. Practically every issue headed their way will not be “politically survivable” in the old sense of the words.

Leadership being leadership will disagree. The tea party, it hopes, can be co-opted. The warning signs in the polling data are cyclical. Issues can be muddied, incongruity explained, embarrassments covered, the unruly disciplined, facts disputed, reportage skewed. Power always thinks it will hold.

More and more, though, the legislative rank and file recognize that it is time — time to do the right thing, to reorder that relationship with friends and neighbors, time to be a citizen first and a politician second.

The governor’s budget would be a great place to start, and the leadership be damned.

Craig Ladwig, Fort Wayne

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Letters
  • Letters to the Editor: April 16, 2014

    At the time the agenda for the April 7 commissioner meeting came out, I was happy to see that the neglected commissioner board appointments were finally going to be addressed. These appointments had been in limbo for months on end.

    April 16, 2014

  • Letters to the Editor: April 15, 2014

    In a recent “public eye” article written by KT columnist Scott Smith about the proposed industrial wind turbine project; mention was made of the “new deal” brokered by Howard County Commissioners with E.ON.

    April 15, 2014

  • April 14, 2014: Letters to the editor Watch for bicyclists on roadways, drivers When you ride a bike near a semi, there are at least four blind spots where the driver can't see you. We need to be careful when we ride near trucks. If we get hit by a semi, it's usually our fault. But we ne

    April 14, 2014

  • April 13, 2014: Letters to the editor Grade your elected officials, vote May 6 After attending the Tipton County BOC meeting on April 7, I felt compelled to share a few thoughts. I have tried to keep from attacking our local elected officials as much as possible and, instead, attack the

    April 13, 2014

  • April 11, 2014: Letters to the editor Eastern Howard Co. opposes wind farm The majority of people who live in eastern Howard County, including the entire Winger family, do not want wind turbines obstructing our view! We originally signed up with Horizon, thinking it was a win/win proposi

    April 11, 2014

  • April 10, 2014: Letters to the editor 'We have turned our backs on God' In light of the Fort Hood shooting this past week, why are we surprised when Spc. Lopez goes on a shooting rampage? We are quick to blame it all on guns and mental illness, but in reality, there is a deeper cause tha

    April 10, 2014

  • April 9, 2014: Letters to the editor Is America for sale? High court thinks so Today as I watched the news, I became more and more angry over the things that are happening in our judicial system and politics. I am a proud American, born and raised in the heartland. I was raised to belie

    April 9, 2014

  • April 8, 2014: Letters to the editor E-cigarettes pose risk to kids, adults I was very pleased to see the article "Safer cigarette?" that was published April 1. I was particularly happy to see the research quoted in the article bore out what I have already observed in our own community:

    April 8, 2014

  • April 7, 2014: Letters to the editor Water hike will drive away town residents With the recent passage of another water rate increase will come more foreclosures and hardships for the residents of Bunker Hill. Our claim to fame in the past was already our outrageous utilities. While I a

    April 7, 2014

  • April 4, 2014: Letters to the editor Immoral behavior can produce poverty In his letter expressing concern about children in poverty, a letter writer "wonders" how Jesus would respond. That is easy, because Jesus tells us. He tells his followers to respond with compassion. Christ instru

    April 4, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller