Little left to say, except it’s time for lawmakers of both parties in the House to set aside all the B.S., lay down their insecurities, eschew their customary fecklessness, man up and veto those indefensible vetoes. I’m talking about this veto and this one and this one and most of the others.
I’ve really had it with the argument from the GOP leadership that they just have to sustain most of these vetoes. Kenny denied it the other night when I asked whether Nikki Haley’s strong showing last week had scared the leadership into thinking they have to go along with the Sanford nihilists, even though they’ve slapped him down every other time (even when he had a case, which he doesn’t this time). But I’m convinced that’s the only logical reason to explain this fear to do the right thing. Cindi thinks so, too. And Cindi knows WAY more about the budget process than I do. You’ll note that she gives the governor credit where he deserves it, on fairly marginal issues that don’t involve much money (Cindi has always been much more inclined than I am to reach WAY out to try to find some things to give the governor credit on), but she concludes with this cold bath of common sense:
Most insidious is his repeated implication that by vetoing what he considers frills, he will cause the money to be spent on “core services” of government. Now, I’ll be the first to agree that, as he puts it, “the vast majority of this year’s budget should be directed to core government functions like public safety, education, and health care.” But the facts are that 1) that already is happening and 2) his vetoes do not redirect money from “frills” to “core services”; they simply allow the money to sit in the bank for a year.
I have long believed that the Legislature needs to either increase taxes or else eliminate some programs or agencies altogether (and probably eliminate some even if it does raise taxes). But that’s a decision that needs to be made in an orderly way, by a clear majority in the Legislature — not by a disgraced lame-duck governor with an ax to grind and a third of the members of the House. And perhaps not even by a Legislature that is too frightened of its own shadow to make rational decisions about the responsibilities that come with insisting on operating the government. If lawmakers can’t override most of the governor’s vetoes this week, perhaps they should make arrangements to come back to town later this summer, when emotions have settled down, to consider taking some of the money Mr. Sanford wants to squirrel away and using it to patch critical holes that he has created.
And as for you Democrats: I was much reassured by James Smith telling me yesterday that the Dems would override (with the caveat that while that was the leadership position, Dems don’t do bloc voting), but then I read the paraphrase of Joe Neal in the paper this morning saying Democrats have not decided how they will handle Sanford’s vetoes today and I wonder: Will they stick it out and do the right thing? (And you know what? This is one case in which we actually NEED the Dems to vote as a bloc, because that might embolden the jittery mainstream Republicans.)
If they don’t, and if the Republicans (minus the Sanford loyalists) don’t, then on the whole they are useless.