Bad blogger. Bad. Bad. Bad. The vagaries of work and the end of the school year/beginning of summer nethertime have allowed me to abandon both of my readers out there – and Chuck. I’m sorry.
In my absence, Paula Dockery has become a viable candidate for governor. If you doubt it, check out this poll published in The Sentinel
last week. It has her trailing Bill McCollum just 44-28 in the Republican primary. I have to say, as much as I like Sen. Dockery, I found those numbers shocking. She has a good chance of winning the nomination if she runs, I think. It seems fighting corporate giveaways is popular even among Republicans.
Dockery has assembled perhaps the strangest political image I’ve ever seen. She’s a moderate, populist, union and environmentalist-friendly consensus builder who is also known as a fighter and also the current darling of the Doug Guetzloe, Axe-the-Tax, Ron Paul right for her willingness to fight the government spending inherent in CSX/Sunrail. Throw in her appeal to professional women, and that’s a potent coalition. The challenge will be keeping that coalition together, if she decides to run.
Will her intellectual honesty, and willingness to stand up to anybody and argue on principle, keep the populist right wing on board if they perceive her to the left of the Ron Paul view of the world? It will be fascinating to watch.
During my absence, I also failed to respond to three good comments on my recent little post mentioning Seth McKeel’s failure to use the words Barack Obama in talking about how federal stimulus money held Florida education harmless.
The first two comments – from Bart and Jennifer – basically said, “Why you got to make this a Republican/Democrat issue?” (I’m paraphrasing. You can read the actual text for yourself.) They missed my point, which was to agitate for intellectual honesty. If Republicans want to use attacks on anti-recessionary spending as their political tack of choice – and they do – they should face the consequences of what that means. In Florida, that would have meant massive education cuts.
McKeel and the others should have owned those cuts. Sorry teachers, sorry parents. Our principles are sacrosanct. But modern conservatism seems unable to face the consequences of anything its leadership structure says it believes. (And don’t get me started on the consequences of conservative leaders like Limbaugh and Glenn Beck preaching faux apocalypse every day for money. Just check the news. )
Nor does have the intellectual honesty to acknowledge that it can’t face these consequences. To do so would mean actually working with President Obama, and matching his good faith, rather than calling him a socialist, while taking the money he fought for and put himself on the hook for, to bail out their states. I should clarify that I’ve never heard McKeel attack Obama, but I’ve also never heard him challenge his party leadership, which relentlessly attacks Democratic policies as fiscally unAmerican, or something.
In her comment, Jennifer said I was oversimplifying things. Yes, but I was actually trying to make a point about the rampant oversimplification one hears from ostensible Republican leaders.
Anyway, the third comment asked an excellent, biting question: “If Senator Dockery had made this statement instead of McKeel, would you have been short on editorial material?”
I take that as accusing me of treating our fine elected officials with something less than an even hand. If that’s the indictment, I plead guilty. I’m under no professional or personal obligation to pretend I see Paula Dockery and Seth McKeel as political equals, though I really don’t mean that as an insult to McKeel per se. He seems to be a very typical representative, doing the leadership’s bidding and not rocking the boat. There’s nothing really wrong with that, though it can certainly dull the intellectual honesty and ensure you’re quickly forgotten.
I’m actually not aware of Dockery’s take on using stimulus money to fill budget holes. I know she voted for the budget, and I don’t remember any attacks on Democrats as profligate. Moreover, she’s showed her willingness to ally closely with Democrats and cross her party and particularly its leadership on its top priorities. So has Dennis Ross, by the way, with insurance. Dockery and Ross both were willing to risk serious career consequences over principles that ran afoul of their party’s hierarchy. So maybe I’m a little more inclined to cut them slack.