Sunday, September 18, 2016

Former Republican Governor Meets Real World

Former Kansas Republican governor Bill Graves just stepped down after 13 years running the American Trucking Association, the owners' industry and lobbying group, and in an interview with a trucking industry publication gently asserted that Republicans need to stop lying and that the US has to double its spending on infrastructure or the economy just can't grow. Many in the trucking industry, owners and drivers, are conservatives so it's no surprise that a comment after the article said that if gub'mint didn't spend all its money on welfare it'd have enough to fix them roads and bridges.

So would we end up with better government policy if more politicians, like Graves, had to work in the real world for awhile? No. Graves' Wikipedia article says he was a "moderate" Republican governor who often tangled with his party's conservative wing. It also says his parents ran a trucking company. They most likely weren't the Chamber of Commerce types, or typical American Trucking Association member types, who reflexively oppose any taxes, any spending, any wage increases, any anything. Trucking owners and drivers work in the real world and it doesn't make them want to look at welfare statistics that show that half as many people receive welfare as used to before Bill and Hillary Clinton "reformed" welfare.

Kansas, once the heart of "prairie populism," is now a very conservative state and has led the nation in things like restricting abortion. Tomas Frank's watermark 2004 book "What's The Matter With Kansas: How Conservatives Won The Heart Of America," after all, used Kansas as its prime example. The problem lies with the messaging. Republicans found out how to make it appeal to the emotions. They understand that we're irrational beings.

Democrats got beat at the PR game and instead of figuring out how to fight back just gave up. Many of them, like the Democrats we have in New Mexico, have switched sides and become fiscal conservatives.

Meanwhile the ride to Holbrook and back gets bumpier every night. The recent monsoon season took a severe toll on the roads. Some of the "whoop-de-doos" as you come off of overpasses are truly frightening now, and dangerous. They still fix the potholes but they do it cheaper every time. They replace overpasses now and then. I don't want to think about how they're cutting costs on those.

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