We survived. We survived! The legislative session is over and Missouri is safe for another year.
I was about to write about the lackluster, unimaginative and useless 2012 session until I started my research Monday. By Tuesday morning, there were at least 20 editorials and news reports concerning our do-nothing legislature.
Although I am from the "other side," our own state Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, did make the moderate Republicans and liberals maybe not proud, but pleasantly pleased with his fighting for human rights, Mizzou and other issues that the right-wing right-wingers wanted to push through their emotion-filled, no need and silly agenda.
However, the end of this session may be the lull before the next storm. Maybe Schaefer’s attitude is a sign of things to come. Maybe it is the first sign of a coming rift caused by the churning magma just under the GOP’s lava dome.
The Republican Party, state and national, is starting some serious infighting concerning issues such as gay rights, same-sex marriage, immigration and other hot-button topics. The moderates of the party are finally taking a stance against the unfriendly takeover by the Tea Party and religious movements. Still there is a long way to go.
Although Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones, R-Eureka, called the 2012 session a success, it really was not “promises made, promises kept.”
The most important issues died on the vine. The Kansas City Public Schools are still unaccredited and without state oversight. The legislature did not redesign and approve the state’s K-12 funding formula. By refusing to reduce historic building restoration’s $140 million tax credits, the state GOP also did not renew the tax credits of child advocacy centers and pregnancy resource centers.
Oh yes, the worker’s compensation bill did pass, but it was so anti-employee that Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed it. Bills still waiting in the wings include one allowing companies to refuse buying any health plan that includes coverage that violates the employer’s religious or moral beliefs and the national Affordable Care Act coverage.
The confusing thing is that the conservative right, which supports individual freedom, is slowly taking it away by not allowing the individual the choice to use or not use medical insurance that is available at a reasonable or supplemented cost and taking away health care for our youth.
On a national level, hardline Republicans, Tea Partiers and conservative libertarians are still looking for a candidate who is not Romney. Issues such as the Affordable Care Act and the war in Afghanistan are splitting the party, and only one of the two presidential campaigns seems to be aware of this.
With the "anti-anything Obama" attitude and the movement to the extreme right, those sitting closer to the center-right are becoming rightfully concerned of House Speaker John Boehner’s and Majority Leader Eric Cantor's "take no prisoners" approach to politics.
Joe and Jane Citizen, Republicans and Democrats all, are tired of a decade of war and the same House leadership’s hardline, super-conservative "anything military" policies.
The extreme-right war-frenzied hawks, while wanting to cut the deficit, inflated the Department of Defense’s budget by $5 billion by adding their pet projects, including an East Coast missile defense system, while "rejecting Pentagon arguments that the facility is unnecessary," according to an Associated Press article.
Republican women are also stuck between a rock and hard spot by the far right. Does one side with her party or with the liberals concerning women’s health issues? In March, Bloomberg Report wrote,
"Americans overwhelmingly regard the debate over … employer-provided contraceptive coverage as a matter of women’s health, not religious freedom, rejecting Republicans’ rationale for opposing the rule. More than three-quarters say the topic shouldn't even be a part of the U.S. political debate."
And while the Republicans are claiming that the Democrats are kowtowing to special interest groups, the GOP is Tebowing to the right-wing extremists. In fact, the evidence appears to show that the GOP is refusing to listen to its own moderate members and those who usually support the Pachyderm’s positions. They are losing the old base.
That strategy is not a winning one for the GOP, and until they figure out that cooperation is better than hindrance, because good government is better than no government, losing big in November is almost guaranteed.
David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.