Republicans get into a lot of trouble when the public finds out how they really operate and what they really think. We usually have a pretty good idea of their disdain for people who weren’t born rich, women, racial minorities, the LGBT community, real or perceived political opponents and anyone else who thinks for themselves.
Yet, nothing drives home the point as well as videos and other communications in their own, uncensored, unspun words.
Mitt Romney saw what little chance he had of winning the presidency blow up in his face with his 47% comments captured on video for all of America to see. Even the party faithful couldn’t deny what most of America knew.
Chances are if Republicans do a post mortem on the corpse of Chris Christie’s political career, they’ll conclude that the culprit was staffers using email and text messages – not Christie’s penchant for using gangster tactics to achieve the bi partisanship many Republicans saw as his ticket to the White House in 2016.
While we were focused on Chris Christie, Republicans in North Carolina were busy trying to quash a subpoena for emails and other communications they created or received on the “rationale, purpose and implementation” of House Bill 589, aka the most egregious vote suppression law in the country.
It begs the question– what do they have to hide? We already know that Republicans in North Carolina and a host of other red states passed “voter ID” laws to suppress the vote. Republicans, including one from North Carolina, admitted it and studies consistently prove it.
Moreover, North Carolinians are abundantly aware that Republicans have done much more than pass new voter ID requirements. They eliminated straight party ticket voting, early voting, voter awareness programs and pre-registration while making it easier for corporate outsiders to buy North Carolina’s elected representatives. The vote suppression law is one of the many reasons an estimated 80,000 North Carolinians joined the Moral Monday’s march in Raleigh last weekend.
Art Pope’s Republicans eliminated the earned income tax credit for 900,000 North Carolinians while slashing taxes for the richest people in North Carolina. They declared a savage war on the poorest North Carolinians with their denial of Medicaid coverage for 500,000 people and ending federal unemployment benefits. The Republicans that only the Koch Brothers could love also cut pre-K for 30,000 kids while shifting $90 million from public education to vouchers for charter schools and home schools. Rmuse’s post on the reasons Republicans want to spend your tax dollars on private schools and home schooling is a must read.
With an agenda like this, it isn’t a stretch to see why Republicans fear being held accountable by an informed electorate. Even if Republicans won’t admit it, North Carolinians long to wake up from the nightmare created by the radical policies envisioned by Art Pope’s puppet in chief, Pat McCrory.
Even Republicans know that they can’t beat a subpoena by claiming they might be embarrassed or lose a few votes if these documents are released. So they are hoping to hoodwink the court by claiming legislative immunity.
But here’s the argument that really caught my attention.
The leaders also argue that legislative immunity frees legislators not only from the consequences of litigation, it also frees them from the burden of defending themselves.
Republicans are arguing that the accountability that comes with governance in free societies is a “burden” they just don’t want to be bothered with.
Last month, a Winston-Salem Journal editorial countered this argument effectively and succinctly.
This isn’t a question of legislative immunity. It’s a matter of open government.
North Carolina law requires open public meetings and public records so the public can make that very kind of determination about the government that writes their laws.
Openness, accountability and transparency are all four letter words to Republicans in North Carolina and elsewhere because it means even the lowest information voters in their base will understand the true nature and intent of Republican policies.
Ms. Woodbury has a graduate degree in political science, with a minor in law. She is a qualified expert on political theory with a specific interest in the nexus between political theories and models and human rights.
Based on her interest in human rights and the threats that authoritarian regimes are to them, Ms. Woodbury’s masters thesis examined the influence of politics on the enforcement of international criminal law was cited in several academic studies.
Published work includes case summaries for the War Crimes Research Office.
She has an extensive background doing legal research in international and domestic law.
Ms. Woodbury’s work for politicusUSA includes articles on voting rights, the right to asylum and other civil/human rights.