If there’s one thing we hear from the right, it’s a cry for local control. Every time you turn around, they’re either demanding local control of public schools or public lands. But their cattle-call is more than a frenzied desire to teach creationism or pimp resources to corporate overlords. It’s a mantra that is the bedrock of the GOP.
It’s also completely false.
Sure, conservatives say they lust for local control. But that’s only half true. All the really care about is control.
On Tuesday, in a span of 15 minutes, Idaho lawmakers voted on measures regarding trail construction, knife safety and public transit. On all three measures, they voted to take control from local officials.
Not to put too fine of a point on it, but if you think that’s local control, you probably don’t see the irony in the name, “Fox News.”
We know state lawmakers don’t trust the federal government, but apparently they don’t trust municipal governments either. In other words, they only trust themselves.
But why? Under their control, the state has fallen behind in almost every measurable category. In fact, Idaho tops the list of being at the bottom of lists.
If that weren’t enough to prove state leadership is lacking, look no further than two bills in the House Resource Commitee aimed at pandering to dredge miners. The first bill was horrendously flawed and likely unconstitutional. The second bill was so poorly written, Rep. Fred Wood (R-Burley) called it, “really dangerous,” pointing out that it illegally altered the state’s water plan.
If Idaho lawmakers really wanted to earn their stripes as the ultimate arbiters of good government, neither of these bills would have passed the committee.
Yet they both did.
Look, I get it. State lawmakers are like the drunk guy who insists he’s okay to drive. The more you plead for his keys, the more he tells you what a great driver he is.
The only difference is drunk drivers cause car wrecks. State legislators cause train wrecks.
Fortunately, this year’s train wreck is almost over.