The High Cost of Ownership

As a party platform, “owning the libs” doesn’t seem to carry long-term sustainability, but it certainly costs a lot.

Up until, say, about six years ago, I assumed that most Republicans, like most Democrats and the unaffiliated mass perhaps in between, were rational people. Ideologically we didn’t see eye to eye, and while I just know that the entire world would be a better place if everyone thought the way I do, I wasn’t actually expecting that.

I can understand arguing big government versus little government, aggressive foreign policy versus passive, even flash-point issues like abortion. But I don’t understand this crazy bus to nowhere so many Republicans have hopped on. I especially don’t understand the people — the people who will never be white enough, Protestant enough, male enough — who just don’t get that they aren’t really welcome on the bus.

There’s a woman in Tennessee, endorsed by a former occupant of the White House, who just got kicked out of her primary race, along with two others, by the state Republican party. One kicker said he really liked the former White House occupant and would vote for him “forever,” but that doesn’t mean he can tell people in Tennessee how to vote.

Another Tennessee Republican — not a racist, you understand — asserted that the guy in Florida really doesn’t care about his endorsee one way or the other — it was the Jewish members of his family that pushed for the endorsement of this candidate, who is, yes, Jewish. But we love Israel! Which is where every single Jewish person belongs, rather than cluttering up the ballot in Tennessee. Not that this is racist.

Over in North Carolina, people are starting — yes, just now starting — to mutter that Madison Cawthorn may not have their interests at heart. Callow young Cawthorn already flat-out told anyone who was listening that of course he’s not interested in legislating — he’s in it for the headlines. Well, that and the orgies hosted by aging Republicans up there on the Hill.

In Georgia, while I’d like to hope they’ve figured it out, they probably haven’t, but in the meantime Marjorie Taylor Greene’s cash cow crashed and burned for this year’s first quarter. I’m sure she’ll find someone to stick with the bill, although I’m equally sure it won’t come from the war chest amassed by the alleged party leader. No one is going to see any of those dollars spent on anything or anyone who doesn’t spend his days teeing off on anything other than an election that happened 18 months ago.

Over in Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt, shamed out of a shameless administration for his constant personal misuse of taxpayer funds, has thrown his hat into the senatorial ring, perhaps misty-eyed over his days of grifting off the public dole. Criminal or nefarious deeds seem to almost be required these days for membership in this authoritarian fan club.

But these really are all small potatoes when it comes to owning the libs, and Republican states are falling all over themselves to see who can spend the most apparently for the pride of saying, “See how much we stuck it to those libs?”

In Texas, where the war against women was set off in earnest last year and where the leading candidate for attorney general is under indictment, the governor, whose profile doesn’t seem to be nearly as high as he’d like it, conducted some high-priced grandstanding recently.

His small-stakes gambit seems mostly to have failed and quietly faded away, where Texpayers footed the bill to bus people who had crossed the border straight to the doorstep of Fox News in the District of Columbia. The riders got on the buses voluntarily, and were grateful for the assist in getting them closer to where they wanted to go.

So that didn’t really work out, but then again, neither did the high stakes stunt of stopping all truck traffic at the border. For costing Texas employees a week or two of wages and Texas companies billions, and piling up produce to rot at a time when prices are already high while examining trucks that had already been inspected, the governor was proud to announce that even though not one iota of drugs or people turned up unexpectedly in the trucks, several safety violations were uncovered and thus America’s roads are the better for this little exercise in non-democracy.

[I wonder when it begins to occur to this Party of Purity, which purges RINOs on a daily basis, including perhaps today Rep. Kevin McCarthy, seditious seditionist that he now appears to be for suggesting the last president maybe resign after fomenting treason, that people like Cawthorn and the governor of Texas are asking for undue consideration with their wheelchair-access requests. That seems every bit as woke as expecting basic human decency be extended to people who aren’t straight white males of the proper Protestant denominations.]

But, as always happens in these national polls, Texas was upstaged by Florida, where the warrior in chief against “cancel culture” went after the state’s largest private employer for having the audacity to disagree — pardon me, but I think that might be a constitutional right. I could be wrong about that, but I thought I read it somewhere — with the governor’s stance that education should be banned along with all the deviant children contained therein.

This legislation, which most Republicans in the Florida statehouse are insisting with straight faces had absolutely nothing to do with Disney’s belated stand with teachers and their students who don’t align with whatever immoral compass the governor follows, is one and a half pages long, and no one paused to consider the ramifications of dissolving 50-year-old special districts, of which Disney’s is only one. (Also caught in the fall-out: at least one library district. But that’s probably okay, because reading encourages people to think, and we certainly can’t have that in Florida.)

This hasty act of lib ownership leaves someone on the hook for $1 billion in outstanding debt. It could cost every homeowner in Orange County another $3,000 annually; it could leave entire counties who make their living off tourists without things like road repair and fire service. And it could cost those same Republicans a lot of mickeys in their campaign coffers.

Lost in these high profile stunts — the Florida legislation doesn’t go into effect until June of next year, in the unlikely event that sanity returns to what was once one of America’s major political parties, responsible for mundane things like the general welfare and the common defense, oh, and ensuring domestic tranquility — was the high cost of lib ownership in Utah, carefully spelled out in a five-page letter (every page of which is well worth your time) by the governor, who I imagine by now has been cavalierly tossed into that RINO bin.

To make sure that the one — one — child in all of Utah who is transgender and playing sports on a girls’ team (three transgender boys also play sports, so a big total of four) does not interfere with Life As We Know It, the state legislature has set up the entire state school athletic association and associated schools — and their taxpayers — to have to foot the bill for costly lawsuits the governor is sure are headed their way.

The governor also addressed the other cost to this pulsating need to own the libs by attacking children: the 56 percent of trans youth who attempt suicide. “I must admit,” Gov. Spencer Cox wrote, “I am not an expert on transgenderism. I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting. When in doubt however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion.”

Kindness, mercy and compassion. You know how much it costs to give those a try? A lot less than it takes to try to own the libs.

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