Sunday Open Thread [1.12.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on January 12, 2014

The News Journal this Sunday morning prints a long piece that purports to look at the “pay for play” culture in Delaware politics. It is interesting, since they don’t really get much into real instances of pay for play, with the exception of the possibility of the Stolz project. Also interesting since one of the people who has been convicted for improper political donations was frustrated enough by the process to scream at his judge that he never got anything for his contributions (Zimmerman). Most of this looks at the charges being thrown at Veasey that he was too light on the people he looked at — pretty much coming down on the side that there wasn’t much there for Veasey to work with. This seems to be the place that any reform effort needs to point towards:

The problem Veasey faced is that the state’s election law is a “Mickey Mouse statute,” Hurley said. “It’s poorly drafted and full of holes.”

And there doesn’t seem to be anyone who enforces the law. The GA really needs to address this as a priority and to get major fixes done — no matter how painful or inconveniencing this might be to the politicians involved. The priority needs to be cleaning up (and making more transparent) the process, not in how hard it might be for the pols who have to live with these laws. While I don’t think that the GOP is much interested in any reform — just in making hay out of a real issue — Democrats should take this on and make it right. Taking the occasional political hits from the GOP for a flawed system that benefit BOTH of the parties means that you just let the GOP continue to make the case that the government is a problem. Even while they utterly benefit from it. Fix the system, live with the additional scrutiny and level of effort, and let the GOP sputter about making politics hard for everyone. Take their whining cards away from them, Democrats!

Last thing here — it would be really interesting for the NJ to do a “pay-for-play” piece focused on our Congressional delegation. The good news here is that the data is pretty good and widely available — and it is pretty easy to match up votes in congress to the interests who have made major contributions to these guys. The bad news is that the NJ routinely approves of these votes by these guys as somehow good for Delaware businesses. Which certainly gives that pay-for-play a pass.

This is intriguing — House Democrats are currently refusing to co-sponsor legislation that would give President Obama fast track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. President Obama wants this, John Boehner wants this and no House Dems will support it yet — and apparently *this* needs Democrats to pass. I’d say this is good work by the House Democrats.

Racist appeals undermining the American middle class — (I’d say) This looks like a potentially interesting book:

“Over the last half-century conservatives have used racial pandering to win support from white voters for policies that principally favor the very wealthy and wreck the middle class,” Haney López writes. “Running on racial appeals, the right has promised to protect supposedly embattled whites, when in reality it has largely harnessed government to the interests of the very affluent.”

Veiled references to the undeserving poor, illegal aliens and sharia law carry racial undertones that avoid the stigma of overt racism but nonetheless provoke the desired reaction.

This tactic does not concern just the blacks, Latinos and Muslims targeted by these innuendoes, the author goes on to say, but also the vast swath of white middle class, whether they fall in line with this Republican appeal or not.

“Members of the middle class … typically harbor an unfounded certainty that race holds little relevance to them or their future,” Haney López writes. “The could not be more wrong, for race constitutes the dark magic by which middle-class voters have been convinced to turn government over to the wildly affluent, notwithstanding the harm this does to themselves.”

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  1. Jason330 says:

    Copeland has a foolproof plan to prevent the DEGOP from getting caught up in any potential fundraising scandals. Don’t raise any money and don’t win any statewide races.

  2. cassandra_m says:

    The fun exercise would be to examine Copeland’s and Lavelle’s campaign finance reports and see if there are LLCs contributing who might also have owners also contributing.

  3. Occam says:

    http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20140112/NEWS02/301120067/Veasey-report-underscores-pay-play-real-fear-residents

    I suppose you are outraged by the Governor’s “pay for play” over the proposed Barley Mill Plaza deal. Or maybe you are not and you will cover for the Governor because he is a Democrat and instead you will just go attack Charlie Copeland or Sheriff Christopher so that you do not have to concern yourselves with politicians taking money in exchange for favors, unless they are Republicans.

  4. Nuttingham says:

    Or maybe the article doesn’t have the smallest shred of proof that there actually was any “pay for play” beyond the quotes of some angry people in Greenville who can’t believe somebody would dare build near their neighborhood.

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