Monday, November 07, 2005

58: “Hubris”

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2004, 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company defines hubris as: “Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance”.

Hubris is a contagious disease found in politicians who have been in office too long.

In hubris, we have a single word that aptly describes elected Pennsylvania state and local governmental officials, collectively and individually.

Oh, yes, there are exceptions – good, honest, and decent people, but they are too few, and too weak both politically and personally, to make a difference. So tainted by the rest are these few decent elected officials, that to attempt to make a judgment that “this one, or that, is okay, we’ll keep him or her”, would be an exercise in futility and an extreme waste of time and effort.

In the past, voter anger has risen to the point where there is a general consensus among voters to “get the incumbents out”. This has always lasted until the moment of entry into a voting booth, when an attitude takes over that says, “my guy ain’t so bad, its those other clowns he works with…I’m going to vote for my guy.”

This time, Pennsylvania voters MUST guard against that attitude change in the booth on election day.

Business as usual starts at the top, with the Governor, and ends close to home with the local ward or township supervisors, and zoning board members. Business as usual means voters will walk into that booth, and pull party levers, or vote for their own incumbents, figuring that that “bad guys” are always from somebody else’s district. Business as usual means more gigantic pay raises, more unethical legislation like Acts 71 and 72 of 2004, and other “Midnight Madness” the legislature tries to sneak past the voters in late night sessions.

What Pennsylvania voters need to wake up to is the fact that the problems they face with a General Assembly that is literally the laughing stock of the rest of the nation, are not somebody else’s problems, but their own, and those problems are not limited to the Midnight Pay Raise, nor are those problems limited to the state level officials. The problems run through ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT IN PENNSYLVANIA.

Recent attempts at repealing the pay raise collapsed into partisan bickering over what to do with the judges’ portion of the raise, and what to do with the money already collected by those greedy officials who opted to take their raise by a special voucher option.

These folks just don’t get it. They cannot get past their own hubris. And the worst of them belong to the leadership as listed in blog # 57. Start out with the fact that Mike Veon and Bill DeWeese VOTED AGAINST THE REPEAL! Add these samples of hubris from an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday newspaper over the weekend:

"In all my history here, I've never seen the legislature repeal a pay raise - never," said Sen. Vincent J. Fumo (D., Phila.), an elected official in Harrisburg for almost three decades. "I've never seen legislative leadership cave in that way."

"I indicated my chagrin and confusion that he [President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer, R-Blair County] would do something unilaterally without the other three caucuses. He had been the most fervent and unstinting devotee of the pay raise," said DeWeese, one of only two lawmakers who voted against a repeal.

"There is a code among legislative leaders that you have to sometimes bite the bullet for the men and women you lead," DeWeese said.

These are quotes from an assessing article in the Inquirer titled: "Outrage finally doomed pay raise", by Angela Couloumbis and Mario F. Cattabiani, of the Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau.

The hubris oozes into the title of the article.

If you understand nothing else, understand this: the pay raise was simply the final straw. Repeal of the pay raise, while a good thing, is not, in and of itself, sufficient cause to say, “okay, they fixed it, they’re okay now.” THEY ARE NOT OKAY NOW.

Hubris is a disease as contagious as Greed and Arrogance. “King” Vincent Fumo is the epitome of what is wrong in Pennsylvania. He is a product of the well-oiled Democratic machine politics in Philadelphia. He inherited his power from another South Philadelphia Democratic machine politician, the late Henry J. “Buddy” Cianfrani, who was forced from the Senate in 1977 after being convicted on Federal racketeering charges involving payroll padding, among other things.

King Vince never saw…”legislative leadership cave in that way"? Cave in? Obliviously, and I use that word on purpose, “King” Vince doesn’t think the raise was wrong in the first place. That’s hubris.

“Crown Prince” Bill DeWeese is a Democrat from Greene County in the western half of the state. He claims there is some sort of “code of behavior” among legislative leaders, and it requires that he sometimes “bite the bullet for the men and women you lead”. Bite what bullet? Is this what “King” Vince was talking about when he referenced leadership caving in? That’s hubris.

Ah, but at least he took Prince Bob Jubelirer, a Republican from Blair County, with him, marking him publicly as “the most fervent and unstinting devotee of the pay raise”. That’s hubris.

We must not forget “Prince” John Perzel, a Republican from Philadelphia (there’s an oddity worthy of Ripley’s ‘Believe it or Not’ Museum – when last seen, all eight registered Republicans living in Philadelphia were taking a tour of Tinicum Marsh lining up runway expansion rights for the Philly Airport!). Perzel, who proved his ignorance by claiming those who milk cows in Lancaster County earn more than he does, and who lied outright to a young school girl who asked him point blank if he had come to her school in a limousine, is another paradigm of hubris.

These folks, this royalty that abides in our state Capitol building, pad their income with perks of the job, from per diems, to car allowances, to meal expenses, to something called WAMs (Walking Around Money), and have received cost of living raises every year for the past decade! They outright told a bald-faced lie when they claimed they had not had a raise in ten years.

The point is, its not just somebody else’s elected official. It’s ALL ELECTED OFFICIALS. It is YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS. They have all been infected by greed, arrogance, and hubris. (Look to the top of the sidebar on the right for comments on these “qualitites”.)

Do not get sucked in by a repeal of the pay raise. It is a political move, designed to waylay the efforts to “clean sweep” this “royalty” from office. Nothing more. Do not get sucked in by ads featuring former Governor Tom Ridge pleading to retain Justice Newman. VOTE NO on Retention of Newman and Nigro for Supreme Court.

Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty.

Finally, remember to return here tomorrow morning before you first leave the house, for that one final reminder of what you must do in the voting booth to correct a very serious problem in state and local government.

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