Thursday, June 15, 2006

172: “Republican Gotterdammerung”


John Perzel has entered his bunker, determined to go out with a flame, rather than a whisper, desperate to do as much damage to the enemy as possible in the dying days of the current legislative session. He has decided to bring on Gotterdammerung on the Republican Party, rather than act like a Republican.

Gotterdammerung is defined as:
n.
A turbulent ending of a regime or an institution: “The nation had been flirting with forms of götterdämmerung, with extremes of vocabulary and behavior and an appetite for violent resolution” (Lance Morrow).
[After Götterdämmerung, an opera by Richard Wagner, from German, twilight of the gods : Götter, genitive pl. of Gott, god (from Middle High German got, from Old High German) + Dämmerung, twilight (from Middle High German demerunge, from Old High German demerunga, from demar, twilight).]
In forcing the passage of House Bill 39, [property tax relief], Perzel showed how completely in bed with the Democrats he really is. This is essentially the same package that the House Republicans revolted against the week before the primary when Perzel was busy making money overseeing the finances of a Florida Corporation that was about to sign a 58 million dollar contract with Delaware County to run its prison. The revolt caused Prince Mike Veon and Duke Bill DeWeese to pop their corks. The floor revolt overran the weakling Republican Floor Leader, Sam Smith, who is apparently Perzel’s lap dog.

Last night, only 61 votes were cast against HB 39. Perzel, Smith, and DeWeese were repeatedly shown to be visibly gloating during the coverage on the Pennsylvania Cable Network, and on newscasts at 11.

Perzel presides over a legislature in which his [supposed] party – Republican -- has the majority, by more than a few. Instead of wielding that power, he uses bullying tactics and threats and intimidation of members of his caucus to push through legislation favored by Rendell, Fumo, DeWeese, and Veon forcing his own [majority] party to capitulate.

Another blogger made the comment that the floor Republicans lacked the necessary anatomical parts to stand up for their constituents and vote like Republicans. Last night 49 spineless Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with the Democrats to pass the re-painted Act 72. They mouth the words about revisiting the legislation and improving the cuts in property taxes at a later date, but it will never happen with the current caucus, and its leadership. We have the list and how they voted and will keep it handy for the weeks before the General Election in November. 49 gutless lemmings and their leaders will find out how tens of thousands of Republic voters will treat them in kind.

Perzel does not even qualify for RINO [Republican in Name Only] status any more. He may be a registered Republican, but we’ve seen nothing from him in the past four years that would qualify him as anything other than Democrat.

Here is the reaction last night from some of the Democrats at the Capitol after the vote:
AP Photo.

Tim Potts from
Democracy Rising points to Perzel’s proposed lobbyist reform.
It’s months (actually years) late. It was crafted in secret after promises of open meetings. It’s the lobbyist control proposal promised in February by House Speaker John Perzel, R-Philadelphia.
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/BI/BT/2005/0/HB2753P4204.HTM

How bad is it? Instead of the best PA citizens can get, it looks like the worst Perzel thinks he can get away with.

Democracy Rising PA compared Perzel’s proposal against the 48 standards that the Center for Public Integrity, http://www.publicintegrity.org/, uses to rate state lobbyist control laws. The full 11-page comparison can soon be found at the Democracy Rising website.

If enacted, Perzel’s proposal still would give Pennsylvania one of the worst lobbyist control laws in America. The proposal fails to match the best practices of other states in 36 of 48 standards. When the proposal does match the highest standards in other states, it is often for things that are easy to do or embarrassing if not done, i.e. having registration forms available on the Internet.

Some of the lowlights are telling.
Nothing in Perzel’s proposal requires lobbyists to divulge:
· What specific gifts, travel and entertainment they give to public officials
· Which specific public officials take those gifts, travel and entertainment
· What laws or proposed laws the lobbyists are trying to influence
· What subjects the lobbyists are trying to influence
· When lobbyists provided gifts or entertainment to each public official
· Whether lobbyists are trying to influence public officials by giving gifts, travel and entertainment to the officials’ in-laws
· Expenditures under $2,500. This is the highest reporting threshold in America. It’s five times higher than the notoriously corrupt U.S. Congress, while at least 32 states require reporting as soon as lobbyists spend $1.

In every one of these examples, Perzel’s proposal is worse than nearly every other state in the nation.

This proposal protects corruption, waste, secrecy and mistrust. From the perspective of a citizen trying to hold his or her own lawmakers accountable, it is completely worthless.

Questions:
Why do Republican lawmakers want to keep John Perzel as their leader and
standard-bearer?
Why do Democrat lawmakers, who also get a vote on who serves as Speaker of the House, want to keep John Perzel as their leader and standard-bearer? (Hint: The first co-sponsor of Perzel’s proposal is House Minority Leader Bill DeWeese, D-Greene.)

Tick, Tick, Tick
Days since the pay raise of 2005: 343
Days until Election Day: 138
Roadmap reforms enacted: 0
Thanks, Tim, for as you usually do, an outstanding job. I wish we had more like you and they were serving in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, instead of the lemmings we have there now.

Tim appropriately points out the one area where Perzel could have been a shining star as a Republican leader. And instead, he works as a Democrat. Perzel is definitely in a bunker mentality. He is bound and determined to do as much damage to the Republican Party as he possibly can before he is bounced unceremoniously from office in November.

Speaking of bunker mentalities, King Vince Fumo went to the floor of the Pennsylvania Senate on Monday and literally called President George W. Bush ‘Hitler’. Fumo is fuming because he is the target of an ongoing Federal probe into his use of a non-profit agency he controls for political purposes.

Calling someone ‘Hitler’ during a session on the floor of the Pennsylvania Senate is far out of bounds and far beyond the realm of decency and taste. It may even be outside the rules of the Senate. The action is simply despicable, and not usually what you would expect from King Vince Fumo. Usually unflappable, Fumo has been getting progressively worse press coverage since the investigation began, and after the arrest two weeks ago of two of his underlings for trying to hide evidence [deleting emails on computer hard drives that Fumo’s non-profit staff used, and which contained inflammatory emails from Fumo to his staff] the coverage became even worse.

Now, there is a difference between defining someone’s actions as caused by a ‘bunker mentality’, and going on the floor of the Senate where polite discourse and good manners are the rule, and calling the President of the United States ‘Hitler’. Fumo sounds like every Democrat running for national office! Gee, Vince, don’t you think it’s a little late in the game for that. 6 years of braying assaults on the character of the president have fallen on deaf ears. It simply does not work, especially in the absence of a clear message from your party. The politics of hate is a failed plan. Sooner or later the Democrats are going to have to come up with and advance a plan for change.

And Vince, you must always remember, you reap what you sow. You too, Perzel.

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