[This is the transcript of my regular KVMR commentary broadcast on 9 March 2012.]
If you were to spell out some attributes of an ideal and laudable politician, what would they be? I’ve thought about this for some time now, especially as these attributes might apply to the local and statewide people we elect. My own list has three main points which I’ll label ‘Don’t Add Pain’, ‘Sunset and Tune’, and ‘Just Say NO’.
Such legislative drafts for public review would include clear breakdowns of ‘this is what they require’, ‘this is the minimum we need to do to satisfy the higher ups’, and ‘this is what we have added on or modified that is NOT required by higher authority’. In short, my ideal politician would minimize the added pain that is the usual counterpart of every new diktat from distant capitals, and they would fess up to the added grief they themselves grafted on to the new law.
Under ‘Sunset and Tune’, my ideal politician would require that every new law or regulation would have an actual sunset provision written in. Times change, and no local law should be legislated for the ages. Just passing more patchwork legislation over the years, that is then cobbled on to existing law only creates friction in our society and creates jobs for lawyers. For me a productive legislature need not pass a single new law, but instead spend its energies going over existing laws to identify obsolete, confusing, and dated laws. These would then be either tuned up for current needs, or purged altogether from our massive legal codes. In fact, were I king, every legislative body would have a full time commission constantly reviewing existing codes for tune-up or sunsetting.
Finally, my ideal politician would have the stones to consider and propose ‘just saying NO’ to a particularly odious mandate that lands on our community. America’s over-regulation is well known and notorious around the world. Respected international publications like The Economist feature cover stories about America suffering from too many confusing and contradicting laws and regulations. If a local jurisdiction like Nevada County, California would take the next obviously misguided mandate, and very visibly refuse to implement it, then that may just start a grass roots opposition which spreads to sister jurisdictions.
The beneficial effect from ‘just say NO’ could even become a nationwide rallying cry for returning more control to local governments. To be sure, the first body of electeds to do this would have to endure a lot, and the community itself might have to hunker down to do without the latest allotment from distant bureaucrats. But my ideal politician would be the one to step forward and make such a revolutionary proposal to the community, rally its support, alert the press, and send a message up the line that we are still a free people, and not a bleating flock of sheep corralled for another shearing.
I admit that for a politician this is a tough row to hoe, but I can dream, can’t I?
My name is Rebane, and I also expand on these and other themes in my Union columns, and on georgerebane.com where this transcript appears. These opinions are not necessarily shared by KVMR. Thank you for listening.