The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson –
The sky is falling. Remember Henny Penny and Chicken Little?
He has reappeared in the form of the governor of Alabama, claiming the United States of America is over as a country — unless the good people of Alabama listen to him so he can save it by fighting off Obamacare.
Why is the sky falling?
Because of “liberals” in Washington, D.C., of course.
Where have we heard that before?
George Wallace called them “pointed-headed liberals.”
But we know how he will go down in history.
Is Robert Bentley hell-bent on following in Wallace’s footsteps?
In his State of the State Address Tuesday night, Bentley set himself up against not just President Barack Obama and the very idea of a federal government, he went after former President Lyndon Johnson, if not by name.
In this overdrawn speech by a man many are coming to associate with the image of Mr. Montgomery Burns from The Simpsons cartoon on Fox, Bentley declared war on the War on Poverty itself.
“Exactly 50 years ago, this nation’s president declared a War on Poverty, with sweeping new legislation aimed at lowering the poverty rate in this country. But this war did little to liberate its people,” Bentley claimed. “The National Poverty rate now stands at 15-percent, and has changed very little over the last 50 years. In Alabama, the poverty rate is even higher, with some counties as high as 36-percent.”
Nevermind that the fault for that should be blamed on the “Reagan Revolution” that began the deregulation campaign to dismantle the federal safety net, continued under President Bill Clinton’s “Welfare Reform” program and the disastrous federal economic policies of George W. Bush that nearly caused a global depression.
“This war gave our country a new set of federal government-run programs, intended to offer assistance, or a safety net for Americans who are struggling,” Bentley continued. “Those programs today have grown, expanded and have become a ‘lumbering giant’ threatening our nation’s economic stability, national security and the very freedom of our people.”
Wow. What freedom is that? To work for low wages in non-union car factories or remain without health insurance coverage because of Bentley’s policies?
“Our nation is an overloaded ship, slowly sinking as even more passengers come on board,” Bentley cried out like Chicken Little.
The governor went on to continue his tea party speech, not fit for delivery in any state Capitol building although perhaps suited to the Old Alabama Capitol where he stood, against “Obamacare.”
That is a theme Alabamians are going to be subjected to for the rest of the year on television, even from low level flunkies who have decided to get in on the hot button game at the Public Service Commission, where according to new candidates who already have ads on the tube are trying to convince voters they can “stand up to the liberals in Washington.”
It must come as a bit of a shock or simply cause befuddlement among the state’s population to know that there are Washington liberals on the Alabama Public Service Commission, when in fact it is made up entirely of Alabama Republicans. Those “jobs killing” Republicans simply had a hearing to see if Alabama Power was charging a fair rate for electricity.
But to hear the new candidates tell the story, our first African-American President Barack Obama is calling them on the telephone and whispering in their ears that they should put all the coal miners out of work. Nevermind that Alabama Power, like power companies all over the country and the world, were already on their own due to market forces moving toward generating power from natural gas instead of coal, simply because it is cheaper.
It has nothing whatsoever to do with saving the planet or helping to clean up the environment, which would be a worthy goal if you think about it.
Fracking for natural gas has also become controversial, after all, and there are some who think we need to move even further and faster toward alternative energy sources as opposed to more development of dirty fossil fuels, oil, gas and coal.
But it has long been a trait of Alabama governors to win points with conservative, anti-government voters by taking out after Washington liberals, so candidates with political ambitions know they can make some hay with that approach.
Perhaps by 2020 the demographics will shift enough in this state for this approach, fighting the Civil War all over again, to finally fail so the state can move forward with the rest of the country into the 21st Century. We will see.
© 2014, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.