The Interesting Lack of Response From Democrats
Most of the Clarion-Ledger’s stories regarding Haley Barbour FY 2011 budget outline have focused on reactions from people who stand to have an alma mater affected by mergers, and there reactions are predictable (and understandable). Most Americans suffer from NIMBY disease. Yes, they want the budget balanced and cuts made where need be- so long as it doesn’t affect them.
But I have seen little in the way of reaction from state Democrats. I quoted Rep. Kelvin Buck (D-Holly Springs), who is the chairman of the House Universities and Colleges Committee, with his reaction to consolidation plans. He was opposed on the grounds that you would be limiting educational opportunities. I’ve seen some other mild responses from Democrats who were certainly opposed to these ideas, but they haven’t been running around screaming like they were last summer.
I haven’t seen any press releases or statements from the main opposition to Barbour- Speaker of the House Billy McCoy. Haven’t heard any statements from Jamie Franks, the state Democrat Party Chairman. The Democrats also haven’t given much reaction on their blog other than to say how much better Democrats are then Republicans:
It’s amazing how on one hand Gov. Barbour can travel the state and country talking about how effective a governor he is because of his “fiscal management” but at the same time he readily admits that the state’s economy during his administration has gotten worse each year, as reflected by the needs of deeper and deeper budget cuts.
Of course, the Legislature could do something about the governor’s horrific fiscal policies. The Democratic leadership in the House has protected our public schools, highway patrolmen and state hospitals from being cut to the bone.
The House would have been more successful if the Republican leadership in the Senate (i.e. Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and President Pro Tempore Sen. Billy Hewes) actually led instead of blindly following their governor into fiscal abyss we now face.
So, if we were spending more the state would be in better shape?
But I think most Democrats understand the situation at hand. As Barbour has said- this isn’t business as usual. And that may be the cause for their delayed reaction. Also, they may want to stay out of the discussions right now as Barbour, who is term limited, takes the brunt of the backlash.
Update: The Democrats finally issue a press release. As you might imagine, doesn’t really go into details. Just criticizes Barbour on the surface similar to the blog post I linked.