Saturday, November 26, 2011
Gov. Abercrombie vs. the 99%… why?
by Larry Geller
Governor Abercrombie released the contested judicial selection list today, but only because he was made to do so by a court.
At the same time, he did not say whether he would appeal the decision. Correction: with the release of the list, no appeal is possible, but the story in today’s Star-Advertiser indicates that the Attorney General still does not agree with the decision. What a waste of taxpayer money an appeal would be.
The Star-Advertiser brought the freedom of information case which resulted in the November 14 ruling that the judicial selection case had to be released. Governors Cayetano and Lingle had previously released their judicial selection lists.
So how to explain this, and other strange decisions? What is going on up there on the 5th floor?
I have a theory. If you’ll bear with me I’ll try to explain. It has very much to do with the emergence of the Occupy movement and their emphasis on the 99% / 1% split.
Cast your mind back for a moment to the time before Occupy. Imagine that you are a member of Congress, isolated there in Washington DC. Isolated from voters, that is, but very closely pursued by lobbyists for banks and corporations, and indebted to them for re-election funds. Add to this the Citizens United decision which confirmed that corporations really are in charge of government.
The 99% didn’t have a chance or a voice at that time. The House refused to put single-payer on the table, for example. The people had no say in lawmaking. Republicans flocked to sign Grover Norquist’s pledge not to bug rich folks with even a tiny tax increase. Insurance company execs lit cigars (possibly with $100 bills) when Obamacare was enacted because of the windfall it promised to bring them. President Obama and Congress both talked about cuts to Social Security as though older citizens didn’t need to eat or pay rent. They lied to us and continue to lie on almost any subject.
And so on. Washington was (and still is) run by and for the corporations, the folks we can now refer to as the 1%,
Neil Abercrombie, as Congressman Abercrombie, was part of that milieu. His voting record was excellent, but he was still a Congressman. My theory is that being a Congressman doesn’t wash off very quickly.
So now we have a governor who reacts to those who seek a meeting with him or his staff by losing their requests over and over (it happened to me and to others).
We have a governor who issues secret edicts, even if well-intentioned, at a time when citizens groups are pushing for greater transparency in government.
We have a governor who chose secrecy with regard to the judicial selection process and may possibly appeal the court’s decision that pried it out of his hands—and that despite the judiciary’s declaration that it will release these lists itself. Go figure.
We have a governor who is appealing to the 9th Circuit in an attempt to cut off lifesaving medical care to COFA residents of Hawaii. They are part of the 99%, and the idea that the 99% hold, of course, is universal health care, not killing off our brothers and sisters. Cutting benefits is Congress-think.
I don’t need to go on. That’s my theory.
If the governor wants to reclaim his approval rating (and I don’t know that he does), he might go out to the streets and find out what the 99% propose for him to do. Or speak to folks when he visits the Y. Find out why those people on the Nautilus machines are there instead of at work, and how they are doing. Find out what they want of him.
Washington, the corporate elite, corporate media, and politicians everywhere will have to deal with the new insurgency. It has appeal, it has staying power, it’s impervious to police militarization and brutality (at least so far), it’s intelligent, it’s caring, it’s responsible, it’s assertive. It’s popular, it’s growing, and it has the strength of conviction and morality behind it. That’s tough to beat.
So join it, Governor. Figure out what the 99% want and forget what you learned in Congress. It’s obsolete now. A “New Day” that evicts the homeless to make a better show for APEC may be a non-starter. Besides, many of your constituents are out demonstrating and demanding a newer and better political and economic reality for Hawaii and the nation.
Your New Day has been Occupied.
We have a governor that should be RE-CALLED before he gets booted out of a 2nd term.
Good piece. Good insight.
We have a Democratic Governor who inherited a $1.2 billion dollar deficit from a Republican Governor. Abercrombie was left with the job of making decisions Linda Lingle refused to make. I believe cuts to the government payroll is making the "Second Great Republican" worse, but with the last State Constitutional Convention (stupidly) passing a balanced budget amendment the Governor has very little flexibility except to raise taxes.