To be or not to be ... wasting our time and money

It's hard to believe we have to wait until next year for all that great theater to return. No, not Spoleto — the state Legislature.

The General Assembly that adjourned last week ultimately failed to pass laws that would make it OK to carry guns in Applebee's or arrest bureaucrats who tried to implement Obamacare.

But you if think more than a handful of people care — including lawmakers — well, we've got a bridge bike lane to sell you (barely used).

Most of these big headline-grabbing measures that the General Assembly take up are little more than future campaign slogans. Basically, these yahoos are politicking on our dime.

“They don't care if it passes, some of them don't even want it to pass,” says state Rep. David Mack, D-North Charleston. “They just want to be able to say they voted for it, or they pushed it through the House.”

That's all some of these folks need to fend off a primary challenge in the next election: rave reviews in political theater.

Phony issues

Certainly no one is shocked — shocked — to find out that politics permeates everything the Legislature does.

It's kind of their thing, after all.

But, as Mack points out, this is getting ridiculous. Much more time is devoted to silliness than, say, improving education. And it's a bipartisan thing. In fact, some ranking and influential Republicans say privately that the Obamacare nullification was the biggest bunch of baloney they'd ever seen — legislation that did nothing but throw a little red meat to rednecks.

But these same people have to vote for it, or else low-information voters might begin to question their loyalty to conservatism. Which is insane, but that's why we call them low-information voters.

Unfortunately, the lowest common denominators are dominating the show at the Statehouse these days. Rarely does anything of substance get done because either it would cost money, or it would stir up Zeke enough to vote for another political Neanderthal.

And so our folks in Columbia spend time solving problems that don't exist — like voter ID — while ignoring real issues, like cuts to the Department of Mental Health, an agency which doesn't have enough beds for their in-patients. Of course, one way to solve that is to just keep moving those folks into the Statehouse.

Doing the job?

Right now, the state has $30 billion in road projects backing up.

But instead of finding a way to pave over that problem, the Legislature decided to carry the NRA's water by going on the offensive on gun rights in the wake of the Newtown shootings. Brilliant.

The House tends to be a general assembly line for moving this kind of stuff, but luckily the Senate remains the elephant graveyard for bad ideas. The “deliberative body” wisely allowed Obamacare nullification and the guns-in-restaurants bills to go quietly into the night.

The true worth of a General Assembly is not how many laws its passes, because that only means more rules for us. The real measure is how many bad bills it stops. And even though it took too long to do it, the General Assembly finally gave a thumbs-down on this year's baloney.

As they should have. Because this isn't Shakespeare — but it is much ado about nothing.



Reach Brian Hicks at bhicks@postandcourier.com or tune into his live chat on postandcourier.com at noon today.

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