I Used to Push Back on the Idea That Becoming a Politician Sours the Soul

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Photo credit: Kris Connor - Getty Images
Photo credit: Kris Connor - Getty Images

(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To This Post)

Being our semi-regular weekly survey of what’s goin’ down in the several states where, as we know, the real work of governmentin’ gets done, and where somebody got lucky but it was an accident.

We begin in Idaho, where the wild things are, and where a state legislator got in trouble for doing something considered beyond the pale even for the Idaho state legislature, a category previously thought to consist only of cannibalism and failure to own a firearm. From the New York Times:

The representative, Priscilla Giddings, a Republican from White Bird, Idaho, was stripped of a committee assignment because she had shared an article that included the intern’s personal details on Facebook and in a newsletter with her supporters. Ms. Giddings, who is seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, shared the information after the intern in March accused State Representative Aaron von Ehlinger of sexual assault. Mr. von Ehlinger, 39, who resigned in April, has denied any wrongdoing. He pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault charges this month and is scheduled to stand trial in April 2022.

What the hell is wrong with people? I used to push back hard on the general notion that something about being a politician soured the soul, but I’m starting to wonder if I was wrong all these years. It’s beginning to look like the job has become a license to take all your worst instincts out for a walk at every opportunity. To wit:

During a two-hour debate in the Idaho Statehouse on Monday, Ms. Giddings said she had not done anything wrong. “I would not have done anything differently,” she said. “I think my intent was pure.” There was boisterous clapping and cheering from the public gallery after she spoke.

Godamighty, just shut up.

After the intern filed a police report, Ms. Giddings shared a blog post on her Facebook page and in her newsletter that included a photo of the intern, her full name and other identifying information. She also disparaged the woman in the posts. In April, Ms. Giddings denied sharing the information in an ethics committee meeting.

Heads up. Punchline incoming.

During the meeting, a member of the committee showed lawmakers that the post was still on the representative’s Facebook page.

Jesus, these really are the mole people.

Photo credit: Kimberlee Kruesi/AP/Shutterstock
Photo credit: Kimberlee Kruesi/AP/Shutterstock

Remember the Duggars, the extreme pullulators whose empire of grift collapsed when their eldest child kept getting busted in the worst possible ways? Well, journey with us now to northwest Arkansas, where the paterfamilias, Jim Bob, is running for the state senate. Why is he doing so? Let him explain, although you can probably guess.

We have seen our freedom of speech censored on social media if we dare question the liberal left’s propaganda. Now we are seeing President Biden advocating for forced vaccines for our children—with an experimental, untested shot! Parents, not the government, should make decisions for their own children. The liberals scream “it’s my body” when they want to end the life of an unborn child but would gladly force mandatory vaccines upon everyone without hesitation. We must fight the Biden regime, the Democratic Party, and the establishment “RINO” Republicans who are pushing this Marxist agenda!

And he would like the voters to know that his family has stood fast against the liberal cancel-culture mob—to be fair, his family probably had them outnumbered—by which I think he means his son’s unpleasantly publicized collisions with the law.

I will not allow the liberal left, social media, or fake news to define me and my family. Like so many other families, we too have faced crises, difficulties, and heartbreak. “Cancel culture” and the radical left want to keep us from being involved in politics. They say because our family has faced problems we should shrink away—this is why they are often so relentlessly unkind, but we cannot sit on the sidelines during a time when one of America’s most important battles is taking place!

Hey, this is America. Anybody can run for anything. Even the mole people.

We move along to South Carolina, where the runoff elections for mayor and for a city council seat got all kinds of tangled up when voting machines went buggy all over Richland County on Tuesday. As a result, the chief of the state’s election commission ordered a hand recount of the ballots. From The State:

“While this election is not a statewide election, given the nature of issues in Richland County, SEC Interim Executive Director Howard Knapp has ordered a hand count audit of this election,” a statement from the state Election Commission read Tuesday afternoon. “While the hand count must be completed by Richland County, SEC staff will present to observe both the tabulation of results and hand count audit process.”

My favorite voting machines remain those produced by Eberhard Faber.

Not that voting may matter very much in the near future. The Gerrymander is loose upon the land and, this week, it devoured Ohio and North Carolina. From the State House News Bureau:

The local government and elections committee was in a recess, which allowed people like Jen Miller with the League of Women Voters to take a closer look at the map. "It doesn't pass the eyeball test. It is full of weird shapes and squiggly lines," said Miller. "Maps don't look like this unless you're trying to secure a partisan outcome rather than fairly representing voters.”

The weird shapes and squiggly lines came together to create a situation in which a state that gave the former president* 53 percent of the vote in 2020 would give his party 80 percent of the seats. Elsewhere, in Wisconsin, a state that gave the former president* 49 percent of the vote in 2020, the new maps would give his party 75 percent of the seats in the state legislature, a nice haul considering the Republicans lost the state. And the ludicrous North Carolina maps are already being challenged in court. From the News and Observer:

Numerous outside analyses of the new maps have found that if Republicans and Democrats split the statewide vote roughly 50-50, Republicans would likely win 10 of the state’s 14 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives due to the way the district lines are drawn. A GOP candidate could also flip an an 11th seat that’s considered highly competitive and could go either way. That seat, represented by Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield, used to be one of two majority-minority districts in North Carolina but lawmakers redrew it to be majority-white.

Republicans would also be nearly guaranteed to keep a majority in the state legislature in future elections under the new maps, The News & Observer has reported, due to the number of safe seats that lawmakers drew for themselves. The lawsuit claims that even if Democratic candidates were to win the statewide vote by a significant margin, it still wouldn’t be enough to take control of the legislature.

That seems like it would be a hard mountain to climb right there.

Photo credit: Sue Ogrocki/AP/Shutterstock
Photo credit: Sue Ogrocki/AP/Shutterstock

And we conclude, as is our custom, in the great state of Oklahoma, where the state seems primed to kill an innocent man on Thursday. And Oklahoma has become famous for the barbarism of its official killing. Anyway, the decision lay with Republican Governor Kevin Stitt, who, as Friedman of the Plains reports, is terribly occupied with other business, like making it harder for trans people to live in Oklahoma. From NONDOC:

The legal settlement that authorized the issuance of nonbinary birth certificates went into effect in early October. It resolved a lawsuit filed in federal court by Oklahoma native and Oregon resident Kit Lorelied in August 2020. Stitt denounced the agreement, saying he would take “whatever action necessary to protect Oklahoma values and our way of life.”

“I believe that people are created by God to be male or female. Period,” Stitt said a press release. “There is no such thing as non-binary sex and I wholeheartedly condemn the purported OSDH court settlement that was entered into by rogue activists who acted without receiving proper approval or oversight.”

Hey, Governor. Rogue activist here. The guy’s innocent.

This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.

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