The banana Republicans

Latest from the Banana Republican Party: bribing a Democratic State Senator in VA to quit.

If they can’t offer policies that a majority of voters will support without relentless brainwashing, they free up the billionaire beneficiaries of the policies they actually offer to help them buy elections.

If buying elections won’t give them a majority, they rig the districting so they can hold a minority of seats with a minority of votes.

If they can’t win even in gerrymandered districts, they try to keep Democrats from voting.

If they still lose, they resort to outright bribery.

In the latest case, they offered a Democratic state senator in Virginia - whose vote resulted in a tied chamber, giving the Lieutenant Governor the deciding vote - a cushy job for himself and a judgeship for his daughter if he’d resign, giving the GOP 20-19 majority.

Similar deals have been done recently in New York and Washington State, though in those cases the bribes were legislative leadership positions rather than external jobs.

I can confidently predict that a not a single elected Republican, and few if any Red-team pundits, will speak out against this grossly corrupt deal.* If the state AG or the U.S. Attorney decide that it’s a prosecutable quid pro quo, Fox News and the National Review will howl about the “criminalization of policy differences.”

“Puckett” deserves to enter the language alongside “Quisling.”

The appalling content of its policies aside - the latest dirty trick is part of an effort to deny medical coverage to the working poor -  the modern Republican Party is a threat to the principles of republican government. Even when they’re not torturing, they lie, they cheat, and they steal.

Footnote And note the way the Washington Post uses the morally neutral “outmaneuver” to cover the payment and acceptance of a bribe. Did the Communists “outmaneuver” Jan Masaryk? Did the House of Guise “outmaneuver” the Huguenots on St. Bartholomew’s Day?

 * Update Ed Morrissey of Hot Air, who’s about as Red as they come, expresses his disgust:

Virginia Republicans are claiming that the jobs for Puckett and his daughter are unrelated to his resignation and the sudden seizure of control of the state Senate, but only their publicists will buy that. They undid the results of an election and made someone a judge for a payoff. Even those who both support their policy goals and oppose McAuliffe’s tactics have to admit that this debases politics and public policy.

Good for Morrissey!



Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

12 thoughts on “The banana Republicans”

  1. I sent him and email and posted it to my Facebook:

    Dear Senator Puckett,

    I'm sorry you chose to relinquish the job you were hired by the people of Virginia to do, a move reminiscent of Sarah Palin's abdication of the governorship of Alaska.

    But in the end I believe it's for the best: the people of Virginia deserve someone who actually has ethics and a backbone.

    Sincerely yours,

    John Beaty

  2. Why shouldn't a party that advocates 19th century policies from employ 19th century tactics?

  3. This is McAuliffe's terrain too, inside bureaucratic baseball. Perhaps he can block the Cancer Pork Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission from making the outrageous appointment by denying a quorum or filibuster. What are the rules of procedure? They aren’t AFAICT defined by the legislation.
    Republicans will claim McAuliffe started it with rewarding defector Boyd Marcus with a job on the Beverage Control Commission (which they blocked). For once they are acting as the party of Lincoln.

  4. "Did the Communists “outmaneuver” Jan Masaryk?" Yes, they did, before killing him.

    A great Masaryk quotation for this blog: "Pravda vítÄ›zí, ale dá to fušku".
    Wikipedia translates this as "The truth prevails, but it's a chore". Google Translate offers "give it some elbow grease" for "dá to fušku" so there's probably a pithy metaphor in there. Perhaps "but it's a bloody hard slog"?

  5. Note also that this has been carefully scheduled so that a special election to fill the seat (which might well go to a republican anyway) will be difficult or impossible.

    Can’t we just ask the NSA for all the email and phone calls?

  6. Apparently the Republicans hold the Virginia State House, which would have to pass the Medicare Expansion, and which therefore will not. Isn't all this therefore moot, disgusting though it is? Corruption and venality in pursuit of no material effect?

    1. And it remains to be seen if the GOP follows through on their promise to confirm his daughter as what we would call a District Court (i.e., trial court) judge. She was appointed to the bench in 2013, less than ten years out of law school.

      If the GOP flips and refuses to confirm her, they get it all for nothing at all.

    2. That's good news. I wonder if we ought to have a secret shopper system, in which people would go around bribing and reneging on our pols?

      I still like to think most wouldn't take an illegal bribe, especially as legal ones are so plentiful.

      bighorn50: I don't know squat about the daughter, but I think 10 years is plenty if she's a fair and smart person. And if she is, bummer how her dad just ruined her career. No respect.

  7. I will just say, whether he got the job or not, Puckett was offered a bribe *and took it.* Frankly, I'd prefer not to have politicians who are willing to take bribes about as much as I'd prefer not to have political organization that offer bribes.

  8. The essence of the contrast between two basic orientations to healthcare can be distilled in sentences of six words; some people have a gut belief in one, and others have a gut belief in another.

    1. Untreated disease is a private misfortune.
    2. Untreated disease is a public enemy.

    Google has neither exact phrase, but I propose that no national health care system can become a reality until option 2 has become a cultural truism; untreated disease saps the energy of the nation, brings down its productivity, and creates onerous burdens for its children and grandchildren.

    Any chance the discussion can be framed in these stark terms by any political leader? Elizabeth Warren or someone, perhaps?

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