Campaigning is over… now it’s time to govern.
Newly elected and reelected state officials converge on the Capitol this week for what can only be described as a historic legislative session. For the first time in nearly 140 years, Republicans assume the reins of both chambers in the state legislature, something only a few would have considered possible this time last year.
As summer approached in 2011, many Mississippi Democrats saw the writing on the wall and voluntarily went to the house while others were sent packing by the voters in November.
Such a sweeping change is often difficult to comprehend; this seems to be the case for some remaining Democratic legislators.
Former state Senator, now Democratic state Rep. David Baria is quoted as saying, “The question is going to be what do the people of Mississippi want?”
Apparently reality hasn’t quite set in for some like Rep. Baria. In case they missed the election night results, here’s a reminder: the voters endorsed a new conservative way in Mississippi and both political parties would do well to adhere to their wishes.
The Democratic faction that remains in the legislature is more yellow than blue, meaning these dogs will be considerably less willing to seek compromise as were some of their former counterparts. Further, with a Mississippi Democratic Party seeking to rebuild its base and bench, grandstanding and power plays won’t be in short supply.
House Democrats are already setting the stage for what will surely be a session packed full of drama as the liberals are forced to adjust to the new conservative leadership. They are positioning themselves to attack and complain about the Republican majority before they are even sworn in.
The wailing and gnashing of teeth is about to begin.
Democratic Rep. Tommy Reynolds has said, “We really don’t have the time or the means to be caught up in excessive partisan conversation… We’ve got critical needs to be met.”
If only Reynolds had thought that way during the legislative redistricting debates just last year; something fair and equitable could have been accomplished for the people of Mississippi. Instead, time and effort were spent in court out of want of House Democrats’ self preservation.
Reynolds has also said, “We need to get along like we used to.” (Yes, he said that.) Translation: I want our Democratic majority back!
Democratic Rep. Ed Blackmon couldn’t let Reynolds and Baria have all the fun.
Blackmon is quoted as saying, “Look at national politics… If this continues, we’ll have the same kind of politics as Congress, where nothing gets done without bickering.”
If by that he means the conservative fight to rein in the liberal antics, where the American people voted overwhelmingly to send Madam Pelosi packing and will most likely do the same in the Senate and White House come this November, then Blackmon’s comparison may have validity.
However, it would be my guess that Rep. Blackmon would be more likely to blame all of Congress’ ills on the House Republicans while defending President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Blackmon, Reynolds, Baria and the other remaining legislative Democrats must surely be thinking, “If it weren’t for those dang Republicans _____________ (fill in the blank)!”
So now Mississippi is left to watch the drama unfold as the players take their marks. The stage is set. For the Democrats this means attack, complain, hold fast to “this is the way it’s always been.” For Republicans this means lead with principles and accomplish what the voters endorsed when they sent you up there.
We’ll surely be watching and trust you will too.