Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Learn to Live on Lentils

This Wednesday night the Sussex County locals of the Delaware State Education Association held a legislative reception in Georgetown at the Brick Hotel. Like the two receptions that preceded it in New Castle County and Kent County, members turned out in droves, were knowledgeable, and passionately engaged their legislators. DSEA State President, Diane Donohue, was in her home turf and ready for the game tonight. She held the floor and assertively mixed it up with several legislators.

Representative Pete Schwartzkopf used part of his speaking time at the reception to criticize his colleagues on the Joint Finance Committee. He said they are not cutting enough and that he has told them he will not let any revenue bills onto the floor (using his power to control the house agenda as Majority Leader) unless the JFC cuts more.

Perhaps the JFC members will point out that the Governor and his loyal followers in the House wasted most of the legislative session on the sports betting bill and failed to put forward substantial and sustainable revenue legislation thus failing to provide JFC the revenue with which to reduce the deficit.

Representative Schwartzkopf has also been a vocal opponent of the DSEA position that zero percentage is the only appropriate number for a salary cut. Several Democrats now seem to be rallying to this position '8% is not going to happen, but it can't be zero, it has to be something'.

A word to the politically wise: Remember the Clinton Administration. Bill Clinton shafted Labor with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and an expansion of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). In his second term he also angered liberals with so called Welfare Reform that left millions of single moms with no safety net.

Clinton's reasoning was 'where will they (Democrats) go?', and indeed this proved true when voters stuck with Clinton over challenger Bob Dole. However the Democrats lost control of both the House and Senate. The lesson is that alienating your base may work for the top of the ticket, but it is hell on the rest of the Party.
A word to the spiritually wise: Remember the anecdote about the philosopher Diogenes. Diogenes was seen eating lentils for dinner by another philosopher, Aristippus. Aristippus had a comfortable lifestyle by flattering the king.

Aristippus said to Diogenes, "Learn to be subservient to the king and you will not have to live on lentils".

Diogenes said to Aristippus, "Learn to live on lentils and you will not have to cultivate the king".

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