Conservatives, because they believe in limited government, are often better at criticizing government than in running it.
How else to explain national deficits ballooned by a Republican Congress and president - and not just from defense spending and mandated Medicare, but from pork boondoggles that would make Tip O'Neal blush?
Georgia isn't immune, either. While there are many things going on in Georgia's Republican-dominated government that are worthy of celebration - from voter ID, to protection of the unborn, to responsible cuts and shifts in state spending - other efforts are dangerous or stupid. Or both.
And we can't blame anyone but the GOP.
For example, Gov. Sonny Perdue on Thursday bragged about passage of the state's new law to require 65 percent of school spending go "to the classroom," the result of a bill that provides its own definition of what "classroom" is.
Because the Republicans who authored the gimmicky bill don't believe transportation to schools, school nurses, custodians, lunchroom workers or library staff are important to education, we can probably count on anyone employed in those occupations to find Republicans likewise unfit to hold elective office.
Fortunately, Columbia County spends approximately 67 percent of its budget in what the bill defines as "classroom" spending, so our schools are safe. But nearby Jefferson County, run by Superintendent Carl Bethune - a Columbia County resident - will likely get hit by the eventual sanctions in the bill.
Small, poor systems spend a higher percentage of their budgets on things like transportation. But then, residents of small, poor counties aren't likely to be Republican voters, either.
Continuing this disturbing trend of state micro-management of local school systems, the Legislature also wants to require parental permission for students to participate in school clubs because the Republicans, it seems, are scared someone might want to join a homosexual-friendly group.
Like the poor, most homosexuals probably don't vote Republican, either, so the GOP won't lose many votes there.
Disappointing, too, is a move Wednesday from state Rep. Barry Fleming. Fleming made a change in a bill that he sees as in the best interest of local governments. But it sure doesn't look like it's in the interest of their residents.
In an amendment some are calling "sneaky," Fleming changed a few words in a bill to require local governments to post public works notices on a state-run Web site - and no longer require those governments to print the notices in legal ads.
If the bill isn't fixed in the Senate, local governments - including the cities of Harlem and Washington, which pay Fleming to represent them as city attorney - would no longer print the details of big projects.
Fleming argues that governments would save money if they didn't have to purchase legal ads in local papers, such as this one. Those local papers, including this one, contend that legal advertising represents the public's bulletin board, providing taxpayers easily accessible information about the spending of their tax dollars.
Those papers, including this one, also earn money printing those ads. By filing an amendment designed to take away money from those papers and with it the broad public access to the citizens who read them, Fleming believes he is saving money for local governments. Naturally, that would include the city governments he's paid to represent.
The voters who actually live in those cities may well wonder if he's representing them, however - the same thing conservatives may be starting to wonder about Republicans.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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