2020 gubernatorial dossier: Role of Government

This is the eighth, penultimate part of a series taking a deeper dive into various important topics in the 2020 Delaware gubernatorial election. On the 100-point scale I am using to grade candidates, the role of government is worth 14 points. 

I have decided to tackle the candidates in order for this part, which will lean heavily on my interpretation of previous parts.

For Colin Bonini, his approach seems to be embodied in his campaign slogan, “We Can Fix This.” To him, government seems to have a series of wrong roles, including that of the nanny state. He’s proud of his usual stance against the state’s budget, which makes me wonder how he would do his own if given the chance. (It’s a government he called “expensive…and inefficient” four years ago, so I doubt it’s any better.) He also adds, “Every citizen of Delaware has the right to feel safe in their homes and community. Calls to eliminate or completely defund the police are utterly irresponsible. Colin is a proud supporter of our first responders.”

It’s been the hallmark of his campaign: more or less a platitude which makes you believe he cares. But this treads into intangibles, so I’ll reserve my time on that discussion.

I’ll close his section by noting that sentiment is particularly true when you go back to his 2016 campaign and find him saying, “Colin believes that our right to live with liberty and freedom should be upheld and vigorously defended.  However, with freedom comes responsibility.  Government should not be responsible for saving individuals from every unwise decision they make.  Instead, we should enact policies that encourage personal initiative and responsibility, while discouraging government dependency.”

Why be too ashamed to say that four years later? (Since I dredged up his archives, I also need to update parts of this dossier, which I will do this weekend.)

David Bosco wants you to know where he’s coming from. “New Castle does have the majority of Democrats, and these Democrats, most of them are scared right now, when you had the looting and rioting going on in Wilmington. I have talked to so many people, so many citizens in the city of Wilmington, that flat out said, ‘We didn’t know what to do.’ The government is there to protect them, and they weren’t protected, and had to lock themselves in their homes, and people were running rampant. I want to make sure that those people never go through that again…I’m hoping that the people realize that I understand it. I get out there, I talk to the people as much as possible. I talk to business owners. I try to spend a lot of time in New Castle, it’s where I’m from, so I don’t want to lose that. And I’m hoping that that helps my campaign, for people to see that, ‘Hey, even though he lives down in Sussex, he hasn’t forgotten about us.’ Because I don’t want New Castle to be forgotten about.”

I don’t want to be forgotten about in Sussex, either.

“It’s the government’s job to protect the people,” he later said. “If the police are outmanned, we have the National Guard. Looting and rioting equals domestic terrorism.” We have the hardliner who then made the case that we have plenty of revenue but that, “As your Republican Governor I want to make sure we keep our banks focused on helping all those people effected by the COVID crisis. I want to make sure Credit Unions and Banks work with people who need help at the end of the mortgage forbearance terms. Foreclosures and business loss is not what our state needs.”

What does our state need? I’m not sure David has quite figured out the role of government here. Perhaps he’s making it a touch overprotective?

There are two statements from David Graham I want to highlight: First, he wants to, “Implement a zero-base state budgeting process to curb the runaway growth in the cost of Delaware’s government.” That, to me, may be one of his best ideas. But then there is this:

“The governor of Delaware is elected to serve all the citizens of Delaware. Therefore, there is a most serious duty to work, as much as possible, with whoever is sent to our State Legislature by their constituents. A Republican governor also serves the important role of gatekeeper to stop extremely liberal legislation, and conversely, extremely conservative legislation, detrimental to the Constitutional rights and general welfare of our citizens from being signed into law.”

In this state there is no such thing as “extremely conservative legislation” that is “detrimental to the Constitutional rights” of the citizens. The most conservative thing we can do – at least in the short term – is simply repeal the liberal nonsense that has passed over the last twenty sessions. Once that’s successful then we can really crank up the liberty – I’m just not sure any of it happens with Graham at the helm.

“What finally made me decide to run were the nanny state regulations involving Delawareans’ exercise of Constitutionally-protected rights,” said Julianne Murray. And where was she the last fifty years? I guess it’s a case of better late than never. “COVID-19 has shown that the government can and will take away freedoms from Delawareans in an unconstitutional manner,” she continues.  “We must address this so that future Governors have checks on their power.”

The question is who will have the check? I don’t know if we can trust the Delaware General Assembly as currently comprised. I’m actually afraid, absent a GOP majority in the DGA, that she will find out just how hamstrung she really is. Do you think they would have let a Governor Colin Bonini get away with anything he proposed in 2016?

Bryant Richardson chides Murray about filing suit to restore rights, pointing out,”Governor John Carney has overstepped his authority in issuing orders that restrict activities of some businesses while allowing others to stay open and he even ordered churches to close.

In opposition, I joined state Rep. Rich Collins in sponsoring a bill to rein in the power of any governor in the event of other such emergencies.

House Bill 330 would change the law to limit the Governor’s authority to continue a state of emergency. It would also require the Governor to get the approval of the General Assembly before extending a state of emergency.”

But like I said, that check and balance went exactly nowhere in the Delaware General Assembly because we’re saddled with a governmental trifecta from the party which most craves power. Simply put, they don’t care.

However, I do like this point Richardson makes:

“We became the greatest nation on earth because of individual initiative, not by allowing the government to control us. If we recapture that spirit and allow God to lead us, we can once again restore our state and nation.” My friend, I am all about revival and I pray regularly for it.

And then we have R. Scott Walker, whose idea of the role of government is a complete mystery to me. He’s libertarian enough to support legalizing marijuana, yet authoritarian enough to demand we adopt online education. He obviously doesn’t believe in following rules because he illegally places signs, but on the other hand he claims he’s beholden to no one because he doesn’t take donations. He definitely does not have a filter and can’t even stay in one party for long.

Yet he is on the ballot and some number of people will vote for him, perhaps persuaded he’s the Scott Walker who was governor of Wisconsin. (Hence the R. Scott Walker; he also gives me a task of straightening out several posts which are tagged Scott Walker and refer to the Delaware guy.)

That, then, is my impression of how each candidate sees the role of government. I’m finally going to pick a recommendation (or maybe two) for the GOP nod when I look at intangibles in the last part. I’m shooting for posting it Monday night (and indeed I made my self-imposed deadline.)

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