Panhandle Progressive

What Is Governing, and What Is Not

In late September we were treated to a show by the performance artists in the far-right Chaos Caucus of the Republican Party, led by Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene. This nearly devolved into an actual government shutdown. It seems like any positive legislative proposal these days must endure a gauntlet filled with warlords and highwaymen ready to exact a ransom. We can all agree that obstructionist grandstanding and political extortion is not governing. Good governance is building, not destroying. It is about persuasion and coalition building, not extortion.

Falstaff Runs for Senate

Jim Justice reminds us of Sir John Falstaff. Falstaff, you will recall, made appearances in several of Shakespeare's plays. He was a comic character -- fat, buffoonish and untrustworthy. West Virginia's own Falstaff has announced he is running for the U.S. Senate. This presents season ticket-holders for the theater of West Virginia politics with a hard choice: is this comedy or tragedy?

Riley Moore’s Political Stunt Will Cost West Virginia Money

As West Virginia Treasurer, Riley Moore has turned the office into a conservative weapon. He has advanced two policies prohibiting investing state funds so as to take into account environmental and social factors in assessing a company's health. This is irresponsible and is all part of a political crusade against "woke" liberal elites, much like Ron DeSantis. But Moore's political stunt has undermined the stability of West Virginia's investments and will cost our citizens money.

The Framers Never Intended to Bind Us Forever to 1789

The essence of the doctrine of originalism is that the only proper way to interpret the Constitution is to determine the original intent of the Framers. But what if the original intent of the Framers was actually that the Constitution should live and breathe in each period of our history and not be limited to what it meant in 1789? There is considerable evidence that this is exactly what the Framers intended. They knew that without a supple Constitution, that very document risks creating the conditions for its own replacement, and how that happens may not be pretty.

Our Supreme Court in the Grip of Originalism

Our Supreme Court is in the grip of a doctrine that is having a profound, pernicious effect on the whole country and there is no end in sight. That doctrine is originalism. Originalism is a political tool to being used to achieve the political goals of the conservative right. It is merely dressed up as a serious doctrine of Constitutional interpretation.

The New Civilian Climate Corps

Immediately upon assuming office, President Biden issued an executive order addressing his climate objectives.  Prominent among these was the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps to tackle climate change resiliency and provide job training to underemployed youth.  The new CCC would be modeled on a popular New Deal program that put thousands to work on conservation projects during the Depression. From every angle the new CCC seems like a good idea, but its uncertain future is bound up with the stalled Build Back Better legislation.

The Hot Air About Methane

When President Biden left for the COP26 meeting in Glasgow recently, his primary plan for reaching the greenhouse gas reduction goals in the Paris Accords was in disarray.  The cause of this disarray was mainly the opposition of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.  But Biden had Plan B, which involves a two-pronged approach to sharply reducing methane emissions.