My head is spinning.
I remember a time when Democrats were considered the party of “big, intrusive, patronizing government.” The bigger the government entity, the wiser were the decisions that came down, or so it went.
While the Democrats were gathering under the banner of Big Brother, Republicans were the champions of local control. Get “big gub’mint” off the backs of the locals, they said. Let the decisions come from city halls and county courthouses.
What’s just happened in Austin?
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed House Bill 40, which bans cities from prohibiting the practice of “fracking,” which is shorthand for “hydraulic fracturing,” the use of water to break loose oil from hard-to-get places underground.
Abbott is a proud Republican. But wait! He and his colleagues in Austin aren’t allowing cities to decide for themselves what’s best for their communities, their residents, their constituents. He wants the state to handle these decisions.
Isn’t that employing the heavy hand of government on us little folks?
HB 40 is in reaction to the city of Denton’s decision to ban fracking inside its city limits. No can do, the Legislature said. Abbott agreed and he signed the bill into law, which takes effect immediately.
“HB 40 does a profound job of helping to protect private property rights here in the state of Texas, ensuring those who own their own property will not have the heavy hand of local regulation deprive them of their rights,” Abbott said in a news release.
The “heavy hand of local regulation”? Hey, the locals know best, don’t they?
Fracking has its critics. They contend it is environmentally dangerous. It destabilizes the bedrock. It consumes a lot of water that — if you’ll remember — is in short supply these days. Yes, it’s also an effective way to extract fossil fuel from the ground.
Back to my original point: The whole notion of our political system’s basic party principles relating to big and small government has been turned on its ear.
I hope my head stops spinning.