The inconsistent Republicans

In politics, it is often difficult to be consistent.  

Holding true to a particular ideology may require an individual to be for or against something that they personally object to or that they know will anger their constituents. 

I’m thinking of many of the Republicans who hold super majorities in the West Virginia Legislature this session.  

For example, I have heard lots of floor speeches by Republicans about how this bill or that one is about parental rights. Monday, the Republican majority in the House passed HB 5105 which significantly expands school vaccine exemptions.

But then Wednesday, House Republicans passed HB 5297 which prevents doctors from providing gender-affirming medications to minors who are struggling with gender dysphoria. That bill would eliminate a provision in the law that currently allows for the care if approved by two doctors and the child’s parents. 

So, parents should be able to decide about their children’s vaccines, but should not be able to decide, in consultation with doctors, about gender affirming care. 

Here is another example. 

House Republicans have approved HB 4299 that permits teachers or staff members to arm themselves. One lawmaker told me the bill was the ultimate in allowing local control because it leaves it up to the individual whether to go through the training to carry a gun at school.

However, Senate Republicans have passed a SB 468 requiring that eighth graders watch the video “Meet Baby Olivia,” by Live Action, a nonprofit organization that has been active in national anti-abortion campaigns.

So, teachers can decide for themselves whether to bring a gun to school, but the state legislature is going to dictate to teachers to show a particular video in class about human development. 

You may be for or against these and other bills, but if you are looking for philosophical consistency, you won’t find it. 

More broadly, think of it this way: Traditionally, Republicans were for smaller government, yet this body is taking historically significant steps to expand the power and influence of government when it suits.   

Their argument will be that the actions are empowering the state’s citizens.

However, the record shows that empowerment is selective. When this legislature’s Republicans want to, they will enthusiastically wield their super majority power over how individuals live or do their jobs. 

For years, Republicans complained when the Democrats were in charge that they could do whatever they wanted. The minority voice was like spitting in the wind, and GOP complaints about one party rule were legitimate. 

Now Republicans have complete control, and their power is unchecked, while their policies are often inconsistent. 

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