Surely modern conservatism features brainpower somewhere. But with John Boehner, Michele Bachman, Glenn Beck, and the like dominating the national stage, it's hard to know for sure.
Even on the local level, conservative officials seemingly can't put two and two together and get four. Consider Mike Hale, the sheriff of Jefferson County, Alabama, which includes Birmingham.
Hale is a bona fide Bush Republican. In fact, Hale's bona fides are so strong that he hired Rob Riley, son of former GOP Governor Bob Riley, to help handle his department's legal work. As regular readers know, the Rileys have strong ties to such Bush luminaries as Karl Rove, Bill Canary, Jack Abramoff, and Michael Scanlon. Few people on the planet are more tainted by Bush-era sleaze than Bob and Rob Riley.
It seems safe to say that Mike Hale approved of the policies that George W. Bush and Bob Riley pushed over the past eight to 10 years. So why is Mike Hale whining now?
As a county sheriff, Hale relies heavily on state tax dollars--and those have been drying up in the ongoing recession that Bush and Riley helped create. State budgets are oozing red ink around the country, but Hale's situation became even worse after the Alabama Supreme Court last month threw out Jefferson County's occupational tax and business-license fee, which generated $74 million in fiscal 2010.
Did Hale notice the Alabama Supreme Court is dominated by Bush Republicans and conclude that GOP financial management is not so good for his department? Not on your life. In the midst of his complaining, Hale never mentions that it is Republicans like himself who caused this crisis.
How dire have things become on Hale's watch? Consider a recent report from The Birmingham News
Hale said the reduction would have an adverse impact on public safety in Jefferson County.
"We have lost about 70 deputy sheriffs that we could not replace over the last two years due to funding cuts," he said. "We have a jail that is closed and one that is busting at the seams. I don't know how we can stand to lose any more. We can't buy uniforms; we have no money for cars. We have no capital accounts, so it comes down to losing more personnel."
In essence, Hale said, residents of Jefferson County and surrounding areas are about to become less safe:
The reduction in personnel, said Hale, would mean his office has "less call takers and less call responders; slower response time and officer safety issues because of lack of backup; backlogs on court papers served; (and) less detectives to investigate, solve cases and bring criminals to justice."
"It impacts our ability to serve victims after a crime," he said. "It will mean more drugs on the streets, more criminals on the streets, no proactive crime fighting. It will impact our ability to track convicted sex offenders."
If you live in the Birmingham area, as I do, you can be on the lookout for a convicted sex offender--and rest assured that law enforcement will be nowhere in sight.
Those Republicans know how to fight crime, don't they?