In what is perhaps the most obnoxious political stunt to date in the current legislative session, North Dakota Democrats pushed a bill (HB1421) to fund a federal program providing milk to school children during snack breaks with a state appropriation. It’s a very small program – just 6,000 kids would have qualified for it – and it would have been duplicative in that low-income school kids are already getting milk with their breakfasts.
But this wasn’t really about milk for school kids so much as political point scoring. “It’s time we as a Legislature stop focusing on on one percent, and put more focus on the two-percent or skim or chocolate,” Assistant Minority Leader Corey Mock told the Huffington Post, invoking the rhetoric of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Democrats were quick to accuse Republicans of prioritizing tax relief for the oil industry over children, which is just plain stupid. Must Republicans approve of every new spending program for children before they support tax relief, lest they be accused of not being sufficiently for the children?
Democrat legislators now have milk cartons on their desks to collect coins to donate for milk. Which is just another stunt because little boxes on the floor of the ND house aren’t likely to collect a lot of spare change.
But, again, this isn’t about milk for kids. This is about petulant partisan politics perpetrated by a political party so thoroughly marginalized, so irrelevant to the governing process, that the most relevant thing they can do is to cry over spilled milk.
The legislative process should be about making calm, rational and responsible decisions about how to spend (or, in this case, not spend) the taxpayer’s dollars. Democrats, with their childish antics, do a disservice to that process.
But then, since they can’t win many elections, they aren’t really much of a part of that process anyway. And behaving this way all but ensures they won’t be a part of it any time in the near future.