Annals of ill-advised rhetoric

State Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin -- who represents most of Rensselaer County -- at a press conference today for a group of Republican legislators -- including Jim Tedisco -- pushing to make it harder to use "messages of necessity" to quickly pass bills (like with the recent gun control bill): "We're told, basically, to shut up and vote ... If that's not dictatorial, I don't know what is. Hitler would be proud. Mussolini would be proud of what we did here. Moscow would be proud. That's not democracy." McLaughlin ended up posting an apology to Andrew Cuomo on YouTube. "Sometimes in the heat of the moment you say things that you regret, and that's what happened today..." Related: Steve McLaughlin speaking against the SAFE Act in the Assembly chamber. [TU CapCon] [Jim Tedisco] [Steve McLaughlin YouTube] [Steve McLaughlin YouTube]


Gov. Cuomo also used a message of necessity to pass the new "Tier VI" pension plan last year, significantly reducing the pensions of new local and sate employees and increasing employee pension contributions. Funny, but I don't remember Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin objecting to Cuomo's use of the message of necessity then.

I guess McLaughlin accepts the use of 'dictator-like' tactics when he supports a bill, but objects to it when he doesn't support the bill.

Assemblyman McLaughlin: Can you say 'hypocrite'?

I'm not suggesting these analogies weren't over the top, but if one wanted to suggest that a current political leader was acting in a dictatorial fashion, which lesser dictators would be politically correct enough to invoke?

Also -- Bob is right on the money in his observation!

@chrisck: "which lesser dictators would be politically correct enough to invoke?". None. Zilch. Zippo. Nada. Which should be big enough a clue for these people to get a grip and realize they are, indeed, *not* living in a dictatorship.

@-S -- Your point is well taken. However, the use of analogy, simile, and metaphor is generally colorful and not infrequently exaggerated to make a point. It's used in language all the time. Even the adjective "dictatorial" would be off limits unless it met your strict, historical definition of a dictatorship.

Without commenting on the specifics of any bill passed using this method:

I don't know how "dictatorial" it is to ask the popularly elected legislature to vote on an issue. That actually sounds more democratic than the nonsense of bills getting lost in committee and subjected to lobbyist review before going to another committee which decides if,how and when the bill will be discussed and introduced.

In short "Legislators vote!" is hardly a dictatorial move.

Ramming something through in the middle of the night (Tier 6) doesn't seem all that democratic to me. But that vote was part of bigger undemocratic horse trading. "Give me Tier 6 and I won't hammer you on redistricting so your seats will stay safe for your perpetual reelection."

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