Saturday Night Stupid

Gonna try something new. Just about every day I read about some GOP political stupidity that makes my jaw drop. I’m gonna try to share some of the best (worst?) examples of this phenomenon on Saturday nights when there’s not much else to talk about. The goal will be to collect up several howlers per week, but since I just thought of this idea today we’ll start with one. 

But it’s a good one. Let’s zip across the country to Idaho, where the Republican House Judiciary and Rules Committee shot down a bill to utilize the federal government’s existing system to provide enforcement after tracking down deadbeat parents who haven’t paid child support.

Why was this clearly family friendly bill voted down? Why, because of concerns about sharia law, silly. Duh.

No, really.

“Because the federal system is tied to the  Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, which includes agreements with the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Family Maintenance agreed to by Muslim-majority countries such as Bosnia and Albania, Idaho lawmakers fear the influence of creeping Sharia law.

“There is no specific language in the bill that would protect the rights of those dealing with parentage, child support and support orders from a foreign country that would contradict our laws here, ” said  Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll  (R). “There are other countries listed in the treaty—France, Belgium— that have recognized Sharia courts as quasi-courts. So I just feel that you should be aware of those facts.”

“With other Republicans agreeing, including Rep. Kathy Sims (R) who said, “We don’t need to invite foreign law in Idaho,”  the House Judiciary and Rules Committee shot the bill down.”

Beyond this deeply intellectual display of legislative discretion, there’s an even more awesome consequence for Idaho.

Beyond the ability of the state to step up tracking and enforcement of child support payments, failure to pass the the bill will cost the state more than $16 million in federal funds, with an additional $30 million possibly lost to the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, according to Idaho Reports.

Supporters of the bill pushed for passage, warning failure to do so would make Idaho a magnet for people wishing to avoid paying child support.

So the GOP rocket scientists cost Idaho $46 million (the FY15 budget is a little under $3 billion), held the state up for national ridicule and made Idaho a refuge for deadbeat parents. But no sharia law, nosirree, not in the Gem State. Not a bad day’s work, folks. 

To steal a tag line from my blog hero Charles Pierce at Esquire, “this is your democracy, America. Cherish it.”