Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And We Shall Now Call Our Urban Planning Department "Developer Services"

The likely slim Republican majority in the Colorado House is producing some real high quality early results.....

Colorado House Republicans today announced new committee chairs for the 2011 session, which will convene in January. More profoundly, perhaps, Speaker of the House-elect Frank McNulty announced new names for some of the committees.

Nowhere to be found among the new committees are such stalwarts as energy, labor or human services.

Instead of Health and Human Services, we now have Health and Environment. Instead of Business Affairs and Labor, we now have Economic and Business Development. Instead of Transportation and Energy, we have Transportation.

“The new committee names are a reflection of Speaker McNulty’s radical conservative agenda,” said House Minority Leader-elect Sal Pace, Pueblo.

“This really tells us how he plans to govern,” Pace said.

“It shows where their priorities are,” agreed Rep. Max Tyler, Lakewood, a member of the Transportation and Energy Committee last session. “I don’t know what committee will consider energy bills this year.”

These name changes may seem minor. But they are not.  Conservatives consistently do a great job of understanding how names, framing debates, and image shape American politics. Eliminating "Labor" from any committee and renaming the said committee "Economic and Business Development" quite clearly shows that the state of Colorado has no interest in protecting the rights or listening to the concerns of workers.

The other thing conservatives know is that Democrats won't do anything to change this back in the future. By renaming the committees now, despite having a 1 seat majority, they have reframed the debate for the foreseeable future.

Note: "Developer Services" is in fact the name of the urban planning department in the Albuquerque suburb of Rio Rancho, New Mexico.