This is Bob Priddy reporting from Kerfluffleland.
A Kerfluffle is a fuss and a fuss is a matter of worrying over trifles.
Governor Nixon got his Fruit of the Looms in a big knot yesterday afternoon when reporters didn’t ask him questions about what he wanted to talk about, just after he had read a stemwinder of a Medicaid expansion speech to a rotunda full of folks who thought his words were golden.
His message in the rotunda was similar to the message he’s been preaching all over the place about the need for the legislature to approve Medicaid expansion. So what he was doing was hardly new–or news.
What was new –and what was news–was that the speech came shortly after he had told the Revenue Department to quit scanning and keeping records of people with concealed weapons permits. That’s been an increasingly important issue as the legislature questions the operations of the department’s Motor Vehicle Division and the division’s collection and retention of a lot more private information than ever before demanded to get a driver’s license or any other kind of state identitification card. In recent days when he had paused long enough for a reporter to ask him about the increasingly strident accusations of misdeeds by his Department of Revenue, he wandered through a set statement that amounted to saying nothing was wrong.
When reporters kept trying to get a clear understanding yesterday of what he had done with his CCW order and why he had not done other things or why he decided only people with concealed weapons permits should not have those documents scanned and kept, he began to sputter and charged the entire senate committee inquiry into deparatment operations was a “kerflulffle” designed to take attention away from Medicaid expansion. He sputtered a few other things about CCW permit holders and then bolted for his office with the intrepid Phill Brooks trying to ask another questions.
There are plenty of people, however, who think the whole revenue department document scanning and retention operation is something more than a trifle. There are those in the capitol, particularly those who have pronounced Medicaid expansion a dead issue despite the governor’s tub-thumping for it, who might argue that the Medicaid rally was a kerfluffle intended to take people’s minds off privacy invasion concerns. One person’s kerfluffle is another person’s cause for war.
We’ve been around long enough to know the capitol is stuffed with kerfluffle from January to mid-May. My isue is a crisis. Yours is kerfluffle.
Accessibility has never been a priority for this administration. Managing the message HAS been a priority. In Jay Nixon’s case, it’s always preferable to read a speech than to answer questions about what he’s doing and why.
So Nixon does something that alters the actions of his revenue department. But it’s only one action on one of the issues that has Republican legislators in both chambers in a mini-froth accusing the department of violating public privacy and state laws.
Nixon decided to let reporters crowd around in a corner of the rotunda for a few precious minutes after his big speech and went off in a huff when the reporters didn’t want to talk about another Medicaid expansion speech but instead start asking why he did one thing but not another; what was his reasoning for doing what he did, and does he think more action should be taken. There was no time and apparently no inclination for a quieter, more organized discussion with reporters in his office of Medicaid or of the revenue department. So he got urinarilly agitated and stalked away because reporters preferred to ask him about what was new–and news.
Bob Priddy, from somewhere in Kerfluffleland.