Editorial: Republican governors present: Tantrum Theater

Doug Ducey is gone.

Well, not exactly gone. Just not the governor of Arizona anymore.

Unfortunately, he didn’t take his playthings with him.

Instead, those toys remain to despoil pristine borderlands. In teenage terms, this is called “soiling the nest” before parting.

In toddler terms, it’s simply called a hissy fit.

Ducey left behind an ungodly sculpture of dust-ugly building blocks – four miles of rusting shipping containers along the southern border: 800 of them end to end.

New Gov. Katie Hobbs, a thoughtful Democrat, must decide what to do with them, the fruits of $82 million spent by her Republican predecessor for an “in-your-face” statement aimed at Joe Biden.

Eighty-two million dollars — enough to build 10 elementary schools. That’s the cost of this installment of GOP Tantrum Theater. And it accomplished nothing.

As the New York Times reported, many of the containers have holes through which migrants can walk. And anyway, four miles of this supposed border “fence” leaves a lot of open border.

If curbing cross-border traffic were the objective, Border Patrol officials have a few suggestions on how to spend those millions better. But this is not about that.

This is about scoring political points.

Republican leaders are all about making a scene and not much about actually addressing the nation’s immigration problem.

Last week Biden introduced a comprehensive border plan with comparable parts enforcement and humane treatment of desperate people.

It’s what Democrats have proposed for years. But GOP demagogues will hear nothing about the humane part of the equation. All they want to talk about is dehumanizing enforcement headed by the Trumpian quest for a wall.

Amid the vacuum of actual problem-solving, we’ve seen ridiculous stunts like the governors of Arizona, Texas, and Florida busing immigrants to parts unknown.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott disgraced himself and his state with multiple costly gimmicks that improved the immigration situation, not one bit.

Calling it Operation Lone Star, Abbott transferred $4 billion from various state agencies, foremost the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, to station thousands of Department of Public Safety state troopers and Texas National Guard members along the border.

Abbott cited massive stops of illegal immigrants and drugs. Texas Monthly, pointing out that in fact border traffic went up, characterized it as “Floperation Lone Star.”

Abbott, by the way, has engaged in the same pointless border gambit of lining up shipping containers along the border near El Paso.

Abbott had to back off one of his most controversial actions – increased inspections of trucks crossing the border, which caused severe backlogs in shipping at a time when supply-chain matters were particularly acute.

Whatever benefits have come from these actions, none can justify the inhumane treatment of immigrants carted around like so much cattle.

In the case of Florida’s Ron DeSantis, it involved criminal misrepresentation to refugees from the streets of San Antonio.

If there is any justice in this world, DeSantis will have to explain this to a judge.

The tantrum theater practiced by these Republican leaders has become the coin of what their fellow ideologues consider leadership.

Watch it play out in the new Congress as Republicans launch investigations into the Biden administration in a costly game of payback for those probes rightfully drawn by the twice-impeached, criminally compromised former occupant in the White House.

Just as the stunts of Ducey, DeSantis, and Abbott did nothing to improve the nation’s immigration picture, neither will the kind of retribution Republicans fantasize about in Congress serve us, the taxpayers.

But the Republicans will get attention by any means they can. Ask any toddler why he throws his toys.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email him at jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author.