The Burlington Free Press doesn’t have much time for state government these days, what with the dismissal of its entire Statehouse bureau and its obvious skeleton-crewing in recent weeks.
But boy, they’ve got plenty of time to spare for the potential reassignment of a single Republican back-bencher.
[State Rep. Mary] Morrissey, [R-Bennington]… confirmed Friday she has been told that House Speaker Shap Smith, D-Morristown has plans to reassign her to a yet to be determined committee.
… Morrissey said she sees the move as an effort to silence a legislator who has been forced to ask tough questions that Democrats are not asking themselves.
Or, to put it another way, it’s a routine committee reshuffle, the kind that happens every couple of years. A whole lot of others will be shifted around in the next few days. It is within the purview of the Speaker to make committee assignments.
Morrissey and her allies are depicting this move as an effort to stymie oversight of health care reform. Which, frankly, gives a hell of a lot of credit to Morrissey. In my brief exposure to her work, she seems to be a garden-variety naysayer on health care reform, ideologically opposed to Obamacare and Shummycare under any circumstances, and not offering any special expertise on the subject.
The Speaker himself put it this way:
“I’ve spent a lot of time looking at a group of people that will work well together to come up with policy,” Smith said.
“I want to put together people who will work effectively together and don’t have baggage from past fights,” Smith said.
Since Morrissey is toting a steamer trunk full of conservative dogma, Smith seems to have reason for her removal. It has less to do with the alleged danger she poses to Democrats, and more to do with her kneejerk opposition. She’s not a watchdog, she’s a fallen tree in the roadway.
Her possible removal from the Health Care Committee is standard operating practice. And, frankly, not that big a deal. It’s not like she’s the only one who can ask inconvenient questions, and it’s not like she has special knowledge of the health care system.
Well, if she does, she hasn’t shown it.