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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Must Read Calitics

Always invaluable, the California politics blog Calitics is feeling like an indispensable lifeline to sanity to me for the aftermath of the May 19 special election.

David Dayen writes
Virtually the entire political leadership in Sacramento took without questioning the view that the overwhelming loss of the special election is somehow a mandate for… deep, drastic cuts to the budget. The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times… and most other publications provided uncritical coverage of the Governor and even leading Democrats, parroting this theory that "the voters spoke" and the message was that only cuts would be allowable from this point forward…

Far too often in our politics, dishonest lawmakers decide that voters mandate their particular ideologies and preferred policy decisions regardless of the facts. Perhaps the only real message delivered from the voters [May 19] to lawmakers was that the former doesn't particularly like or trust the latter. But there are other possibilities…

I would argue that the voters feel no trust in the legislature because they see time and again policy solutions that stick the average Californian with the bill that the wealthy and well-connected don't pay. The fact that the only permanent tax issue in the February budget was a $1 billion dollar tax cut for the largest corporations in America is a perfect example…

[T]he reason that the legislature has such desperately low esteem right now is that they fail to publicly even advocate for the solutions Californians plainly want, or the breakage of the structural barriers that would provide it. This failure caused the May 19 debacle and will cause further problems for the Democrats in the state if they are not careful. A political party seen as devoid of principle will not be a successful political party forever. What Californians desire, essentially, is leadership. And they will punish those who refuse to give it to them.

Dayen's comments arrive on the heels of an earlier post by Robert Cruickshank driving Dayen's final point even more forcefully home:
Many Dems believe a 2/3 majority is winnable in 2010. It is certainly within the realm of possibility -- but Democrats also risk endangering their own position by causing a massive "throw the bums out" backlash in the November 2010 election.

The Democratic leadership should instead finally stop the enabling [of dysfunctional anti-tax anti-government zealots]… and start assertively proposing their own better solutions. The reason many Democratic voters sat on their hands on May 19 was because they weren't given anything positive or hopeful to embrace. There were no progressive solutions offered, and nothing that would have suggested a line would be held. Voters want something to rally behind. Taxing the wealthy in order to protect schools and health care services and local government seems a good place to start.

If more Californians read and contributed to Calitics, it could have the kind of hand in saving this State in its present distress as the quick-burgeoning readership of dKos and the rest of the Netroots had a hand in saving a certain Nation on the brink of authoritarian catastrophe in all-too-recent memory.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Something tells me that if we were all posthuman robot gods then California politics likely wouldn't be so shockingly stupid. Have you considered that you might be arguing on the wrong side of the fence when it comes to H+? Lord knows that HUMANS have no chance of fixing this mess.*

*snerks throughout