As California Goes, So Goes The Nation …
Or so the saying goes – but in this case it may have a ring of truth to it.
Democrats have been quick to dismiss the Tea Parties which were held in hundreds of locations throughout the country as nothing more than a few disgruntled right-wingers who are sore losers. But instead, they may be the most visible part of a much larger movement that is saying “enough is enough”. And nothing may demonstrate that more than the upcoming special election in California.
Voters there are apparently tired of the legislature not doing its job, and see the 6 ballot measures as the legislature trying to pass the buck instead of doing their job. Consequently, we find a broad consensus that crosses party lines, in opposition to most of the ballot measures proposed. The one most likely to pass, interestingly, has to do with refusing legislators a raise if the state’s budget is in a deficit. In California that means whatever they’re making now is likely to be their pay from now on. Of course, I’d love to see the same sort of measure passed for the Congress of the United States.
To demonstrate the point of citizen bi-partisanship on this are a Republican and Democrat speaking about the upcoming vote:
Voter Barbara Dale, a Republican from Red Bluff, said she will be happy to vote in the special election because she is convinced that lawmakers can’t do their job themselves.
“I don’t like a lot of the things that they’re doing,” said Dale, who plans to vote “no” on Proposition 1A, which seeks to impose state spending restrictions but would trigger $16 billion in extended tax hikes.
“They’re just pushing things through,” Dale complained of lawmakers. “They’re spending too much money, they’re raising taxes, and they’re chasing businesses out of California.”
But Dale particularly wants to vote “yes” on Proposition 1F – the measure to deny elected officials pay raises when there is a state general fund deficit.
So does Democrat Vincent Anderson, an American River College student in Sacramento County.
“Why would we pay them more money when it seems that they’re never doing their job?” Anderson asked. “Their job is to run the state.”
Anderson, who opposes most of the budget reform measures, said he is offended the initiatives are even on the ballot.
“They’re just passing the buck,” he said. “California has been in debt for a while. Why is this (special election) so important now?”
In fact, a large majority of voters polled are not at all happy with the direction of their state’s government:
The poll found a greater proportion of Republicans opposed to the measures than Democrats. More than three-fifths of Republicans oppose the fund shifts proposed in Propositions 1D and 1E, even though both ideas originated with GOP members of the Legislature.
But healthy majorities of both parties – 72 percent overall – answered “yes” when pollsters asked if voting down the measures “would send a message to the governor and the state Legislature that voters are tired of more government spending and higher taxes.”
Now anyone that doesn’t understand that it isn’t just “state government” which has embarked on a program of “more government spending and higher taxes” isn’t paying attention. Thus the “Tea Parties”. If what is going on in California is typical of the developing mood around the country, and I think it is, then Democrats waive off the Tea Parties at their own electoral peril. Instead of Tea Parties being gatherings of a “few hundred” disgruntled “right-wingers” who are “sore losers”, they may just be the tip of a gigantic ice berg of discontent which will begin manifesting itself at the polls as it appears it will in California.
As an aside – that doesn’t mean the GOP is the winner in all of this. I think most of the Tea Parties demonstrated that the people who attended are just as fed up with Republicans as they are with Democrats.