Smiling at the Cemetery
by Deacon Blues
What in hell are these people smiling about tonight? Are we to believe they feel a sense of accomplishment from savaging local governments once again, stiffing the schools once again, willingly forcing IOU's upon small businesses in the midst of a recession, and harming the most vulnerable with program cuts just to protect the wealthiest Californians from tax hikes?
Yes, Governor Schwarzenegger and the GOP had an empirically-sound argument against tax hikes in the midst of a recession, but scoring those points came at the expense of local governments, schoolchildren, small businesses, and the disabled. Yes, the Democrats in both houses of the Legislature fought a successful rear guard action to stave off worse cuts, but it came after waiving a white flag of surrender early on because of a lack of ideas, vision, or a killer instinct in combat with a neanderthalic foe.
California has too many people, too many cars, not enough water or jobs, underperforming school systems, a bad revenue base and poor business climate, all locked in place by a right wing special interest machine bent on ensuring that nothing changes for corporations and the wealthy through the financing of a far-right red district minority in each house of the Legislature.
One thing abundant in the Capitol however is hot air. Sacramento floats on a haze of right wing talking points that are never fully attacked and debunked by a state Democratic apparatus that is inept and bereft of a winning message. So we are left with debacles like what happened today.
Much like Bush's tenure represents a lost decade for America, Schwarzenegger's time in office represents a lost decade for California. It all started with a Democratic governor and legislature spending one-time windfalls like drunken sailors, only to watch the Bush White House sink the state economy twice: the first time through Ken Lay and Enron, the second time through the sinking of the US economy.
Governors of both parties have let this state fall apart for decades since the days of Ronald Reagan, and with term limits these governors are now enabled by the worst legislature money can buy. It's hard to blame Schwarzenegger for all of this, when the fault really lies with us, the state's all-too-easily duped (non)voters. We tossed out Gray Davis and replaced him with this guy, who will leave the state far worse off than when he came in.
Where can I send my "thank-you" card to the state's GOP and their special interest masters who gave us all of this bounty?
Hat tip to David Dayen and Calitics