Friday, February 20, 2009

Thoughts about the Budget Troubles

Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) has done something quite remarkable. He was able to roll his party, the Governor, and the opposition majority party to give him three constitutional amendments for his vote to pass the California budget.

The fact that this charade in democracy was allowed to drag on as long as it did is conclusive evidence that governing the Golden State has now become politically impossible.

Let’s look at the facts:

Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) was able to blackmail the state into giving Orange County $35 million by threatening to withhold his vote. Had Willie been Speaker, Correa would have been told to go frack himself. He would be a dead man to the caucus until the next round of elections when he certainly would have faced a challenger that could take him out. Even SEIU agreed to cuts and this wasn’t enough for Correa.

So much for intra-party discipline. Honestly, if you can’t keep you own members in check then what is it exactly that you are leading? With Bass looking at her next job, it is no wonder that the Assembly Dems are looking more like a shell than a body.

Speaking of shells, Arnold is not looking so hot these days. As the Republican Candidate for Boxer’s seat, he’s got to lead something more substantial than his own party which won’t even give him the time of day. It must be frustrating being a Republican these days; the candidates that are the most likely to head the tickets are the least faithful to the grassroots.

And the Republicans deserve what’s coming. I hope their No-Tax God has been satisfied with this sacrifice. They’ve caped a leader in one house for trying to (gasp) compromise and show no signs of doing anything to dig themselves out of their 20th Century ideological pit.

Well, there’s no better way to remain a minority party than by constantly looking back to the glory years of the past. And, in looking forward, if the price to pass a budget are constitutional amendments then that is too high a price to pay.

If there was ever a reason to get rid of the 2/3rds requirement, now is the time. But we’ve seen how responsive the State has been to addressing real issues once the heat dies down. But this stalemate has permeated into the public consciousness. Let us hope that it is not as quickly forgotten because we have to do this again next year.

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