"Obviously, it's disappointing, but I think the voters are sending a message that they believe the budget is the job of the governor and Legislature. We probably need to go back and do our job." - Noreen Evans, Chairwoman of the Assembly Budget Committee
If there was more evidence necessary to prove the disconnect between Sacramento and the state, yesterday provided it. All of the propositions went down except for the punitive 1F.
• An upshot of this taxpayer-funded debacle has been the focus on the Governor and his lack of leadership. Coming from a party that preaches responsibility, his flight to Washington was cowardly at best. Rather than working to cobble together a middle way, he too often has relied on his star status and its inability to motivate voters this time has been telegraphed throughout the world with the failure of these propositions.
• Predictably, the anti-tax factions and the State Republicans will claim victory for having pushed the state over the cliff. Predictably as well, they will overplay their hand (as they always do) when their ideology again crashes into reality. They don’t have real solutions and don’t know what to do if their base isn’t motivated by anger directed at their opposition.
• This time, I think being part of the problem will break the back of the California Republicans. Unless a gubernatorial candidate can shift this, the Republicans in office are part of the same legislature that facilitated this mess and will be recognized for their efforts in the “throw the bums out” sentiment I predict shall occur in 2010.
• And the Democrats won’t be immune. The inability of the majority party to create the conditions necessary to change the 2/3rd majority required for budget passage is an expected result of term limits and a weak speaker. The fact that they were held hostage and then went forth to sell this mess to the public is FUBAR. A mediocre governor has played the opposition party and this has awakened a public that would rather watch American Idol than do the job the legislature was elected to do.
• Public anger is seething and this will only get worse with the cuts that the governor will make.
Take a day off, California, because there is going to be a long tough slog in the months ahead.