As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Clueless Bipartisan Fetishists Ruining California With False Equivalences

It's very rare to hear the problems of the state's budget and cash crises discussed correctly, particularly in the wider media. The journalistic fetish of "balance" and making sure the only valid opinion is perfectly situated in the middle of any argument means that the go-to "experts" for the traditional media are always these Solomon-like High Broderists with advice like "the legislature should just get together for drinks more often." Thus the breadth of opinion on a show like Warren Olney's ranges from California Forward to a beat reporter. And the problems of the state are always ascribed to "the legislature." Not the fact that we have a majority vote for elections but a 2/3 vote for any tax and budget issue, making it literally impossible for the elected representatives of the state to do the job entrusted them by the voters. No, that would be too simple. It must have to do with Democrats and Republicans not drinking together enough.

Two more examples of this today. First, the California Alliance for Jobs, which actually helped lead the fight for Prop. 1A's high-speed rail bonds, has a couple radio spots out today with "funnyman" Will Durst blaming "the legislature" for stopping all those infrastructure projects and hurting the state. The MP3 is here. Amazingly, Durst spoke for 60 whole sentence and didn't make a Monica Lewinsky joke. But he also failed to make clear in any way that any particular political party is responsible for budget gridlock. Durst says that we need a responsible budget with cuts and revenues, without mentioning that the Democrats have PROPOSED AND PASSED that.

Then wet noodle Gray Davis offers his wisdom on the crisis:

"It's deja vu," Davis told a cluster of reporters after listening to Schwarzenegger's somber address. "California has experienced feast-or-famine budgeting as long as I can recall, and (it) will go on for all eternity until the people pass a genuine rainy day fund."

Yes, THAT'S the problem. Not having revenues too closely aligned to the boom-and-bust cycle. Not ratcheting down property taxes so corporations pay less for their space than an average suburban couple in Nebraska. Not Yacht Party obstructionism. It's all about that rainy day fund (which, by the way, was PASSED but which the Governor has continually raided).

The sad thing is that Davis knows he's lying, but he's either unable to or incapable of admitting it. And so the bipartisan fetishists say "can't we all get along" without recognizing that their rhetoric, which doesn't assign blame or give any citizen a roadmap to what the problem really is, sends the state careening into disaster. I have nothing but contempt for these people, even more than the Yacht Party in many ways, because they so blithely abuse their own power.

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