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

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ashburn Tells The Truth About His Fellow Cowards

Voting for the budget and facing retirement has seemed to liberate Bakersfield-area Senator Roy Ashburn. He shared coffee with a couple local reporters and dished about the behind-the-scenes budget process, confirming a lot of expectations:

In the wee hours of the Thursday before the budget vote — which had to have been Thursday, the 12th — the Senate Republican caucus met.

One of the senators pointed to four others and basically outed them for coming to his office and asking him to vote for the budget— when they didn't have the guts to do it themselves.

Ashburn wouldn't name names.

Ashburn also said senators went to state Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, and asked him to put pet projects into the budget. That as Republican senators railed against overspending. Maldonado wouldn't do it, Ashburn said.

What you have with the Yacht Party is a group of lawmakers afraid of their own base. They glorify the importance of simpletons like John & Ken* to almost mythic levels, so that if they dare to step out of their comfortable ideological shells and help move the state from the brink of financial collapse, they believe it would be the end of their careers. So like all sniveling creatures, they would rather have somebody else do the heavy lifting so they could maintain their pose of anti-tax purity. And at the same time, they have the gall to ask the same people to slip in tasty goodies for themselves and their districts, so they can have all the benefits of compromise with none of the costs.

I'm going to sound like a broken record, but this is again the fruit of a dysfunctional process that enables Yacht Party cowards to extract as much as possible and maintain maximum leverage over negotiations despite their small minority. The conservative veto must end, and democracy must be restored to California.

* - Just to add to the John & Ken stuff: James Rainey, the LA Times' media critic, slaps them around a bit:

It's all the fault of those no-good illegal immigrants. Yes, the price tag that comes with a huge influx of noncitizens is rightly part of the public discourse. So why muddy the waters with some confounding information?

John and Ken wouldn't make that mistake. They make sure to mention the taxes the newcomers don't pay and the bills they run up in public hospitals. Who needs to mention the taxes they do pay, or to waste time worrying about the lower prices and convenience we all derive from their low-wage labor?

Then, please, protest the cost of state workers. It's beyond righteous to worry about the payroll growing, when everyone else is cutting back. But certainly don't remind your listeners (at least that I've heard) that the fastest-growing state job category is prison guard and that their support of tough sentencing helps explain why that part of the state budget keeps growing by leaps.

And certainly don't suggest that an economic downturn -- affecting virtually every government and business in the world -- played any role in ruining the state's finances. It's much more fun to pin it on that special someone. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger "had five years to fix the problem and it got to $42 billion," KenJohn said the other day. (Sorry, I'm name-lumping. But when the two get all worked up, I can't tell their voices apart.) [...]

It should be no surprise that "California Psychics" is a frequent advertiser on the program of late.

The business offers the services of tarot card readers, clairvoyants, astrologers and the like. "I think, most of all," one satisfied customer says in the ad, "I felt validated."

It seems to me that's what John & Ken are selling too. A bit of hocus-pocus and validation of their listeners' anger with a story that doesn't bother with all the messy details.

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