Big Daddy

Ask Big Daddy: That dog won’t hunt

Hey Big Daddy,

The last time more Californians were Registered Republicans than Democrats, Herbert Hoover was in the White House. In the last 50 years, the GOP has lost two-thirds of all statewide races. What gives these guys the right to demand they get anything in the budget?

Frustrated in the Majority

Hey Frustrated,

Your question reminds me of an old joke that sums up the motivations for most human and other animal behavior: Why does a dog lick his balls? Because he can.

So, if Abel Maldonado can get Democrats to rewrite the state Constitution with colored pencil at 3 in the morning, then why the heck wouldn’t he?  And if Roy Ashburn sees this as the last, best chance for him to bail out his buddies in the horseracing industry with a $35 million give away, why do we fault him? The government seems to be in the business of bailing out dying industries these days.

What’s another $35 million among friends for a few pretty ponies?

And it’s not just the Republicans. Lou Correa also held out until the OC got a few million in extra pork. Actually, given Correa’s Senate record, perhaps it was just the Republicans who were holding out.

Like the aforementioned dog, this behavior is a bit unseemly, and not too pleasant to watch in public. But there’s not a whole lot we’re going to be able to do to stop it.

Sure, all of this political blackmail doesn’t bode well for representative democracy, but really, we’re beyond all that, aren’t we?
Californians have told us that they want a dysfunctional government. By supporting term limits, they said they wanted amateurs running the show. Every election cycle, they go out and approve constitutional guarantees for various micro-segments of the state budget. And every 30 years or so, they elect an actor with no political experience as governor. What exactly did the good people of California expect?

Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” To which I might add, build a more dysfunctional government, and they will beat a path to your door with torches and pitchforks in their hands.

Take a look at The John and Ken show in Orange County this weekend. If you think this is the end of the tax revolt, you’re crazy. And if you think voters are ready to take responsibility for any of this, well, I’ve got an old mousetrap to sell you.

I’ve always maintained that the weak link in any democracy is the people. If people knew what they wanted and how to get it, we wouldn’t need government at all, right? Government works for those who are willing to game the system, or kick and scream the loudest. So, I understand your disenchantment, Frustrated. Really, I do. But maybe instead of bemoaning the Republican’s success in extracting some budget crumbs, you might want to think about joining them.

How about getting a bill introduced that would make it illegal to register Republican? That would probably get a little bit of play, and give you a platform to vent your frustrations. If that doesn’t work, there’s always the frivolous lawsuit route. Sure, it’s a cheap stunt, but welcome to our world. The cheap stunt is about all we seem to understand anymore.

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