Big Daddy

Big Daddy

Hey Big Daddy,
So, the Democrats passed a budget with billions in new taxes that they know don’t have any chance of passing. Can you please explain to me what in the heck they are thinking? Don’t they know that the time for political drills is over? Please, enlighten me.

Fiscal Conservative in French Camp

Hey F.C.,
In a word, no. No, I cannot answer your question. I could not, would not with a goat, or in a moat, etc. And my reluctance, or refusal as it may be, to answer your question has nothing to do with the Democrats, or tobacco taxes, or any of those scintillating details.

The truth is, F.C., I haven’t paid all that much attention to California this week. And it has nothing to do with the fact that we seem to be going through most of the budget motions before something comes together in the next week or two. Sure, that’s part of it, but the real reason I haven’t been watching, is that I’ve been too busy monitoring the events in Iran.

If you thought Florida was a mess, check out what the ruling clerics and conservatives in Tehran just stepped in.

What’s going on in Tehran now is like Prague in 1968, or Moscow in 1989 There is a raw Democratic energy that reignites the faith in the power of democracy in even the most cynical of crusty old bastards, present company included. Watching those street protests revolt against an apparently corrupt election result, it’s impossible not to realize the power that ideals of liberation have for people who do not have any of the political freedoms that most of us take for granted every day.

As I watch with great hope, there is an unescapable sense of pending doom, that some kind of Tiananmen Square moment is on the horizon.

This is high-stakes politics. I understand that the budget process is important, but given the stakes of what’s going on in Iran, it makes California’s problems pale in comparison. At the very least, it’s hard not to realize all of the advantages we have to express ourselves politically every day, even if that expression manifests in a grumpy, holier-than-thou style cynicism.

Imagine for a moment what would happen if somehow, some way, this popular movement in Iran does weaken the position of the Mullahs and leads to some kind of Democratic reform in Iran. History would have quite a fight on its hands.

Republicans would point to President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and impose democracy in that country as the model for the new Iranian revolution. Others would say only a new, more hands-off approach to the Middle East could allow such a transformation to occur.

The reality is, history would have room for both narratives. Both sides could take some credit. And collectively, they could celebrate an honest-to-God political accomplishment that amounts to progress.

Hey, maybe budget makers could learn a little something by looking, just for a moment, to the Middle East.

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