Big Daddy

Big Daddy

Dear Big Daddy,
So, the special election is over. Fine. Now what are we supposed to do?

–RIP from Ripon

Dear Rip,
There was a sort of beaten dog feeling to this whole affair, was there not? It’s hard to imagine that we didn’t learn this lesson back in 2005, but hey, everyone loves a good rerun, right?

But now what? Did voters really give lawmakers a clear message about how to solve the problem. No. They just said they don’t want to be any part of it, thank you very much.

There’s an old saying – the weak link in a democracy is always the people, and the results from Tuesday Night just seem to reinforce that notion.

Look, I’m not saying the Legislature doesn’t have any blame in this fiasco. They have plenty. But this entire process underscored just how back asswards our entire political process is.

If there’s any silver lining here, it’s that this may put to rest the notion of placing the budget on the ballot. Now, we can all say, been there, done that. And the voters have spoken – they don’t want any responsibility.

Voters are a lot like reporters. They like to stand on the sidelines and criticize everything that’s going on. But when it comes time to make some hard decisions and actually do something about it, they do exactly what the Oakland Raiders do just about every time they get on offense – they either fumble, or they punt.

The problem with the way the special election was set up was that it was not an either/or proposition. Voters were not forced to make the same decisions legislators have to make between two equally unpleasant options. Voters were allowed to take these issues up individually.

And guess what? Voters decided that they don’t want to raise taxes. And they don’t want to borrow money. And they don’t want to cut funds from mental health or childhood development programs.

You stay here, I’ll alert the media.

Anyone who thought this hair-brained scheme would actually work deserves a share of the blame as well. But to all those political consultants who got an extra paycheck out of this whole thing, hey, more power to you.

When you outspend your opponents ten to one and still lose two to one, you know you’ve got a stinker that you could smell clear on the other side of the country.

The governor had the good sense to be on the other side of the country when the voters pulled the flush lever on these proposals. Heck, an audience with the president was a welcome respite for the declarations of failure that awaited the governor as soon as Kindergarden Cop One touched down at Sacramento International.

Heck, tilling Michelle Obama’s organic garden would be a better gig than dealing with this mess.

And why not? Heck, they love the guy in D.C. To the national media, Schwarzenegger is the Green Governor, the guy who will save the planet. Talk about falling upward.

So, I say, let’s be done with it. Let’s all put our blindfolds on and take our axes out, and see what kind of budget carnage we can wreak. Maybe that will finally get somebody’s attention.


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