Commentary: Governor Schwarzenegger Living in Denial Land

arnold_june_2009Apparently Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger did not get the memo – he is a lame duck, he is no longer in charge, and even when he was in charge he did a poor job of getting budgets passed anyway.  It is time to step aside and let Governor-Elect Jerry Brown have a shot at it.

In case you missed it, last week Governor Schwarzenegger, who is still refusing to be called a lame duck, called a special session of the legislature for December 6 when the new legislature is sworn in.  The purpose?

To deal with the $6-billion gap that the Legislative Analyst’s Office reported this week in the budget that was just passed by the legislature a month ago, and which set records for being late.

Governor Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said that the goal of the special session is to address the estimated $6.1 billion shortfall in the current budget.  But that is not the truth.  The goal is to salvage the legacy of a Governor who could never balance the budget,  never get the budget passed on time, and saw the fiscal condition of the state deteriorate on a yearly and sometimes more frequent basis.

Let us be honest here – Governor Schwarzenegger could not get a budget passed even when he was Governor, how is he expecting to do so now?

Governor-Elect Jerry Brown was apparently aware the of the move and he and his team were more magnanimous than they should have been.

“This special session underscores the enormous challenges facing the state,” Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said in a statement. “While the governor-elect did not create this fiscal crisis, he and his transition team will continue the work they started after election day, collaborating with administration and department of finance officials, the legislative analyst’s office, legislators and others to address California’s budget problems.”

This morning a Sacramento Bee editorial said, “Lame duck session likely to be futile.”

As the Bee editorial stated, “Try as he did, Schwarzenegger failed to solve this state’s budget problem. In his seven years in office, the crisis went from awful to horrible to dreadful.”

As the Bee put it, the special session might make sense, but then there is reality.  They write, “But more likely, the special session will be for show, with Republicans rerunning their calls for more cuts to welfare, and Democrats resisting.”  And they rejoined, “Please spare us.”

They continue, “For a variety of reasons, from legitimate political differences to craven capitulation to moneyed interests, Schwarzenegger and the Legislature have been unable to move the state toward solvency.  In fact, the state has moved in reverse.”

The reality is that Governor Schwarzenegger had his chance, but he was unable to gain agreement from his own party.  He is not going to bring the two parties together now when the Republicans never had an incentive to agree and the Democrats are waiting until January when they get a new governor and a new toy.

“Brown will assume office soon enough. He and the Legislature will focus on the budget. They must consider restructuring state government in a way that jibes with the realities of revenue, and consider altering California’s tax structure,” the Bee writes in conclusion.  “The current administration has had its shot. Without a specific plan to make a significant dent in the deficit, the lame ducks ought to hobble off the stage.”

The reality of the challenges awaiting Jerry Brown were made painfully clear this week when the LAO issued their report suggesting another $25.4 billion shortfall that must be grappled with, from a state that has been stung by shortfall after shortfall.

We will now see how the new system works.  The Democrats are now in the hotseat in California, as they were in the US in 2008.  When Barack Obama and Congress failed to produce results fast enough, the voters retaliated.  The same could happen in California.

Governor Brown will get to work with new rules.  The Democrats can pass a majority budget so long as there are no new revenues attached to it.  That means they can cut but not spend or tax.

Moreover, voters may have a greater chance to hold Democrats accountable now, than in the past, because of reforms to redistricting rules.  However, most demographers believe that the new laws will do little to increase competition, mainly because residential patterns are already divided into red and blue areas.  There may be a few more competitive districts, but not enough to make a huge difference.

The voters also sent a strong message that they will not pay more money.  So they gave the Democrats the keys but not control.  And we shall see if this arrangement works any better.

Personally, I believe as I did two weeks ago, if Governor Brown cannot get things rolling, then it truly is time to start over.

One thing that is clear is that Arnold Schwarzenegger is now Mr. Irrelevant and the sooner he gets out of the way, the better.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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57 Comments

  1. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “Personally I believe as I did two weeks ago, if Governor Brown cannot get things rolling, then it truly is time to start over.”

    “…time to start over.” Meaning what exactly?

    CA is a very difficult state to govern. It is the most populous with many special interest groups (e.g. environmentalists, gay rights activists, pro-marijuana activists, pro-immigration activists, animal rights activists), has several powerful unions that have a stranglehold on the state (e.g. prison guards, public safety workers (police, firefighters), teachers), is schizophrenic with many ultra liberals (e.g. Berkeley) and many ultra conservatives (e.g. Bakersfield), to a large extent is out of step with the national mainstream, and a good deal of the time is inconsistent and unrealistic about what it wants (e.g. high speed rail at a time when basic infrastructure is crumbling). I suspect what is needed in CA is a leader with vision for the long haul and a spine to do what is necessary to get CA’s fiscal house back in order – a tall order. CA has the lowest credit rating (A-) of all 50 states –

  2. Dr. Wu

    David:

    I don’t see the downside here. Yes, it is unlikely that anything will get done on Arnie’s watch, but some progress may be made on the budget cutting front, especially in light of the new rules regarding majority votes on government.

    Sure, legislators will have to work a bit harder–but given the mess they have created should we worry about that? Yes, Arnie wants to revive his legacy, but it ain’t gonna happen. To most his legacy will be as you described it. He began, like must Republicans, with a tax/fee cut (in this case on vehicle registrations) which increased our deficit and it only got worse. I voted for Arnie and given the choice in the last election would still do so, but he has been a disappointment–not all his fault–but surely some of it is.

    Let’s hope Brown can do better. Expect cuts early next year.

    The interesting thing is that Democrats can cut the budget but not raise taxes–but they’d rather do the latter or at least a combination. Maybe they’ll try and enforce the sales tax on goods sold out of state since technically we all are supposed to pay that (its called a use tax and its on the State Income tax).

  3. David M. Greenwald

    I don’t know if it is a downside, but I think it is time to let Brown start working with the legislature to formulate a plan and I don’t see this being fruitful at this time.

  4. wdf1

    I agree that it may be likely that nothing material comes of this session, but I still see value in having it. The budget deficit keeps a higher profile in the news, and the legislature might advance the conversation some in advance of Brown. Given how long it has taken to pass a budget in California, it would be best to start immediately.

  5. wdf1

    This article in today’s Sac Bee sums up the current budget situation:

    Brown inherits nightmare — one he can’t pass along

    [url]http://www.sacbee.com/2010/11/14/3181566/brown-inherits-nightmare-one-he.html[/url]

  6. Mr.Toad

    They need to be in session to get to work on it as soon as they are sworn in. Arnold did this so Brown can get a head start.
    Getting rid of the 2/3 rule was the best thing that has happened since prop 13. The Republicans abused their authority by failing to help get budgets past. The voters finally took away their power. Brown knows the Republicans will not agree to new taxes so he pledged to get a vote on any new taxes. It will be rough for a while but my guess is that Brown will use the majority budget power to squeeze republican districts harder then the rest to try to soften up resistance to new taxes while leading by example and cutting until people are willing to hear real budget solutions to the structural deficit.

  7. Frankly

    ” Republicans rerunning their calls for more cuts to welfare, and Democrats resisting.”

    That is the template: Mean old Republicans want to takes away benefits from the poor and needy, while their Democrat champions resist. Problem is that decades of Democrat-controlled legislature deficit spending have put the state in a rat hole that no governor can fill – especially a new one beholden to so many public employee unions. The solution begins and ends with voter anger over the spending. Schwarzenegger knows this. The special session is his parting shot to Democrats as he sails away. It will get some press and bring back to post-election light the dismal shape of California’s budget.

    The denial is owned by Democrat politicians and voters in this state, not Schwarzenegger.

  8. wdf1

    Rusty: Exactly Jeff, Democrats are hard pressed trying to blame this on the Republicans when they’ve been in control for the last 14 years.

    Why do you think the Republicans haven’t made any headway in cutting down the Democratic majority in the legislature, especially in this election year?

  9. Frankly

    “wdf1: Why do you think the Republicans haven’t made any headway in cutting down the Democratic majority in the legislature, especially in this election year? “

    Let me take a stab…

    1. The California Democrat Party combined with union money and muscle is a fine-tuned political campaign machine. Even the popular Schwarzenegger got smacked down by it.

    2. It seems that everyone in CA has a relative working in government, or with their hand in the till. I talked to fellow conservative business owners who voted for Brown because they have a husband or wife working for the state, or they are contracting with the state. Despicable.

    3. Voter ignorance of the fiscal realities for this state.

    4. Larger minority population that tends to vote Democrat (trapped in their “political plantation”).

    5. Declining private-sector economy – fewer voters with economic ties to private business… the type that tend to vote Republican.

    6. Culture of me-first and want-it-now.

    7. The corrupting influence of too much good weather.

  10. wdf1

    JB: 2. It seems that everyone in CA has a relative working in government, or with their hand in the till. I talked to fellow conservative business owners who voted for Brown because they have a husband or wife working for the state, or they are contracting with the state. Despicable.

    If you live in Davis, it might seem that way. But California has a low per capita payroll of state employees:

    [url]http://www.californiawatch.org/watchblog/whitman-right-about-bloated-state-government[/url]

    4. Larger minority population that tends to vote Democrat (trapped in their “political plantation”).

    This is because the Republicans have done a poor job of connecting their platform to other racial/ethnic groups besides whites. It’s becoming a party of aging white baby-boomers. It’s not a good strategy to follow in California, because in the future, the number of older whites will decline as a percentage of the population.

    5. Declining private-sector economy – fewer voters with economic ties to private business… the type that tend to vote Republican.

    Well, this is a recession. That’s what happens in a recession; the economy declines. It isn’t just California’s fault that we’re in a recession.

    6. Culture of me-first and want-it-now.

    Is this the same as the “culture of self-interest” that is supposed to drive free market entrepreneurship that fiscal conservatives would value?

    7. The corrupting influence of too much good weather.

    Do you think we’d all be more enlightened if we had the weather they have in Moscow, Russia?

    I actually agree with you on number three. In a nutshell, the Republicans promise to keep taxes low, and the Democrats promise all the possibilities of government. So the aggregate message is that you can have something for almost nothing, and we end up borrowing to pay for it all so that the Democrats can claim credit for implementing something, and the Republicans can claim victory for not having raised taxes. Given a choice between taxes now or borrowing, I prefer the former.

  11. David M. Greenwald

    Rusty: empirically that is untrue. Democrats did not start winning consistently in California until 1996. The impetus was 187 and the change was suddenly Hispanics started voting in much greater numbers and they started voting for Democrats along similar lines as blacks. Prior to that they almost split evenly, slight advantage to democrats now it is over 80% vote democratic. That completely shifted several districts and turned California into a reliable blue state. Schwarzenegger is the only Republican since the 1994 election to win major statewide office and he’s only marginally a Republican.

  12. Frankly

    “wdf1: If you live in Davis, it might seem that way. But California has a low per capita payroll of state employees: “

    You forgot my other connection… contracts with the state. The amount of contracting hides the true cost of public-sector labor, and looking only at the number of government employees understates the scope of connections to government dollars. I used to get some of that soft money, and I understand how a reliance on it might cause me to consider voting for the politicians that will keep it flowing.

    Take a look at this list of current contracts: http://www.documents.dgs.ca.gov/pd/contracts/contractindexlisting.htm

    “This is because the Republicans have done a poor job of connecting their platform to other racial/ethnic groups besides whites. It’s becoming a party of aging white baby-boomers.”

    Interesting… I think you make my point. According to the left, the GOP is stuck in old thinking and not progressing. If so, how and when did the GOP (the same Party that freed the slaves from the South) suddenly become racist and exclusive to old whites only? With the exception of a minority of southern Billy-Bobs, conservatism and free market capitalism have always been blind to age and race. However, Democrats have done a swell job locking up minorities as reliable voters. Why are there recurring generations of minority families in poverty? They are trapped in their ideological plantation thanks to the politicians that maintain their power from it. The young… well the young are always idealists until they start paying taxes… but today they have more left brainwashing from the left-leaning institutions of higher learning.

    However, I agree that the GOP has failed to connect to poor minorities and the young… the difficulty with that challenge is the reason why guys like Hugo Chavez come to power.

    “Is this the same as the “culture of self-interest” that is supposed to drive free market entrepreneurship that fiscal conservatives would value?

    You are referring to the pursuit of profit. No, it is not the same. You can always build a better mouse trap to earn greater profit. This is not the same as voters demanding government candy without paying for it. Eventually someone has to pay, and if government demands payment, there is no competitive alternative.

    ”Do you think we’d all be more enlightened if we had the weather they have in Moscow, Russia?”

    It was a mostly a joke, but I think it is easier to accept looming economic catastrophe when you live in places like New Jersey. Wake up to a typical California day, and you can deny just about any problem.

    ”Given a choice between taxes now or borrowing, I prefer the former.”

    There is a third choice, and it is the only rational choice. It is the same thing a family has to do when income falls and when they have accumulated too much debt. Here is a good article on the main cause of California’s growing government budget problems: http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc_19_4/tsc_19_4_rubenstein.shtml

  13. Perezoso

    The pro-business conservatives such as Boone error with their usual Blame- the-State hype. Ahhnuld has brought CA to the brink of bankruptcy. With no new tax revenues (and the disastrous Prop 13 still in effect) the situation will not likely improve much (and worsen for the poor, with more programs slashed), especially given Jerry Moonbeam’s promise to his conservative supporters that he would not raise taxes without voter approval. The first order of business after Girly Man Schwarzenegger goes back to westside-land should be arranging his trial.

  14. Frankly

    Better list of CA government contract opportunities: http://www.emarketplace.state.pa.us/BidContracts.aspx

    ” Ahhnuld has brought CA to the brink of bankruptcy”

    These type of party propoganda points are the only reason I celebrate this election resulting in complete Democrat control. What will Dems continue to campaign on without a scape goat? It will be fun to watch how they spin the continuing mess as being Ahhnuld and Bush’s fault, but I expect them to find someone to blame other than their own out of control spending.

    The best long-term political strategy these days seems to be helping the other side win.

  15. wdf1

    Democrats have done a swell job locking up minorities as reliable voters. Why are there recurring generations of minority families in poverty? They are trapped in their ideological plantation thanks to the politicians that maintain their power from it.

    Your use of the word “plantation” is an interesting innuendo. Don’t know if that was intentional or not.

    I had in mind more the issue of immigration. Republicans are usually associated with a more restrictive immigration policy. The problem is in the narrative. That “immigrants take more from society than they give”, that they are responsible for an increase in social ills, that they take jobs away from deserving Americans. It’s a narrative that is comfortable for disenfranchised white voters to latch on to, because it gives such a clear ratioinale to the message, “it’s not your fault that you’re in this situation.” This is something Pat Buchanan promoted in his 1992 Republican presidential primary run, and more recently Steve Poizner in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

    Republicans have been very careful to use the adjective “illegal” in front of immigrant in an attempt to not offend the good immigrants. But I think immigrants of whatever kind (legal or illegal) probably relate to each other more strongly through the shared newcomer experience rather than a common legal/illegal status. If you’ve ever dealt with immigration forms and proceedings in the U.S. (my wife is an immigrant and legal, thank God), you can certainly have this nagging anxiety as to whether your status is legal or not, whether you will have to consider deportation plans at some point. Even whether the authorities will make a mistake along the way. There are plenty of good people who happen to be illegal immigrants. There are other messages the Republicans can focus on besides immigration that would draw immigrant community more solidly into their fold. It worked well for the Texas Republicans, for instance. In California it has been a different story.

    By the way, there are also recurring generations of white families in poverty; I’m not clear on the point you were trying to make.

  16. Plankton

    For a variety of reasons it’s become the role of Democrats to clean up the carnage caused by a previous Republican administration. Often it’s economic caused by unbridled greed. Currently, it’s a destroyed economy caused by two fruitless wars and banking deregulation. In California’s case it was largely caused by a sheer lack ingenuity and lack of moral compass leading to gridlock as embodied by Arnold. Brown is perfectly suited to, at least, reversing the slide by an actual ability to lead coupled with a slowly recovering national economy. I believe that things are looking up for us, which will be doubly-sweet because of the background noice of Republican’s gnashing their teeth (think Dick Cheney).

  17. Frankly

    “Your use of the word “plantation” is an interesting innuendo”

    Yes, it was intended. Some find it offensive given the historical inference, but it makes the point I want to make. There are leading conservative minorities that frequently use this innuendo.

    “I had in mind more the issue of immigration. Republicans are usually associated with a more restrictive immigration policy. The problem is in the narrative.”

    I see now. I agree with you on this. The issue has been the legality of it. There is certainly more of a general immigration backlash from some whites, but it more a result of the crashed economy and hence greater competition for economic opportunities. There is also a pulse of concern for the degradation of American culture… similar to what is sweeping through Europe where the most popular boy’s name in the UK is now Mohammed. Many European liberals are on that cause after having demanded hyper PC acceptance of all peoples. It seems that when times are good, everyone can be more tolerant.

    The challenge for the GOP is to explain the benefits of assimilation combined with the benefits of economic drive and self determination… those are difficult selling points when the other Party is promising a bunch of free stuff. Another opportunity for the GOP is education… primarily public school education. The Democrat Party-Teacher’s Union machine has screwed minorities in this way. Honestly, I don’t know why minorities stick to the Democrat plan for the problems in education alone. This is another example of the “plantation” concept at work.

    “By the way, there are also recurring generations of white families in poverty; I’m not clear on the point you were trying to make.”

    Whites generally do not have access to the same “I am a victim of white oppression” template politicians use to keep minorities reliable voters. However, Democrats have co-opted a new boogieman for poor and working class whites: that of evil business and the evil CEO. The term “plantation” is applicable for me because I absolutely believe that barriers to greater individual prosperity in this country are 90% in the mind of those convinced some other person or group is blocking them from the freedom to pursue it. I come from very, very humble means and have many family members still stuck in a similar plantation of their mind. There is always someone to blame, but victimhood is a slippery slope that is almost impossible to climb back from… especially when their political leaders keep up the blame game.

    I am working on something that is telling relative to California’s political and racial climate. It is a comparison to Texas. So much about the two states is similar, but so much is polar opposite. It is a very interesting study in contrast… with Texas the clear economic winner and poised to take more business away from California. However, I would bet that most CA liberal/progressives would just as soon die than live in a state resembling Texas.

    Plankton: how come I feel like I am surfing the Huffington Post when I read what you write?

  18. E Roberts Musser

    wdf1: “I had in mind more the issue of immigration. Republicans are usually associated with a more restrictive immigration policy.”

    Seems to me I remember Bush, a Republican, talking about a guest worker program, no? Hardly what I would call a “restrictive immigration policy”…

    Plankton: “For a variety of reasons it’s become the role of Democrats to clean up the carnage caused by a previous Republican administration. Often it’s economic caused by unbridled greed. Currently, it’s a destroyed economy caused by two fruitless wars and banking deregulation.”

    The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 (banking regulation) was repealed under the Clinton administration – and the last time I looked Clinton was a bona fide Democrat.

    Also in regard to the mortgage meltdown and who is cleaning up after who, from the Boston Globe (www.boston.com): “When the coming wave of foreclosures rolls through the inner city, which of today’s self-congratulating bankers, politicians, and regulators plans to take the credit?”

    [Barney] Frank [Democrat – Massachusetts] doesn’t. But his fingerprints are all over this fiasco. Time and time again, Frank insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in good shape. Five years ago, for example, when the Bush administration proposed much tighter regulation of the two companies, Frank was adamant that “these two entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not facing any kind of financial crisis.” When the White House warned of “systemic risk for our financial system” unless the mortgage giants were curbed, Frank complained that the administration was more concerned about financial safety than about housing.

    Now that the bubble has burst and the “systemic risk” is apparent to all, Frank blithely declares: “The private sector got us into this mess.” Well, give the congressman points for gall. Wall Street and private lenders have plenty to answer for, but it was Washington and the political class that derailed this train. If Frank is looking for a culprit to blame, he can find one suspect in the nearest mirror.”

  19. Mr.Toad

    “Interesting… I think you make my point. According to the left, the GOP is stuck in old thinking and not progressing. If so, how and when did the GOP (the same Party that freed the slaves from the South) suddenly become racist and exclusive to old whites only?”

    In 1968.

    “The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 (banking regulation) was repealed under the Clinton administration – and the last time I looked Clinton was a bona fide Democrat. “

    By a Republican congress.

    ‘Seems to me I remember Bush, a Republican, talking about a guest worker program, no? Hardly what I would call a “restrictive immigration policy”..’

    Yes Bush understood immigration and the demography of the future. As a result he beat Pete Wilson for the nomination in 2000 and won the electoral college that year with latino support. Wilson went nowhere after announcing on an anti-immigrant platform at the Statue of Liberty. The Republican party is going nowhere in California until it stops running people like Steve Poizner, who run like mini Tom Tancredo. But the GOP is stuck because they have this blame the immigrants thing going on that keeps them boxed in during the general by the need to bash immigrants in the primary.

    I was talking with a friend who is a serious campaign consultant at a firm that represents conservatives. She worked for Bush at the Whitehouse. When the nanny thing broke on Whitman I told her that the Republicans had a problem with their base on immigration and they are not going to win elections in California until they get over it.

    Her reply was a simple “I know.”

    And its not just California. Its Colorado and Nevada as well. Some states like New Mexico and Florida have Republicans adjusting but California is not among them.

  20. wdf1

    Seems to me I remember Bush, a Republican, talking about a guest worker program, no? Hardly what I would call a “restrictive immigration policy”…

    I agree with Mr. Toad’s comments, here.

    I’m not a great fan of the Bush family, but I concede that the Bush’s have understood the value of connecting to the hispanic/latino community and have cultivated it. As governor of Texas, GW Bush invested a good amount of time building relations directly with Mexico. The next Bush heir in line, Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, is married to a Mexican-American, Columba. Their oldest, George P. Bush, is active in the Republican party and is a fluent Spanish speaker. If you can minimize any political baggage from his family connection, this is the kind of guy who could be successful in California.

    Schwarzenegger was able to connect with some of the immigrant community based on common immigrant experience, and the fact that his action movies don’t require any serious subtitles or translations to follow. If Schwarzenegger had been more politically savvy, he could have probably steered the California Republican party to a more immigrant friendly, hispanic friendly position.

    Most of the rest of the Republicans probably fall in line solidly behind the Arizona immigration law, and any policy that beefs up border security.

    By the way, Pete Wilson was a chief advisor to Meg Whitman.

  21. wdf1

    The Democrat Party-Teacher’s Union machine has screwed minorities in this way. Honestly, I don’t know why minorities stick to the Democrat plan for the problems in education alone. This is another example of the “plantation” concept at work.

    What is the Democratic plan for education? Maybe charter schools? Jerry Brown talked a lot about charter schools when public education came up in the campaign. Jerry Brown is affiliated with a charter school in Oakland. Do you have a problem with charter schools, Jeff?

    Because Obama is also open to developing charter schools. Did you see the recent documentary, [u]Waiting for Superman[/u]? Check out the Harlem Children’s Zone. I think you’d probably reconsider your plantation (Uncle Tom) label on this issue if you’d just do a little research on it. In Sacramento alone, there’s Sac High (Kevin Johnson’s baby), and the Aspire Academies, one of which took over the campus of Loretto High School when it closed down.

    So I see a good number of Democrats open to charter schools, but I know that’s not exactly a favorite policy of the teachers’ unions, especially if those charter schools don’t unionize. When you say, “Democrat Party – Teacher’s Union” and their plan for education, I think you assume more consistancy of policy than really exists among Democrats. When you think of Democrats, it helps to have Will Rogers as your model: “I belong to no organized party, I’m a Democrat.”

  22. E Roberts Musser

    wdf1: “When you say, “Democrat Party – Teacher’s Union” and their plan for education, I think you assume more consistancy of policy than really exists among Democrats. When you think of Democrats, it helps to have Will Rogers as your model: “I belong to no organized party, I’m a Democrat.”

    When Democrats lump all conservatives as “Repugs” or “old white guys”, I think Democrats assume more “consistenty of policy” than really exists among Republicans…

  23. E Roberts Musser

    erm: “”The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 (banking regulation) was repealed under the Clinton administration – and the last time I looked Clinton was a bona fide Democrat. ”

    Mr. Toad: “By a Republican congress.”

    In so far as I am aware, Clinton did not veto the repeal of banking regulation…

  24. wdf1

    When Democrats lump all conservatives as “Repugs” or “old white guys”, I think Democrats assume more “consistenty of policy” than really exists among Republicans…

    When I use the term “old white guys”, I’m clearly not referring directly to policy, but a certain homogeneity of their voting base. And I readily acknowledge that there is more diversity than “old white guys”.

    But if you followed the 2008 Republican National Convention on TV, one of the obvious criticisms was how white all the delegates were. Sure you can say there’s Mel Martinez and Michael Steele (maybe a handful of others), but there is a lack of racial/ethnic diversity that would really help the party connect more readily with a broader base. You look at events like that, and you can’t help but get the sense that this is a party of “old white people”. I argue that it doesn’t have to be that way for the Republicans.

  25. Frankly

    “Mr. Toad: “By a Republican congress.”

    The final bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate 90–8 (one not voting) and in the House: 362–57 (15 not voting).

    Can’t pin this on Republicans no matter how hard you try.

  26. Frankly

    “Do you have a problem with charter schools, Jeff?”

    wfd1: I do not have a problem with any solution to drastically improve education outcomes. These include: teacher merit pay, no tenure, charter schools, vouchers… you name it. I also support paying the highest performing teachers much more as long as we can much more easily get rid of teachers that have selected the wrong career.

    However, I trust the Democrat party on education reform like a good Democrat would trust the GOP on Wall Street reform. I realize that sounds partisan – and certainly I know there are Democrats that support charter schools and other progressive education reforms. However, on the whole, I see the Democrat party as too vested in the teachers’ unions. They have proven time and again that the union members’ financial well being will always be their first policy priority.

    If Jerry Brown is talking about supporting charter schools, then rest assured the design he is thinking of is supported by his union campaign contributors and therefore is likely short of the type of reform we need. The teachers’ unions have a vested interest in keeping charter school performance results less than or equal to their public school gravy train.

    My thinking on education reform is that we will never find the support to beat back the Democrat-union political machine (see what happened in DC for proof of this point); but that the private free market will eventually grow enough affordable alternatives and consumer choice will make public-funded education obsolete.

  27. Frankly

    From the Social Contract Journal Issues : Summer 2009 – “As California Goes – Facts (and Fiction) behind California’s Fiscal Meltdown”

    http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc_19_4/tsc_19_4_rubenstein.shtml

    [quote]“About one-third of California’s immigrants entered the country illegally. Many work off the books, yet their children are entitled to the full gamut of public education and Medi-Cal benefits.

    Latino families are larger than those of other immigrant groups. Their children swell elementary schools but are less likely than other groups to graduate high school or finish college. Second-generation Latinos are also less likely to grow up with two parents, and more likely to go to jail or become teenage mothers. By most measures, second-generation Mexicans look more like the children of native-born blacks.

    Many observers—including prominent Latin Americans—have concluded that the same traditional values that lie behind Latin America’s difficulties in achieving prosperity and political stability are being substantially perpetuated among Hispanic immigrants and their descendants in California. This implies that the problem is primarily cultural, not economic, and that fiscal measures alone will not suffice to solve it.

    Immigration reform may be the only viable answer—in California and the nation.”[/quote]
    Democrats may win the political wars on imigration, but they will probably lose the war on the economy and budget. Then they will lose the political war, but at what cost? Old Europe provides a similar lesson.

  28. wdf1

    JB: “Can’t pin this on Republicans no matter how hard you try.”

    Oh the Democrats will continue trying…

    And the Republicans will also continue to do their share…

  29. Mr.Toad

    “Latino families are larger than those of other immigrant groups. Their children swell elementary schools but are less likely than other groups to graduate high school or finish college. Second-generation Latinos are also less likely to grow up with two parents, and more likely to go to jail or become teenage mothers. By most measures, second-generation Mexicans look more like the children of native-born blacks.”

    Wow, if this is what you read its no wonder you have such a negative view on immigration. Pretty racist stuff!

  30. wdf1

    There is also a pulse of concern for the degradation of American culture… similar to what is sweeping through Europe where the most popular boy’s name in the UK is now Mohammed. Many European liberals are on that cause after having demanded hyper PC acceptance of all peoples. It seems that when times are good, everyone can be more tolerant.

    In the U.S. we have already assimilated millions of Germans, Scandinavians, Poles, Russians, Cantonese, Japanese, Irish, a few generations of Mexicans. Our founding fathers would have found sushi, St. Patrick’s Day, tacos & burritos, egg rolls, Orthodox churches, and Cinco de Mayo all pretty strange, and possibly a degradation of their beloved Western European heritage. If everyone can keep their cool, we’ll be fine.

    One way to begin to assimilate these new cultures is to have an accessible quality public school system.

  31. wdf1

    JB: It’s interesting that you seem to have a cautious stance on immigration. It seems to me that one of the natural consequences of a free trade policy is to be allowed to shop around for cheap labor, domestically. As long as we’re for free flow of goods and services, why not free flow of labor as well?

  32. wdf1

    Canada is having it’s own problems with illegal immigration. I never would have imagined it:

    [url]http://www.eons.com/groups/topic/2258433-ARTICLE-IN-THE-MANITOBA-HERALD?page=1[/url]

  33. wdf1

    [quote]Many observers—including prominent Latin Americans—have concluded that the same traditional values that lie behind Latin America’s difficulties in achieving prosperity and political stability are being substantially perpetuated among Hispanic immigrants and their descendants in California. This implies that the problem is primarily cultural, not economic, and that fiscal measures alone will not suffice to solve it. [/quote]

    The problem I have with this perspective is that it assumes clear-cut boundaries between cultures, hispanic and main-stream American. It doesn’t work that way. There have been 250+ years of Hispanic culture in California. Various degrees of cultural retention in various families. Various degrees of Spanish fluency/non-fluency. You could make a more convincing case for saying that this is an issue of economic level and education rather than race/culture.

  34. Frankly

    “The problem I have with this perspective is that it assumes clear-cut boundaries between cultures, Hispanic and main-stream American.”

    Wdf1: You can always find a list of exceptions (I have them in my circle of family and friends), but I can’t see any rational argument against the point. Culture matters: otherwise how do you explain the lack of prosperity and economic stability in Mexico?

    Also, your past Latino immigrants are not your more recent Latino immigrants. They are younger, thuggier and more apt to be attracted to US government free stuff and drug crime than farm labor. There is more corruption in Mexico and Mexican people have been trained to accept it and not trust rules and law. They are also more apt to want to make the US their new home, and more apt to bring their culture with them when they stay, instead of assimilating. One reason for the lack of assimilation is the ABILITY of immigrants to maintain their language and culture given the there are many more majority Hispanic neighborhoods.

    Lastly, you have to look at the percentage population increase from years of illegal immigration of Latinos. With 250+ years of Hispanic culture in California… in 1970 Latinos made up 13.7% of the California population. In 1990 it was 25.8%. In 2009 it was 37%. When will it be over 50% of the population? When will we pull our PC heads out of the sand and realize we allowed an invasion of immigrants to subjugate our culture with their culture?

    Frankly, I think Californians are sun-baked idiots not critically considering the consequences of this huge cultural demographic shift… similar to the Croissant munching, wine drinking idiots in Europe that are just waking up to the Muslim cultural demographic shift caused by so many years of their liberal stance on immigration.

    Culture matters. Demographics matter. I love Mexico and my extended family has pretty deep roots connecting us to Mexico… including second homes in Baja and married and adopted Latino family members. I grew up in farm towns with high Mexican populations. However, like most Americans, I like my Mexican culture in Mexico, and my California culture having a Latino flavor… but not becoming the entire meal.

    Also, I have several very close friends that are first and second generation (legal) Mexican immigrants. A couple of my friends have struggled all their life dealing with the culture thing… parents that didn’t support them going to college… the dysfunctional machismo of their fathers… the lack of spoken English in their neighborhoods… the lack of family community involvement because of their experience with public corruption… Latinos girls that I know had to overcome the cultural expectation that they would quickly marry and have children… lot’s of children.

    Mexican immigrants are primarily poor. They have a similar poor-person’s mentality and skills deficit similar to US poor. The challenge to overcome migrating from Mexico to the US is one that requires brawn, not brains. Contrast that to the challenge of Asian or European immigrants that must cross the pond and it is easy to understand the prosperity capability filtering making Latino immigrants a different animal.

    The fight against illegal immigration is a fight to maintain traditional American culture and to prevent the continued demographic changes that will lead us to unsustainable high percentages of Latino poor people lacking skills, practices and knowledge to earn their own prosperity. With legal immigration we can manage and control the flow to ensure adequate assimilation. Otherwise it is an illegal invasion… one that I would support addressing by putting the military on the border and giving Calderon six months to stop the flow or we will invade Mexico and take over.

  35. wdf1

    The fight against illegal immigration is a fight to maintain traditional American culture

    What is it specifically that you want to preserve? From travelling and living abroad, as limited as it was, I was impressed that the biggest, most influential export out of the U.S. was our culture — Golden Arches in almost every part of the world, Michael Jackson and other U.S. pop music everywhere, Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis action movies as popular abroad as at home, English is the most widely spoken 2nd language, etc. American culture will change (“change is the only constant”), but I doubt that it will become unrecognizable in your life time.

  36. David M. Greenwald

    Moreover, the statement shows that the fight against illegal immigration is really about an irrational fear. My wife’s family the second generation born in this country, you would not be able to distinguish them frankly from you. The idea that traditional American culture is threatened is an irrational fear. Will things change? Yeah. Look at how hip hop culture has changed white youths, but that’s a change coming from within.

  37. Frankly

    “American culture will change (“change is the only constant”), but I doubt that it will become unrecognizable in your life time.”

    Ah, but much of California culture is already unrecognizable and foreign to many Americans and even many Californians. So too is California politics which seems to be much more influenced by the Latino vote than it ever has. I agree that American culture has been an impressive export. But what happens when 50% of the radio stations, 50% of the local TV broadcasting, 50% of the local movies and 50% of the service industries are Spanish speaking and directed at the Latino market? What happens when the demographic shift reaches a point when the assimilation need heads in reverse. Today CA is 42.3% white and 36.6% Latino. However, today in Santa Ana, Latinos already compose 75 percent of the population. Latinos are the majority of people in Colusa, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Tulare and Yolo counties… to name a few.

    In 2010, illegal immigrants constituted an estimated 7.3% of the total CA population.

    And the bigger problem is the trajectory. In 2025, California is projected to have 21 million Hispanics, 15 million non-Hispanic whites, nine million Asians, and three million Blacks. About 15% of the population will be illegal immigrants given the current flow trends.

    So, am I to understand that you have no concern about the current trajectory of immigrants from the south? You don’t see any issues with the explosive growth in population of predominantly poor Latinos? Granted they will likely vote Democrat and ensure California always stays controlled by Democrats (possibly already there)… but at what cost?

    “Moreover, the statement shows that the fight against illegal immigration is really about an irrational fear”

    Or, this type of response demonstrates irrational denial… sort of like those in the UK that woke up alarmed to find out Mohammad is the new most popular boy’s name… not that it should matter, but it does.

    I think it is easy be in denial living in Davis where the Latino population is generally legal and well educated, and there is no real threat that our precious and valued way of life will be upset by too big a concentration of poor people of another culture. Let’s be honest enough to admit that.

  38. wdf1

    And I would add that obsessing over preserving traditional American culture will probably take you places that you really don’t want to go. There’s 1930’s Germany. And then there’s a notable segment of Muslim culture that is rebelling against creeping influence of western culture, and I don’t think I have to mention where that has gone.

    Not everyone has the same notion of traditional American culture. My parents might feel like Frank Sinatra and Louie Prima represent red blooded American culture. For me, I don’t care for barbecue, and I’d probably rather listen to Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen when I contemplate the American heartland.

    If your point is about domestic safety and reducing/stopping drug trafficking, then I think you’re on more solid footing. To publicly justify it as being about preserving American way of life is way too slippery.

  39. wdf1

    So, am I to understand that you have no concern about the current trajectory of immigrants from the south?

    In reference to latinos who are already in the U.S., it’s pretty much a done deal. Do you want to start deporting them? That will probably get you some serious pushback.

    A good many Latinos are Catholics who by tradition accept having big families. We could have family planning programs, but I think that would be anathema to conservatives who might worry that it’s part of the pro-choice agenda.

    On the flip-side, maybe you could figure out a big tax break program for whites to breed more?

    You don’t see any issues with the explosive growth in population of predominantly poor Latinos?

    I think that effective, accessible, and adequately funded public education is the best way to address the issue.

    Granted they will likely vote Democrat and ensure California always stays controlled by Democrats (possibly already there)… but at what cost?

    As far as I’m concerned, the latino population is low-hanging fruit for the Republicans to capture, if they’re smart enough to think about what they’re doing. They’ve done it in Florida and in Texas; why can’t they figure it out in California? up until now, they have been politically inept in California.

    I guess I’m not as alarmed as you are because I work in Sacramento, and my clientele are mostly non-Anglo-Americans — blacks, hispanic, Hmong, Vietnamese, Punjab, Arab (both Muslim and Christian), and a some eastern Europeans (Ukrainian, mainly). And I see a lot of assimilation going on. As long as there are some agreed upon reference points, I think we’ll be fine.

  40. Mr.Toad

    “Mr. Toad: “By a Republican congress.”

    “The final bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate 90–8 (one not voting) and in the House: 362–57 (15 not voting). ‘

    “Can’t pin this on Republicans no matter how hard you try.”

    So how is it Clintons fault if it past by more than 2/3?

    The big players were Robert Rubin, a Clinton appointee, and Phil Gramm who bullied Greenspan who then caved in the end after first opposing the plan. Local Republican Doug Ose sat on the banking committee and signed off on the plan. Both Rubin and Gramm went off to Wall Street and were paid millions so if anything it was the revolving door between Wall St. and government more than any one parties blame. When it comes to serving the rich both parties have been captured.

  41. Frankly

    “So how is it Clintons fault if it past by more than 2/3?”

    He did not lead the Democrats to vote against it and then veto the legislation. That is how it is done unless he supported it. He did. It has proved to be possibly one the biggest US policy blunders of all time… but somehow it is Bush’s fault.

  42. Frankly

    “On the flip-side, maybe you could figure out a big tax break program for whites to breed more?”

    I think that is a good idea. I find it interesting that white Democrats have far fewer kids than white Republicans. More young career women are choosing to not have kids at all. It takes about 2.1 kids to sustain a population. That is about the rate for the US population thanks to the immigrant population. By contract, Mexico is 2.4, Somalia, is 6.43, Niger 5.85, Afghanistan 7.48, Yemen 6.02. Spain is 1.15, Italy is 1.18, Germany is 1.38 and Demark – with all the wonderful worker benefits for new parents – is only 1.73. The West is heading toward some very interesting demographic changes.

    “I think that effective, accessible, and adequately funded public education is the best way to address the issue.”

    I certainly agree that this is a solution… or at least a big part of the solution. However, I wonder where all this education funding will come from with so many poor immigrants. Frankly, I think we are heading to a time when there will be enough poor voters in this state to overturn Prop-13, and then property values will fall and more tax-paying residents and business will disappear from the state and then Arthur Laffer will be right… again.

    “As far as I’m concerned, the Latino population is low-hanging fruit for the Republicans to capture, if they’re smart enough to think about what they’re doing. They’ve done it in Florida and in Texas”

    Florida’s Cuban immigrants are a different demographic than California’s Mexican immigrant demographic. And I could be wrong, but I don’t think the Texas GOP has captured the Latino vote any more than the California GOP has captured the Latino vote. The difference in Texas is that more of the non-Latino vote is Republican. I don’t most Latino immigrants as a GOP low hanging fruit. Bush was about as pro-Latino as any GOP president, and Arnold was about as pro-Latino as any GOP governor. It does not help with the race-baiting divide and conquer methods refined by, and used by, the Democrat party. Self determination is a difficult sell when the other party re-flames the race wars and hands out free stuff.

  43. David M. Greenwald

    “I think it is easy be in denial living in Davis where the Latino population is generally legal and well educated, and there is no real threat that our precious and valued way of life will be upset by too big a concentration of poor people of another culture. Let’s be honest enough to admit that.”

    What’s denial? Hispanics are my family and my friends. You think I only come across educated Hispanics? Please. What do I do for a living?

  44. Mr.Toad

    Race baiting divide and conquer like props 187 and 209. I thought those were Republican issues. The sweep of statewide elected offices was set up those prior attacks perpetuated by Tom Tancredo, Jan Brewer, Steve Poizner, and foolishly by Meg Whitman.

    Oh and free stuff like medicare drug benefits and wars that have no funding source and are added to deficits and the national debt that according to Dick Cheney “don’t matter.” Or car tax cuts that cost the state 6 billion a year making us ever more dependent on capital gains here in CA. Or Arnold giving state workers big raises before the 2006 election, spending every penny in the treasury only to then be forced to furlough people when the economy turned. Or Bush tax cuts that create massive deficits put in for nine years to take away the Dems ability to stop them with a filibuster since the rules allow reconciliation to be used if they kept it under 10 years.

  45. Mr.Toad

    Oh and one more thing was it you or someone else who I responded to about Arizona’s draconian anti immigrant legislation being popular with a missive about how people vote is different than how they poll on immigration? Yes if the Republicans hadn’t run against immigrants they might now be tied for control of the senate with wins in California, Nevada and Colorado. So keep talking your race hating anti immigrant bile it keeps you out of power. By the way, this election was the first in modern times where the house changed majority but the senate didn’t. Nice work Sarah Palin.

  46. wdf1

    I don’t most Latino immigrants as a GOP low hanging fruit. Bush was about as pro-Latino as any GOP president, and Arnold was about as pro-Latino as any GOP governor. It does not help with the race-baiting divide and conquer methods refined by, and used by, the Democrat party.

    You don’t have to capture a majority of Latino voters. You have to appeal to enough of them to neutralize their impact for a Democratic candidate. This was something that Karl Rove understood very well.

    There are definitely values that Republicans have embraced that would appeal to Latino voters — not all of Latino voters, but some of them. Again, if Republicans want to make an issue of illegal immigration, then make it an issue public safety. Don’t talk about immigrants as if they are leaches on society. That’s a broad brush stroke that insults more people than you have to.

    Meg Whitman’s negative treatment of her houseworker suggested to many she felt about immigrants. She really blew it with that. Jeff, I’m impressed that you are as aware as you are of the dimensions of the immigrant community in California. I get a strong feeling that most Republican candidates really don’t, as if it’s “not my problem” to worry about.

    I do some volunteer work with local Spanish speaking families. Yes, I see some habits and beliefs that make me cringe, but I also see a lot of good stuff there, too, that would be a good basis for getting them to do the right thing. More than anything, they would like to see their kids succeed and have more good opportunities than they have had. So many have no idea what programs and services are available to them. For example, many don’t initially realize that we have a public library with books that their kids can check out for free, just like anyone else in Yolo County. If they’d take their kids to the public library once a week, it would be cheap entertainment, and a great influence on their kids. Many do respond and take their kids to the library, once they know. And I don’t see how that really impacts taxpayers locally.

    If more Republican candidates would develop a commitment to doing such volunteer work as a basis for understanding and connecting with the Latino community, I don’t think we’d be having this discussion.

  47. Frankly

    “If more Republican candidates would develop a commitment to doing such volunteer work as a basis for understanding and connecting with the Latino community, I don’t think we’d be having this discussion.”

    I agree with that… but I think you might be surprised at how much private corporate money is donated, and how much time is given, to charities that benefit Latinos and many other poor and needy. Part of the problem right now is that the principles of conservatism have come under attack and have fallen out of vogue (hide if you are a CEO or a successful business owner!)

    Again too – it is part of the difficulty of the principles and message. Republicans believe in earned prosperity from self determination. What is the value of volunteer work compared to growing a business that might provide jobs and opportunities for advancement and increased prosperity?

    However, your point is a good one. Business, and hence the GOP, really focuses on people having reached the later steps in the hierarchy of needs (e.g., esteem, self actualization, purpose). The flood of immigrants from Mexico is largely poor and largely operating at the lower steps (survival and safety needs). There is an interesting need opportunity in the middle of the hierarchy called “love”. Some politician said: “government is not a loving organization”. This is a fact, but it is lost on many needy. Communication of this fact combined with reminders about how the institutions valued by the GOP – namely: church, family, community – are loving organizations is the mechanism to leverage this opportunity.

    However, since Democrats are well-served having a large contingent of voters stuck in a political plantation of thinking that government is the replacement for their failure to achieve lower level needs… and given the monumental challenge to move even a single person up the hierarchy from the lower steps… given the overwhelming numbers of poor Latinos flooding into this state… I don’t see it happening. If we stop the flow and turn back the clock a bit, maybe.

  48. wdf1

    Again too – it is part of the difficulty of the principles and message. Republicans believe in earned prosperity from self determination. What is the value of volunteer work compared to growing a business that might provide jobs and opportunities for advancement and increased prosperity?

    Volunteering is a different realm from business. Volunteering is also about building relationships and caring about the condition, infrastructure, and future of the community in ways that business can’t necessarily reach, similar to church, but in the secular realm. Because George H.W. Bush, a good conservative, believed in a “1000 points of light”.

    Some politician said: “government is not a loving organization”. This is a fact, but it is lost on many needy.

    Aspects of government could be more caring, depending on the sincere commitment of the employees.

    The flood of immigrants from Mexico is largely poor and largely operating at the lower steps (survival and safety needs).

    And probably a certain amount of ignorance, not as measured by education, but in understanding how society and government work up here.

    You don’t really instill political views by throwing up a tsunami of campaign ads. You do it more convincingly through direct conversation and discussion. And through that conversation you also explain how society and government work, and you explain your conservative agenda as a vision, if that’s what you believe. Volunteering is a way to put yourself in a position to have those conversations.

    But if you’re looking for a business opportunity in all this, you find a charismatic articulate native Spanish speaker with a conservative agenda to be a Spanish Rush Limbaugh. As it is, Piolin is a huge radio personality in California who probably helps to keep his listening audience steered a little more toward the Democrats.

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