June 7, 2011

Green Tea for the Gelded State

Hatched by Dafydd

The California Republican Party totally collapsed some time ago -- possibly when "Republican" Matt Fong ran for the U.S. Senate in 1998 against incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Lackwit, 95%). Fong was dogged throughout the campaign by repeated accusations that the only reason he won his primary (by a whisker) against Darryl Issa -- indeed, the only reason he was even considered a viable candidate -- was that voters held fond memories of his mother, March Fong Eu, who served as California Secretary of State for twenty years... as a Democrat.

He finally deigned to respond to the charge via a campaign ad -- in which his mother appeared and told voters that her son was a good boy! (That's a paraphrase; I don't have the text of the advert.) He lost to Boxer by a 10-point landslide; surprise, surprise on the Jungle Riverboat Cruise tonight.

Since then, the aptly named CRP has been a state and national humiliation that in the Tokugawa Shogunate would have forced numerous officials to cut their stomachs. When I telephoned CRP in 2008 to ask which Republican was running against my Democratic U.S. Representative -- since I hadn't seen any sign of a campaign -- the headquarters of the California Republican Party had no idea; indeed, they didn't even know who the incumbent was in that district.

It's gone downhill since then. It's hardly a shocker that California was perhaps the only state in 2010 to take a hard turn to the left; every statewide office, from top to bottom, is now held by a Democrat; and Democrats control the Assembly and state Senate by margins of 52-28 and 25-15 -- in both cases just two seats short of a 2/3rds majority, which would allow Democrats to pass a budget and spending bills without any Republican votes whatsoever.

As you might expect, I'm pretty desperate for a voter turnaround here in the formerly Golden State. Since turning to CRP is about as useful as a vasectomy for Barney Frank, I'm thinking more like California tea parties targeting a bunch of seats and getting their own kind nominated. (If they do, I'm sure that CRP will immediately begin campaigning for the Democrats; fortunately, that could only help the tea parties.)

But we need an issue. I doubt the economic crisis will work any better in 2012 than it did last year; if looming fiscal obliteration (especially in this state!) of magnitude 10 wasn't enough to persuade voters to turn to the GOP, would jacking it up to 11 make the slightest difference?

But last week, the state legislature gave us a golden gift for the Ungoldly State:

The California state Senate voted 28-8 Wednesday to exempt itself from the pointless gun-control laws that apply to the rest of the populace. Legislators apparently think they alone are worthy to pack heat on the streets for personal protection, and the masses ought to wait until the police arrive.

This is just one of many bills Golden State politicians used this legislative session to set themselves apart from the little people, the ones who pay their inflated salaries. Annual compensation for legislators averages about $140,000, not counting luxurious perks such as taxpayer-funded cars and free gasoline. By comparison, the average Californian earns $50,000 a year, and the unemployment rate is 11.9 percent - far above the national average. Exact salaries for state assemblymen and senators are obscured by the use of a “per diem” payment scheme that shelters a significant chunk of income from taxation.

Well! That certain puts us in our place, doesn't it? (Ironically, Matt Fong died that very same day of skin cancer.)

There you go: If fiscal responsibility won't yank voters' cranks, how about the politics of legis envy? If the California tea parties will just focus like a Marine-Corps sniper on the toxic ooze that infests the Democratic legislature, then run tea-party candidates on the platform of "no more corrupt than a typical used-car salesman," the contrast of slight shadiness vs. utter moral decay and hubristic arrogance will be so patent, we might pick up eight to ten seats in the Assembly and at least four or five in the state Senate.

Desperate times call for desperate measures; and the times they are a-desperate:

Left coast politicians lack all shame regarding their self-enrichment at public expense. Even though their outrageous conduct has sunk a once-prosperous state $10 billion in debt, the public seems not to care. In November, voters recycled Jerry Brown as governor even though Gov. Moonbeam’s disastrous tenure during the 1970s enabled the compensation packages for a unionized public sector that are busting the budget today. When California finally goes bankrupt, voters need only look in the mirror when wondering who deserves the blame.

Not just voters, but the limp-wristed, apathetic tea partiers who didn't run robust campaigns. I think when you spread the guilt around, it's good for everybody in the electorate.

Note that the vote to exempt state legislators from all gun restrictions was 28-8; that means that a minimum of seven GOP members (47%) at least abstained from the vote; and at least three actually voted aye. But this is no barrier to the tea-party drive anti-corruption campaign, as step number one is to defeat corrupt RINO incumbents in the primary. So we acknowledge that many incumbent Republicans are corrupt -- but demonstrate that the Democrats are worse by twelve parsecs.

All right, California tea partiers; let's throw it out on the stoop and see if anyone salutes. At least, for God's sake, it gives us something to campaign on.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 7, 2011, at the time of 6:06 PM

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