Last November, Californians did not elect Republican Meg “Money Bags” Whitman to be their governor. We elected a Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in the State Assembly and the Senate. Yet five members of the Republican minority once again are in the driver’s seat and they’re determined to run the state right over the cliff. They’ve even hired Schwarzenegger’s old budget director, Michael Genest, as a “consultant” while they block any attempt to address California’s fiscal crisis and — Wisconsin GOP-style — they’re even preventing Californians from voting on the matter.
The Republican minority, calling themselves the “GOP 5,” are marching in lockstep with Wisconsin’s governor Scott Walker: They’re anti-democratic, authoritarian, and immature. They seem to relish imposing on the majority of Californians whatever their corporate paymasters want. They don’t “negotiate,” they behave like children. They demand everything and concede nothing. They use extortion, obstruction, and threats of tearing apart the social fabric in order to attain their maximum goals. They say they’ll acquiesce in allowing the Plebeians to vote on measures to shore up the state’s fiscal crisis (even after Governor Jerry Brown and the Democrats already put forth $12.5 billion in budget cuts), but only after they lay waste to any state government agency, program, or institution that does not expressly serve the interests of corporations (many of them out of state).
It all has a very 19th Century ring to it.
The press coverage of California’s budget battle has been abysmal. The news media insist on facilitating the Republican narrative about what’s going on in Sacramento without ever challenging it or even bothering to explain it.
There is a simple question that is lost inside the dominant (Republican-friendly) narrative:
Why is it legitimate for a minority of legislators to hold the state budget hostage while it attempts to extort its maximum long-term political goals from the majority?
The simple answer to that question is that it is not legitimate.
Now for the hypothetical question as it applies to California:
What if things were reversed and the state had a Republican governor and Republican majorities in the Assembly and Senate and a minority of legislators calling themselves the “Democrat 5″ were holding the budget hostage while demanding increases in spending on schools, state parks, and better pensions for public employees?
What would be the narrative then?
No wonder the Republicans always over-reach.
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