[Cross-posted from The Left Coaster
In all the useless blather that's about to splat upon the public consciousness about California Election 2005 the most startling phenomena is the complete inability by the chattering professional pundit and reporting corps to state the obvious: by calling another special off-year election just for governor-sponsored initiatives government as we know it has been chucked out the window, we're flying blind in a scary breakdown of competent governance, and that the "reform" Arnie brings is not in the initiatives themselves, but just the very simple fact that we're having annual elections over them.
The phenomena is probably too complex and scary for the Los Angeles Times, for in the last two days the paper, just like a good corporate slut should, has totally ignored the Election 2005 story with no coverage on its home page. As we'll see in this series the foundation for the dangerous absurdity that's about to unfold is an uncaring, indifferent, ill-informed public electorate. The la times did it's part over the weekend by keeping southern Californians complacent, oblivious, and stupid.
Yes, California is having another election this year, in doing so obviating the principle of legislative government. That's right, the governor of California has decided the legislature in unnecessary and an impediment to good governance and prosperity. Instead of passing bills every year California now holds state-wide elections on routine issues, a radical joyride of politics no one signed up for when Schwarzenegger burst upon the scene.
Like many desperate foolish tactics, the 2005 election is full of holes, traps and contradictions. Although the legislature has been obviated it's of course still there--the election cherry-picks issues the governor can't get results he likes out of Sacramento, it doesn't specifically abolish the body, not even the manifestly crude Arnold would advocate that. The offered initiatives also are plain vicious opponent tactics that the governor could never get passed, like changing tenure rules for public teachers.
The Left Coaster will examine each initiative on the ballot for election 2005 with separate entries in a new category, but again, the story is not in the initiatives themselves, it's that we're having a $45 million meltdown because the governor decided the legislature can't function. Part of the scariest element to this ride is just as we're about to sail over the cliff civically no one in the country is saying so--we just hope the biggest paper in the state even reports the election itself.
What if all the initiatives thwarting the legislature fail? What then? There is no election to hold and the legislature is useless. Sacramento would have to pick up the pieces somehow, deliver a budget six months late (best case), billions will be squandered in borrowing interest, and all the critical issues facing California (busted public revenue streams, atrocious public school funding, clean air and water, transportation, employment, health care, day care) will have been again been ignored.
Schwarzenegger will not have lead any of the mop-up to this potential debacle, for he would be emasculated and disgraced. Another hole remarkably not seen is this desperate strategy by Arnie is the danger of staleness--for the consumerism-soaked California new is always a huge selling point, and putting the steroid-shrunken Austrian out there yet again is burying Arnie's novelty, with defeat in this election carrying massive risk for defeat in next year's "normal" gubernatorial election.
This last messy scenario, dangerous and distasteful as it seems at first glance, is my mission for the next 150 days at The Left Coaster. If Arnold is foolish enough to take on a fight this summer we'll be more than happy to oblige, and all Democrats across the country should be aware of the great opportunity to humiliate and completely set the stage for his easy defeat next year if we crush him now.
Arnie took to the road this spring and shopped his hard-core gop knife tactics (gutting unions, eviscerating environmental protections, shafting public education) to fellow republican goonies and took in millions. Nobody in the state here wanted their names pegged to the hit money, so Arnie went a'walkin'.
We never have to slink around for our cash. Along with regular reporting of each initiative on the ballot The Left Coaster will have specific donation, purchase and action posts to take Arnold down. All Democrats will at least take interest and hopefully some action, nothing is too small---Arnie, as we will see, represents the most dangerous, threatening face of the gop in our biggest blue state. He calls our public school teachers a special interest group.
My wife is a public school teacher, as were my parents. Many of my most precious friends are. Arnie is going after my family and every family in the state. That's a fight The Left Coaster and all Democrats will be glad to take, the first step in crushing this foul republican phenomena out of California. Election 2005 is a great, great opportunity and we're thilled to make the most of it.