What Sacramento’s Wimpy Democrats Aren’t Doing

Aug3

donkeyWhen Calbuzz bashed the Democrats’ legislative leaders for getting rolled by Arnold and the Reeps in the budget fight, we heard some cries of “foul” from defenders of Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and Senate President Darrell Steinberg.

Steinberg spokesman Jim Evans and blogger/analyst Bill Bradley were among those who dropped by Calbuzz to comment on the post, arguing essentially that Bass and Steinberg had cut the best deal possible.

“The budget sucks, of course,” wrote Mr. Crankypants Bradley, “And your real world alternative would be … What?”

A fair enough question, and one we answer with three words of advice for the Democrats: Go on offense.

As a political matter, the plain fact is that the Republicans in Sacramento out-thought, out-maneuvered and out-led the Democrats throughout the budget fight. Despite huge majorities in both houses, the D’s remained in a defensive crouch, constantly reacting to whatever the Republican governor and his allies decided to do, consistently wilting while constantly whining that the two-thirds vote budget requirement made it impossible for them to do more.

No one’s saying that the two-thirds vote doesn’t make life difficult. We’ve argued repeatedly that dumping it is the single most important reform needed to attack dysfunction in Sacramento. But Democrats by now have managed to work themselves into a complete state of psychological paralysis about it.

Instead of aggreselephant-donkey-boxing-thumbsively fighting against the tyranny of the minority, Democrats act like the two-thirds is some unspeakable force of nature, an all-powerful totem before which all must bow down and worship in fear.

Underlying this passive posture are two crippling, if unspoken, assumptions: 1) that policy is somehow separate from politics and 2) that the only reality that matters is that unfolding in the hothouse halls, meeting rooms, chambers, restaurants and saloons of the cul de sac that is Sacramento.

Steinberg, in particular, appears so intent on playing the policy statesman that he seems to have forgotten he’s also a leader of a political party, with plenty of untapped resources available to make recalcitrant Republicans pay a price in their own districts for their stubbornness.

Bass, with her adoring gazes at Schwarzenegger, looks and acts like she’s fallen down the rabbit hole of Sacramento; having lost the perspective that there’s a whole big world outside, she fails to wield the fierce and formidable campaign style weapons at her disposal — money, research, troops and technology — in members’ districts around the state.

The bottom line for Democrats is that, unless and until the two-thirds rule gets rolled back, their last, best hope of prevailing is to start treating their political fights with Republicans as a kind of permanent campaign. Here are five tactics the Dems could use for starters:

1. Bury the petty feuds between the Assembly and Senate and among members. These are a key reason why Democrats never get their act together when they’ve got a Republican governor — at least since the Speaker of the Assembly has become a rotating position. Even when John Burton was President Pro Tem, the Assembly and Senate were constant rivals — a foolish and vain conflict that saps strength from what should be a vital majority party. Sure, term limits have made members crazy, so that everyone’s angling for the next position and looking over their shoulder. But unless the party functions as a power center, majorities in the Legislature aren’t worth a bucket of warm spit.

2. Craft a message. If the Democrats had a clear, consistent and collaborative message in the budget fight, they did a terrific job of keeping it secret. Someone in a position of authority – or a collaborative group — needs to step up and start convening conference calls that include key players – top legislative leadership, John Burton and state party operatives, key Sacramento consultants like Gale Kaufman and Jason Kinney, and maybe even representatives of the gubernatorial candidates – to discuss the news and hash out a simple and coherent message in anticipation or response, to be sounded by every player from every platform so that they start framing the debate and defining the issues.

3. Identify and exploit the weaknesses of individual Republican members. Take a lesson from the way Obama’s White House operates in going after political enemies, like Senator Jim DeMint, or the way the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee attacks vulnerable GOP members in their districts.  Take a hint from Pete Stark, whose interactive map of stimulus spending could be used throughout California Assembly and Senate districts.

Democratic leaders need to put their forces on a war room footing that quickly and constantly spins off web and cable ads, robo calls, earned media opportunities and direct mail ads pointing out exactly what a GOP member’s “just say no” stance means for his district. Flood the zone with truth squads, protests and demonstrations at member’s offices, focusing tightly on the real world impacts to real people – teachers, cops, nurses, service employees, the sick and elderly – of the ideological recalcitrance of GOP assemblymen and senators.

4. Agree on a progressive tax strategy and stick with it. From day to day, the Democrats bounce around about the need for government spending in a recession, embracing a tobacco or liquor tax one day, sales tax reform the next, ending corporate loopholes on yet another. The net effect is to make them look craven and desperate to get their hands on any public money anyway they can, instead of having a coherent strategy of governance that is both progressive and practical, and that speaks to real people.

For starters, develop in depth and detail for the public the arguments for an oil severance tax – it truly is a scandal that California is the only oil-producing state without one – and stick with it instead of folding the first time anti-tax Republicans jump up and go “boo.”’ The tax cut, trickle down theory of government was soundly rejected by Americans in the last election, and Democrats need to stop living in fear that it’s still 1978.

5. Build stronger alliances with the netroots. The most consistent and smartest thinking and writing about progressive politics isn’t happening in Sacramento, but being churned out day after day on sites and by organizations like Calitics, Orange County Progressive, and the California Budget Project. Many Democratic members, just like Calbuzz, may find some of their stuff too lefty, but their reach into communities of interest of political activists makes them invaluable allies in spreading the message about progressive values and reaching critical mass in the battle to shape the political narrative that shapes public opinion.

Surely, professional political operatives in Sacramento can come up with a better list than ours. We’re just a couple of old hacks who’ve watched politics for 60 years or so, and advising partisans isn’t our job. But the next time we take a shot at the Democrats for their feckless and impotent behavior, don’t say we haven’t laid out some alternatives.


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There are 22 comments for this post

  1. avatar Bill Bradley says:

    I expected this.

    A blizzard of words is not a real world alternative.

    Nice try, though … :)

    • avatar djardin says:

      Cut CalTrans funding instead of gutting safety net programs and taking money from local governments.

  2. avatar Bill Bradley says:

    … Just in case my meaning wasn’t clear when I asked you what your real world alternative was to the bad budget, my question was what is your real world alternative to that budget?

    • avatar tonyseton says:

      With apologies to Moliere, let us strangle the last flack with the guts of the last consultant. Okay, like, um, don’t kill them, just remove them from the payroll so that pols have to deal directly with reporters.

  3. avatar rickzimmer says:

    Many of these ideas are nice, but make little sense when the individuals are not in either house very long because of term limits.

    What is needed is some real hard ball politics. The Democrats should have thrown down the gauntlet. Some ideas: either the GOP negotiate in good faith or there would be a mid-term reapportionment before the 2010 election; the Dems would sponsor and help pay for primary challengers against any vulnerable GOP’er, the Dems would pass legislation defining which in areas of the state the cuts would be made, focusing on GOP Districts, no Democrat would vote for any of the budget bills until all GOP’ers voted yes, etc.

    While the GOP is willing to play brinksmanship politics, but Democrats do not seem to have the stomach for it. They need to get rough.

  4. avatar JRaimundo says:

    Actually, a very good try. One thing I would add to your list is that the Dems should put together that long-term strategy for dealing with the two-thirds vote requirement. Instead of whining about it, why not come up with a viable plan and sell it to the public? I know, half-baked, last-minute, package-deal proposals have been killed by voters before, but times have changed, and so has the mood of the electorate. Who knows how long the window of opportunity will be open?

  5. avatar 4oceans says:

    As long time voter and activist, one thing that absolutely chaps my hide is the way Dems always fold at end of legislative term/during budget decisions and discussions on environmental issues. Almost every year (take offshore oil this year, or the LNG debates and legislation the last two years, the toll road thru San Onofre State Park, oil excise taxes or a host of other enviro related issues in the past).

    Seems all a small handful of Orange Co. Reps have to do — year after year — is throw up there hands, stomp their feet, and scream, “We won’t support the budget unless…. u kill the environment,” and the Dems cower into the corner and give up.

    I live for the day we get some real enviros in Sacto. with the backbone to stand up and fight for natural resources. Not fraudulent fakers like Schwarzenegger, who has done the wrong thing at every single opportunity, but people like…. Pedro Nava.

    When will leaders acknowledge that a healthy planet is the goose that lays the golden eggs for a strong economy?

  6. avatar chronboy says:

    The problem is that many Democrats, especially on the progressive end, have a feeling that if the voters only understood their program, of course they’d support it. Problem is, California isn’t just Sacramento and the mega-cities along the coast. There are whole parts of the state that flat out don’t agree with the progressives. Just look at the record of tax measures on the ballot in recent years. That doesn’t mean something like an oil severance tax can’t win. But it has to be decoupled from the progressive agenda and sold as a good government solution to the problems of all California.

  7. avatar tegrat says:

    I was just thinking about how well progressive taxes work while I was reading your list and then, bam!
    “Agree on a progressive tax strategy and stick with it.”
    Absolutely. If there was ever an easier argument to win, I can’t think of it. It would seem that the Dems have somehow absorbed, by osmosis, the Reeps illogical and destructive anti-tax dogma. Wake UP!

  8. avatar joemarkowitz says:

    In any negotiation, the party that must make a deal always gets a worse deal than the party that believes it can afford to walk away from the table. The Republicans felt they could always walk away from the table and let the government collapse. The Democrats did not, so they had to cave in.

    http://www.mediate-la.com/2009/08/why-democrats-blinked.html

  9. avatar Steven Maviglio says:

    Thank you for this post from Dreamland. Here on Planet Reality (also known as Sacramento), the consensus is that Democratic leaders made the very best of a bad situation. They had the responsibility to do the best they could to plug the budget gap and defend core Democratic values within the structure of the 2/3 majority rule and a Governor with a veto pen and enough Republican support to kill better compromises.

    To be more specific:

    1. Speaker Bass and Senate President pro Tem Steinberg have been a stronger team than any Democratic Senate/Assembly tandem in recent history (remember Nunez-Perata or Burton-Anybody?). Granted, it’s not a solid wall, but it’s better than it has been in ages. Or for that matter, better than the Pelosi-Reid team in D.C.

    2. As you well know, a Governor’s megaphone drowns out all others. This Governors more so. The Democratic message of sticking up for the most vulnerable was consistent and echoed by our allies. That’s not lost on anyone in this state. That said, it’s nearly impossible to play offense when the reality is that cuts had to be made since both the Governor and the Republicans weren’t giving on taxes, no way, no how. The CTA spent $5 million attacking the Governor in a way that the Democrats couldn’t and that barely moved the needle. Both Speaker Bass and President pro Tem Steinberg repeatedly included eliminating the 2/3 requirement in just about every statement they made. The bottom line is that Democrats were able to ward off most of the ugly attacks on core constituencies that the Governor and the GOP launched.

    3. Absolutely.

    4. As you know, it is impossible to pass a progressive (or ANY) tax under the current structure. Hell, it took multiple attempts just to get a yacht tax added into the budget. Democrats can talk about it until the cows come home, but it ain’t happening unless the voters make it happen. And the voters haven’t been too kind to passing taxes at the ballot box. Even the “popular” taxes — an extra tax on millionaires or a smoking tax — doesn’t solve the problem. Democrats have repeatedly introduced the oil severance tax and forced floor votes. But the press writes it off as a “drill” since they know it will fail. And, call it bad timing, but gas prices have been on the increase, and it doesn’t poll all that well in that context.

    5. I’m all in favor of reaching out to the netroots. The Democratic leaders and many members are on Facebook, Twitter, etc., and posted multiple videos and blogs. But like the Flash Report on the right, most of the blogs on the left are dominated by lefty activists who don’t understand that compromises need to be made. They’re attacking some of the most progressive legislators in the state because they don’t understand that while seemingly in control with numbers, the two-thirds requirement and a veto pen essentially give Republicans control.

    It’s easy for outsiders to take whacks at Legislative Democrats. Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda. But there’s a vacuum of ideas of what they should do different that is politically feasible. The fact is that there are no easy choices for Democrats in the Legislature. It’s not a matter of wimpiness. It’s a matter of electing enough Democrats to actually win control and/or eliminating the 2/3 threshold, which may be on the horizon sooner rather than later.

  10. avatar Bill Bradley says:

    STILL, guys, after more than a week, no answer to my obvious question in reply to your very agitated, lengthy rant of a post.

    I know that it seems freeing, in a way, to be able to write whatever occurs to you, but that doesn’t mean you should indulge yourself in this way …

    You’ll understand this more in time.

  11. avatar Ave7 says:

    rickzimmer is the only poster even close to having this right. Bass&Steinberg utterly failed. They cut no deal, won no victory, mitigated no harm. To the contrary, they delivered every Democratic vote for one of the most conservative Republican budgets in the modern era — a deal that left Grover Norquist smiling with his first ever proof that you can starve government programs to death — and completely surrendered the income side of the budget to the Republicans with absolutely nothing gained in return.

    The real message here is that when Republicans are strong, Democrats will die weak.

    You would expect with a budget deal this radically conservative, that it would begin with every Republican vote, then add all the Mod Dems, and finally pick off liberals with political bribes. But you would be wrong. For in California, Democratic leaders like Bass&Steinberg betray everything that defines the Democratic Party, and then smile – gleefully – while standing next to the movie-star Governor, who pats them on the head for doing the grown up thing.

    Why is it that when Democrats get a slice of power, they act like it’s take “your child to work day” — struggling to impress the Republicans, desperately seeking affirmation and praise from their political enemies.

    Does anyone really believe that Bass&Steinberg “cut the best deal they could?” The Republicans masterfully gamed these naive lambs. The Governor never intended to eliminate Healthy Families, CalWorks, or CalGrants folks. It’s called bluffing. Arnold painted a harsh (but totally unrealistic) vision and moved the “compromise” point right where he always wanted it — but he let you call it a victory. Suckers.

    The bottom line on the 2/3 rule is that it is a political challenge to be overcome. How? By being as tough, as hard-nosed, as inflexible, and candidly — as politically legitimate — as the Republicans (gasp!). Where in the constitution is it written that it is the responsibility of the majority Democrats to make budgets that fit within Republican revenue demands? Aren’t the two parties constitutionally equal? Aren’t the Democrats in the majority? Why can’t the Democrats have spines too? Why can’t they be the political thugs for once?

    Here is a really, really radical concept for legislative Democrats. This is pretty out-there so c’mon Dems, sit down and really listen. You ready? Here it is: VOTE NO. That’s right! Vote no! ‘Cause I checked the constitution and here’s what I found out: if the Republicans can vote no to a deal they don’t like, the Democrats ALSO can vote no to a deal they don’t like. It’s that simple — all you have to do is VOTE NO.

    I read the constitution and there is nothing that says Republicans get to vote their conscience, but Democrats have to be the fiscally responsible grown-ups who cave to every Republican demand in order to keep the trains running. It’s just not in there. You get to vote your conscience too — and hell people, you’re only up there for six years so why not vote what you actually believe instead of what Bass&Steinberg “tell you you have to do.”

    Now I’ve heard over and over that the Democrats can’t let those pig-headed juvenile delinquent Republicans “throw the state off a cliff.” That the damage to Democratic constituencies would be less under a bad budget deal than no budget deal. But there are three problems with this approach:

    1. This deal was so bad, so incredible harmful to Democratic values, that it is equal to the act of allowing the state to fall apart, except that instead of public blame falling on the obstinate Republicans — here it was the Democratic lemmings who VOTED the state off the cliff. They gave the Republicans everything they wanted, and then many Republicans didn’t even vote for it! Do Bass&Steinberg have any notion of how stupid they look right now?

    2. The “leaders” have green lighted the Republicans to never, EVER make a budget deal with the Democrats. Forget about “Senate” and “Assembly,” the two houses of the state legislature are now the Democratic and Republican caucuses — and the latter house controls the ways and means of governing. Period.

    3. If the Democrats had spines, and if they held fast to demanding that corporate tax loopholes be closed, there is a strong possibility that they would have won before total financial catastrophe befell the state. Pete Wilson was Governor and he supported a 50-50 split of taxes and cuts. Polls showed most Californians were willing to pay more to keep the state afloat. Experts know that most of these cuts will actually explode costs in the out years, worsening the deficit. The Republican position was so extreme, and so unreasonable given the times in which we live, that they would have had to cut a deal before the state ran dry. Consider the unpopularity of a Governor who is not giving people their tax returns — how long do you think he could keep up that charade?

    You know, during the first two weeks of this latest crisis Karen Bass posted one press release on her website. One. It was complaining about the Supreme Court’s opinion on Prop 8. Seriously. The Governor had just proposed the most massive dismantling of the social safety net in California history and the Assembly Speaker devotes two weeks worth of her bully pulpit to a gay marriage judicial decision that, while abhorrent, was about as surprising as the sun rising.

    There was no Democratic message. We all knew the Special Election props were going down, but there was NO Democratic contingency plan. For a month there was NOTHING from our leaders except “well, we know we can’t raise taxes…so, wow, these cuts sure are going to be deep and painful.”

    Um, that was the DEMOCRATIC message!

    WTF people? The Republican Governor had just spent two months running up and down the state telling the voters you couldn’t close a gap this big without some more revenue, and you let him off the hook in 10 seconds? And you got NOTHING in return?

    And then you let the legislative Republicans define the Special Election as a “no new taxes vote?” There were NO tax increases on the special election, thus no tax increases were rejected, expect Prop 1A which would have merely delayed a tax cut by two years. That’s it. Did you ever think to explain that in public?

    The lack of any coherent Democratic response beyond “well gee I guess we have to sell out everyone who elected us, everyone who funded us, and everyone who counts on us because gosh-golly those mean old Republicans won’t play ball” was ridiculous! Where was the Tip O’Neill leader slamming the podium in outrage? Where was the walk-out of the whole Democratic caucus to the steps of the capitol because the Republicans wouldn’t close corporate tax loopholes? Where was the press conference with Obama where he bashed the Republicans for de-stimulating California? Where was any political strategy beyond complaining about the 2/3 rule?

    The Governor’s approval rating is in the toilet — instead of bragging about how eagerly you are trying to work with him, you should have been vilifying him. Scorching him in press conferences and photo ops for unplugging dialysis machines, throwing veterans out of state homes, closing state parks, ripping off taxpayers’ refund checks, firing teachers, fire fighters, and police officers. (The one and only attempt to hit Arnold didn’t even blame him for the budget cuts — it was Bass objecting that he was “bringing new issues” into the negotiations. Seriously.)

    It is time for a new, bold strategy. Put every Republican bill in the suspense file people. Cut their staffs and their budgets to the bone. Go line by line through the budget and cut every last expenditure that is uniquely important to them. Put the spotlight on their wasteful spending, their pork projects, hold press conferences in their districts next to their hungry, homeless, illiterate, and sick constituents. Invite the press to their lobbyist-funded political junkets. Put up a website showing their campaign contributions from the benefactors of their legislative actions. Take the offensive, appeal to our common values, shame them, politically starve them, expose their hypocrisy. But damn it, DO SOMETHING.

    No Democratic message, no Democratic plan, no Democratic fight, just lambs to the slaughter. Outside the 95814, people are wondering why we even have a Democratic Party in Sacramento. Poor Phil Burton must be rolling in his grave.

  12. avatar pereubu77 says:

    I am sure there are all sorts of mature and responsible reasons why Ave7 is wrong, but I completely agree with him or her. It is a constant source of puzzlement and frustration for me why Dems in California and nationally are so spineless.

  13. Was There An Economist In The House?

    An all-cuts budget, weighted towards reducing the spending power of the poor and the middle class. Yee haw, the most contractionary way to go! Ride ‘em, cowboy!

    Did someone think the state’s economy was running so fast that it needed to be reigned in? Overheated, maybe? Smokin’ hot?

    Maybe we do need to legalize MJ. I am not a user; in fact the smoke makes me sneeze. But not only would that bring in desperately needed new revenue, maybe it would replace whatever supertoxic stuff was being smoked by whatever economics advisor gave the ok to this budget. Someone way up there where wizards of power dwell, please administer coffee and slaps to the face on whomever it is necessary. Stop partying like it’s 1929.

    It’s 2009, and the state unemployment rate is high enough for the likes of me. Is it high enough for you? Almost all of the wage-earners I know, formerly in the tech field, lost their jobs in the past 12 months. Brother. Can you spare a dime.

    Q: Was this or was this not the best time to apply “Herbert Hoover economics”? Answer that, and don’t tell me the dog ate your homework. Oh, I forgot, no money for schools. Well hell, guess we’ll learn economics by counting to ten on our fingers and twenty on our toes.

    When I think about the problems the Dems faced, what hits me on the head goes back to 1987, when the Fairness Doctrine was laid in its grave. Unless you have 1) a really big bankroll to buy your own media time or 2) own your own media or 3) you’ve got something like the Fairness Doctrine around to give you your turn to speak, the message is controlled by the ones with 1) or 2). I think most of them vote elephant.

    The message could have been: “We have to fix this deficit with as little harm to our fragile economy as possible, so put that *#%^ budget knife away for another day.” (I hear the Gov actually brought a knife to a session. Well, I have a weird sense of humor, too. Vote for me.)

    But who would have delivered and defended this message? More than just cojones, it needed carrier pigeons at the very least.

    “It’s The Economy (Again), Stupid.”

  14. avatar Marie Lakin says:

    Ave7 and Calbuzz Team,

    These posts are spot on. I am glad to find my own thoughts in such illustrious company.

    http://blogs.venturacountystar.com/mlakin/archives/2009/08/why-are-democrats-such-chickens.html

    Just an FYI: there are existing efforts in place to coordinate the local netroots and present a unified message. But I have found that while Democrats can be effective bloggers, they aren’t always particularly good about supporting the efforts of others in the comments section. I have far more rightwing commenters on my left-leaning blog and their voices tend to be more vitriolic. I sometimes wonder if our pacifist ideology also makes us more battle shy in politics.

  15. avatar JimEvans says:

    Hey Guys, There are some worthwhile ideas in this post, no question. I’d echo something that Steve Maviglio said, which is that this Speaker and the Pro Tem have worked more closely than any tandem in recent memory. … so that’s a little strange for you to bring up. The type of permanent campaign that you are advocating here has its merits but in fact has never been done in Sacramento by any Legislative leader that I can remember. Let alone the last Democratic governor. So you fault Darrell Steinberg and Karen Bass for not doing it in their first year of Leadership, which also coincides with book-end budget shortfalls of $42 billion and $24 billion, respectively? Those numbers mean something, btw. It’s quite simple really: No one has any money, so people are paying less in taxes. That means we have less money to spend than we used to. Which means we either have to raise taxes (not happening) to pay for programs or we cut drastically. When you guys come up with a way to tart up cutting $30 billion (the cumulative cuts from Feb and July) with a fancy message, I’d be interested in hearing it. Jim Evans, Communications Director, Darrell Steinberg

  16. avatar frankie says:

    Bill Bradley seems to be caught up in some sort of professional squabble with Calbuzz. How else to explain the condescending snarkiness and the refusal to accept the detailed answer he seemed to be asking for.

    Sorry to say, but Ave7 has it right. The Dems have empowered and legitimized the Republcan/Norquist strategy, leading to its logical conclusion. An all cuts budget that Dems put up the votes to pass? Are you kidding? That’s not responsible behavior, it’s enabler behavior. At some point, the responsible thing to do is not to keep passing right-wing budgets with Dem votes, but to take a stand and say No — to something, anything.

    When the budget was announced it took Sam Blakeslee only minutes to announce that there would be NO Republican votes for the budget if any prisoners were released early.

  17. avatar Bill Bradley says:

    I leave the snark to others. It’s not my thing.

    My point seems to have escaped you.

    It’s this.

    What is the real world alternative to the current, bad, budget?

    CalBuzz offered only a lengthy string of hypotheticals — which may well not result in what they imagine, mind you — not an answer to the question.

  18. avatar Hap Hazard says:

    What if the democrats were to courageously tell the welfare community, teachers, and state employee unions that the party days are over, that they miscalculated just how many goodies they could dispense over the last 18 years, and now we are all going to have to bite the bullet and accept permanent reductions in monetary support, and in some case permanent elimination of government and education programs.

    I submit that is real world, but not the real world as it exists inside the capitol.

  19. avatar 2contango says:

    Unfortunately, Democrats are caught without any viable strategies. Revenue continues to fall, requiring steeper cutbacks in government services. The alternative, streamlining state government, is unacceptable to public employee unions. And raising taxes any higher would dampen economic activity, further hampering economic recovery and long-term tax revenue growth. What’s worse, the economy has not yet fully absorbed the recent tax hikes, including a 14% increase in the sales tax. Those large tax increases are hitting our economy just as employers are trying to get back on their feet.

    As a result, Democrats are frozen, unable or unwilling to make the hard choices required to size government to our shrinking state economy. The only thing that saves them is that Republicans can offer no viable alternative. Maybe Independents will finally have their day, rising to compete with the stultified traditional parties.

  20. avatar Ellis Goldberg says:

    With your help fiscally dysfunctional California can pass a ballot measure, ”All legislative actions on revenue and budget must be determined by a majority vote.”submitted by Dr. George Lakoff to the Attorney General. The target start date for starting to collect one million petition signatures is November 17th. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-lakoff/ending-minority-rule-in-c_b_298493.html. Help California Majority Rule make this happen.

    Please consider these equations:

    Majority rule = democracy = 50%+1
    In grade school we elect the class president by majority rule; it is the basis of democracy. Majority rule is more democratic than minority rule.

    Minority rule = tyranny = protection of loopholes & freeloaders = 33.3%+1 veto
    The current 2/3 requirement allows a 1/3 plus 1 minority of extreme legislators to sabotage the state budget and hold the state hostage in order to extort concessions from the majority, resulting in budget cuts passed down to local governments throughout the state. Extortions include off shore oil drilling concessions.

    Government that fails to empower and protect citizens = dysfunctional state
    The California State Legislature and government at all levels have responsibilities, to empower and protect its citizens. Empowerment means education, infrastructure, buildings, and highways. Protection means health, safety, police, fire and consumer protection. The legislature determines how and whether these responsibilities are met through providing revenues and a budget. Revenue is needed for government to do its job. Revenue is economic air and California is being slowly suffocated and is prevented from protecting and empowering Californians by a minority of legislators protecting loopholes for freeloaders.

    Fair revenue in a wealthy state – revenue lost to loopholes & freeloaders = extreme budget cuts & lost pay for state workers
    California is the only dysfunctional state that faces fiscal crisis on a regular basis. California is also wealthy, so why don’t we have the money to run the state? The answer is loopholes used by freeloaders to circumvent paying a fair

    Minority rule loophole = all the loopholes minority rule prevents from closing
    The biggest loophole is the minority veto that 1/3 plus one of the legislature uses to protect those taking advantage of the loopholes from being required to pay a fair share. Loopholes include not paying to extract California oil as in all the other oil producing states.

    Minority ruled California = only fiscally dysfunctional state in the US
    Two other states have a minority rule situations but they don’t experience California’s dysfunctions. Freeloaders find that supporting legislation and electing legislators to protect freeloader loopholes is much less costly than what would happen if the loopholes closed.

    Budget control alone = disaster
    Marketing guru Tom Peters says “under promise and over deliver” it keeps customers satisfied. If a “majority for budget only proposition” passes the voters (customers) will expect an end to the fiscal gridlock from the Democrats since this is what the Democrats asked for. However without “majority rule for revenue” the Democrats can’t deliver California from gridlock. “Over promise and under deliver” is the formula for disaster for Democrats.

    You = Game Changer
    Volunteer. Speakers for our speakers bureau, Signature gathering, Tabling, Events, Attend – House Parties, Host – House Parties, Fundraising, Precinct Captain, Canvassing, Phone Banking, Blogging, Letter Writing, Graphic Design, Lawyers and Empathetic Responsible Courageous Activists of all kinds. Contact California Majority Rule at http://www.CAMajorityRule.com.
    Support info and materials at http://www.trivalleydems.com/DemocracyInCalifornia.htm

    We took back our country last year; it’s time to return democracy to California.

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