You may be wondering why Gov. Jerry Brown still thinks he can find four Republican votes in the Legislature to temporarily extend taxes when he couldn’t even find four votes just to put a measure on the ballot giving voters a chance to decide at the ballot box whether to temporarily extend taxes.
Here’s why: Despite some downbeat data from the Public Policy Institute of California and an SEIU poll by David Binder, Brown has confidence in polling by Jim Moore that finds Brown’s plan for $12.5 billion in temporary tax increases favored 50-33% by actual voters and 55-34% among voters aged 60 or more.
Seven in 10 voters oppose the idea of the Legislature and governor approving taxes without a popular vote, while 77% of voters approve a spending cap on new state programs until temporary taxes expire in five years, 68% favor placing limits on public employee pension benefits and 61% oppose making fewer budget cuts and increasing taxes more.
Whether any of this matters is altogether unclear. For one thing, while 63% of Democrats and 52% of independents like Brown’s plan, 53% of Republicans oppose the idea. And that’s statewide. You can bet that the Republicans in districts that have elected Republicans to the Assembly and Senate are even more strongly against extending taxes. And so the Reeps in the legislature who have taken a stand against Brown’s plan are merely representing those who’ve elected them.
Which mean Gov. Gandalf is out of luck, unless he has polling in individual Assembly and Senate districts (which we don’t think he’s got) or unless he can show some recalcitrant members that their districts are about to be so completely realigned that they’d better not look like obstructionists. Best we can tell, however, while their districts may well be dramatically altered by the new maps, no Republican seems ready to cross his or her tea party line.
Calbuzz cartoonist extraordinaire Tom Meyer demonstrates how out-of-synch most conservative Republicans will likely be with the new district boundaries. But that fact doesn’t seem to have changed any minds yet.
But it’s also unlikely Brown can actually do what he has said he would do if tax extensions aren’t passed: we just don’t see the Democrats going along with an all-cuts budget – not when they’ve already absorbed budget cuts they never would have allowed a Republican governor to make.
In fact, since Brown has no Plan B, it looked late Tuesday like the Democrats in the Legislature are taking things in their own hands and are prepared to approve a majority-vote budget today, cutting universities further, raising vehicle registration fees and extending a quarter-cent sales tax.
If this goes through, they’ll deliver the governor a phonied up balanced budget — like back in the days of Gov. Schwartzschmuck — with all the bells and whistles, smoke and mirrors Brown foreswore during his campaign for governor. Our bet: Brown argues that he tried but the Republicans blocked him from allowing people to have a vote.
How unsavory. Speaking of which . . .
Dr. H. Mailbag
The all-knowing, all-seeing Dr. P.J. Hackenflack has been inundated with questions about U.S. Rep Anthony Weiner (D-Twitter) and his sexting scandal. Here’s one of those queries:
Dear Dr. H.,
I read that Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Twitter) is taking a leave of absence from Congress to seek professional treatment. As an eminent psychiatrist, please explain what kind of treatment this would be?
— IM Curious, Yucca Valley
Dear Mr. Curious:
There are several methods of treatment for exhibitionist narcissistic stupidity sufferers, up to and including shock therapy, whereby battery cables are clipped to a man’s unmentionables to prevent obsessive tweeting.
In any case, first steps for Mr. Weiner will likely include lessons in advanced Photoshop and a course in self-waxing. He also requires a slew of tests by a professional since, as the esteemed Dr. Garry South informs us, “A diagnosis of narcissism is really unfair to narcissists.”
Besides a much-needed name change, Mr. Weiner also may be a candidate for a foreskin reattachment, although in this case the object re-covered would be his “send” finger.
Not exactly Lincoln-Douglas: Since Calbuzz probably represented about 40% of the total audience for CNN’s Monday night Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire, our Public Trust and Freeload Swag Department feels a deep civic responsibility to report on the affair. A quick recap on how each of the wannabes did, in order of finish:
Mitt Romney: The putative front-runner still looks like the best the GOP has to offer, but whenever he’s on the TV, we’re mysteriously left with a big greasy spot on the LCD screen. Two words Mutt: Blow dry.
Michele Bachmann: That voice can shatter glass from 100 yards away, but she greatly exceeded expectations by speaking in complete sentences and not drooling.
Newt Gingrich: Only in this group could he manage to sound reasonable, as in noting that the GOP probably shouldn’t replace Medicare with vouchers without consulting, you know, the American people.
Ron Paul: Slam dunked the gold standard vote.
Herman Cain: His foursquare opposition to Sharia law probably resonated with the ABA, while his bold embrace of deep dish over thin crust no doubt won cheers in Chicago.
Tim Pawlenty: His cowardly refusal to attack Mitt face-to-face after bashing him on TV the day before makes him the biggest sneaky weenie since Anthony posed for his Blackberry in the locker room.
Rick Santorum: Google his last name. Case closed.
Biggest winner: The Tea Party. The National Journal’s Ron Brownstein ably made this point, but unfortunately failed to note how this puts the Republic in imminent danger: What’s first on the presidential agenda – repealing child labor laws or putting seniors onto ice floes?
Biggest loser: Sarah Palin. Putting aside her, um, ideas and policies, Bachmann did a nice job of fully occupying Ms. Grizzly’s political space, without reverting to Alaskan word salad or otherwise making an utter fool of herself. Ergo: Who needs Sarah?
A final word: CNN’s John King, who we remember from his considerably less-coiffed days as an AP workhorse, did an extraordinary job as moderator. Besides herding and hustling the seven cats on the stage through two hours of 30-second answers, King flawlessly juggled a non-stop stream of incoming tweets, dumb audience questions and queries from a pack of local reporters eager for face time, not to mention rattling off a series of cringe-worthy, pre-packaged “this or that” joke questions, cutting to commercial on time and relentlessly pursuing his own smart follow-ups, as when he revealed Pawlenty to be a craven wimp. Three cheers for the Fourth Estate.