Sunday, November 7, 2010
The California Experiment
It looks like California will seriously buck the national electoral trend by putting all statewide offices in the hands of Democrats (first time since Gray Davis was re-elected) and maintain the current Dem/R split in the House of Representatives. Even Jerry McNerney, who was long ago written off, is likely to win his conservative district.
The Republican "Wave" didn't even reach the Sierras, let alone the Tehachapis. Harry Reid (another supposed Dead Man Walking) was re-elected in Nevada.
At the same time, Californians should watch their backs. Dems had full control in New Mexico until this election, for example, and they blew it bad by using their power and position to enhance and protect the well-off by putting the majority of the costs of wealth protection on the backs of workers and the poor. Consequently, a lot of Dems were thrown out of office. What a surprise. Dems who act like Rs will be replaced with Rs. The saving grace in NM is that Rs tend not to be the kind of batshit lunatics that infest neighboring Arizona. (Not to say they aren't eccentric...)
California returned Jerry Brown to the Governor's Corner Office, after a hiatus of 28 years, trouncing eMeg so severely I doubt she'll show her false smile in public again. Barbara Boxer did likewise to Carly Fiorina though by not quite so wide a margin. The media made it seem like these contests were much closer than they actually were, but then that's their job, making book on political horseraces and getting the rubes to buy in to the spread.
As for Jerry Brown himself, it would be a mistake to think of him as some sort of kindly (if crotchety) Zen-Master/Liberal. Whatever he does to address the gargantuan and continuing budget mess in California, he won't be nice about it. Nor will he address it in koans. From all appearances, he will address it directly, forcefully, and take everybody to the woodshed for being profligate and fools. Including the Rich.
The Schwarzenegger Experiment has been a dismal failure, despite all the high hopes of his ascension. It didn't work out... at all. Not through lack of trying, except for the fact that Schwarzenegger also had a Protect the Rich at all costs program. Otherwise, Schwarzenegger was as engaged in trying to correct the problems of California as anyone has been. He couldn't figure out what to do.
Brown may not be able to solve it, either. And California may be truly ungovernable from this point onwards. But Californians were clearly showing wisdom to give him the reins rather than eMeg. The last thing California needs at this point is more "help" from the Billionaire Boyz (or Girlz) Club.
If the past is any guide, California will become, by default, the leader in finding and applying solutions to the ongoing political/economic catastrophe that has engulfed the nation.
Whatever the case: Expect the unexpected. It's the New Normal.