national opinion

Monday Column
Carol Platt Liebau

[go to Liebau index]

Latest Column:
Stopping the Meltdown
What Beltway Republicans Need To Do

Subscribe to CRO Alerts
Sign up for a weekly notice of CRO content updates.

Jon Fleischman’s
The premier source for
California political news

Michael Ramirez

editorial cartoon

Do your part to do right by our troops.
They did the right thing for you.
Donate Today

CRO Talk Radio
Contributor Sites
Laura Ingraham

Hugh Hewitt
Eric Hogue
Sharon Hughes
Frank Pastore
[Radio Home]

















Ray Haynes

Mr. Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and Temecula. He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to Assembly Member Haynes website at California Assembly]

The Arrogance of Power
by Assemblyman Ray Haynes 4/4/03

I always thought that debate in a republic such as ours would center on great ideas concerning our future. We would disagree, and engage in the debate to convince people that our ideas were better, and that we “deserve” power because society would be better off if our ideas, rather than the ideas of those who disagree with us, were implemented. Lately, in California at least, political debate has descended into a discussion of who ought to be in power, not why. Political debate is no longer intended to be a tool to educate voters, but rather an exercise in the maintenance of power through manipulation.

The most recent example of how vapid discussions about policy have become in this state is an internal memorandum, put out by the Assembly Democrats, about the so-called “regional town hall meetings” on the budget. I don’t know if you have heard this or not, but the state has a budget crisis. Our government is somewhere between $25 billion and $35 billion out of whack in our budget requirements, and this year, we will spend about $8 billion more than we take in. After spending $2 billion more than we had last year, this leaves the state with at least a $10 billion hole on June 30th, if we do nothing else.

To solve this problem, the Speaker of the Assembly wanted to have the budget committee get out and about the state to “listen” to what people thought about the budget. He wanted to use taxpayers’ dollars to set up these committee meetings, use the committee process to entice Republican members to attend the meetings and have the “public” show up to express its opinions. I thought this would be a good thing. With full knowledge, people could assess whether the visions presented to them for their future by the leaders of this state were good or bad.

Boy was I wrong. In a memorandum prepared by the Speaker’s office, the Democrats wanted to set up the “town hall” meetings to “advance the Democratic Caucus message.” The strategic partners in this effort to get the Democrats message out were listed as “labor, education, and local municipalities” who would be solicited to find “desirable groups” to attend the events, and “identify appropriate presenters and witnesses to most effectively convey” the Democrats message.

One Democrat said that “people with diverse viewpoints” would get an opportunity to air them. Except, these “people” wouldn’t be invited to the meeting, and, if perchance they happen to find out about the meeting, they would have two minutes at the end of an hour and a half meeting to express those views. Some opportunity.

In essence, these town halls would be “show trials.” My Democrat colleagues have become so arrogant that they don’t fear the public any more. They want to raise your taxes, and they want to write the script to convince you that you need those taxes raised. They don’t care about a healthy debate about whether that is appropriate, and they, quite frankly, don’t want to hear from you if you disagree with them. The message of this memorandum and the message to the people of this state are “be a good little puppy, this is what is best for you, and we will show you why. When you read in tomorrow’s paper about these important state meetings, you will see that everybody agrees that more taxes are necessary—so just accept that.”

That is the arrogance of power. Those in power use that power to manipulate, not to inform. The people are treated like sheep, to be herded by the politically powerful. If the people want to see a well-scripted show, they can choose to buy tickets to the theatre. Using tax dollars to stage a phony debate isn't just the height of arrogance and cynicism, it is fraud.

However, since you've already paid for this show, I encourage you to attend. Taxpayers tend to miss forums like these, because they actually have jobs. Tax-takers (government employees and welfare recipients) aren't so burdened by the need to produce. I think the show will be much more worthwhile if we can get them off their scripts and see how well they can do improv.


Blue Collar -  120x90
120x90 Jan 06 Brand
Free Trial Static 02
ActionGear 120*60
Free Trial Static 01
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2003-2005