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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 Siren Song of the Democrats
The allure of taxes...
[Ray Haynes] 10/21/03

With the election of a new Governor still fresh in our minds, you can already hear it—the siren song of the Democrats—you must raise taxes. It happens whenever a Republican gets elected to a top office—Governor or President.

To those who don’t remember the Sirens, they were part of Greek mythology, specifically, Homer’s Odyssey. In his ten-year quest to return home to Greece from the Trojan War, one of the temptations of Odysseus, was the Island of the Sirens, whose song lured the ships at sea to the island where destruction awaited them. (For a more modern version, the scene in the movie O Brother, Where art Thou where the women in the river were singing, luring Ulysses, Delmar, and Pete to them, at which time Ulysses and Delmar thought Pete was turned into a toad—same story, slightly different outcome). Whether just becoming a toadie or complete destruction awaits them, the story is applicable to the Republicans who are tempted to fall victim to the Democrat siren song of “only more taxes can solve our budget problem.”

Remember George Bush the elder, whose political career was destroyed when he collapsed on the shores of the Democrat Tax Island. He said—“read my lips,” the Democrats sang—“we need taxes,” and when he gave in to the song, they destroyed him and his presidency. They got everything they wanted. He ended up in political oblivion. Republican Governors in states like Ohio and Nevada have likewise cast themselves into the political seas in response to the siren song, sung by the Democrats, for new taxes to solve the Democrats’ spending problems.

Now they are singing to Governor Schwarzenegger. In the last week, we have heard those dulcet tones emanating from our left-wing friends in the newspapers about “only a Republican can raise taxes,” and “Schwarzenegger is a reasonable man, and he can push those unreasonable Republican legislators to raise taxes.” There is no other way, we hear over and over, to solve this enormous budget problem. The tune is alluring, but it leads to destruction.

In the Odysseus story, Circe warned Odysseus of the power of the siren’s song. He instructed his crew to stuff their ears with wax, and to tie him to the mast of his ship, giving them strict instructions to keep him bound to the mast no matter what. As his ship passed by the Island of the Sirens, Odysseus heard “notes of music so ravishing and attractive” that he strove to break himself free of his binding to swim to those sounds. His crewman, oblivious to those same sounds tied him tighter, and the ship passed the island without incident. Odysseus and the crew survived.

I don’t know if I am acting as Circe by writing this warning to the new Governor, or as a mere crewman with an earful of wax, but either way, the noises that are emanating from Sacramento are nothing more than the siren’s song. Those emitting such sounds are committed to the destruction of this Governor’s term, and the restoration of their own power. They want him to cast himself into their sea in pursuit of their siren’s song.

Last year, Republican Legislators stuffed their ears with the equivalent of political wax, listening to the words of their constituents, and not to the siren song of the tax-and-spend crowd in Sacramento. We survived the voyage, and, in that voyage, helped elect the new Governor. We will stuff our ears again, and, should this Governor be tempted to escape his promises, and pursue the leftist’s siren song, we will tie him tighter to the mast of his promise. That is the only way to successfully complete the voyage on which we are all about to embark.


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