Matthew N. Klink - Contributor
N. Klink is a writer and political consultant who works
for Republican candidates at the federal, state
and local level. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Quick End To The Era of Good Feelings
The same old tune replays in the Legislature
N. Klink] 11/20/03
The era of
good feelings in Sacramento lasted all of 24 hours.
After a short but
well-received inaugural address, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
took office Monday afternoon and spoke of the
need to end California’s dysfunctional “insider” political
culture. On Tuesday, Democrats in the State Legislature responded
with, well, more of the same strategies and tactics that have
made Sacramento a political wasteland for the last five years.
Political pandering. This is California Politics – and
changing it will require a concerted, focused effort from a
reform-minded Gov. Schwarzenegger.
Gov. Schwarzenegger’s first official act as governor was
to rescind the tripling of the car tax. Even the announcement
of doing away with this measure received thundering applause
from the 7,000 inaugural guests this past Monday. Schwarzenegger’s
move is popular with virtually everyone in California – everyone
except for Democrats in the State Legislature who thirst after
these “needed” resources like habitual alcoholics
in a never-ending quest for their next drink.
On Tuesday, Gov. Arnold
attempted to tackle California’s
biggest obstacle - an out-of-control state budget deficit. It’s
obvious to anyone who manages a family budget that you cannot
spend more than you take in - unless you’re in the state
legislature. Schwarzenegger spoke of a likely $15 billion bond
issue as a temporary stopgap measure to close the budget deficit
and as a way to find long-term structural solutions to our fiscal
This initiative should
be popular with both Republicans and Democrats because GOPers
don’t have to raise taxes and
Democrats don’t have to cut precious social programs -
even though they’ve become especially bloated in the last
five years. But, as one would suspect, Senate President John
Burton, Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson and other liberals in the
State Legislature want nothing of it. Their solution is simple.
Raise taxes. Soak the rich.
Next, in an attempt to stop the widely unpopular SB 60 from
becoming law, Republicans introduced a motion to waive usual
floor rules so the Assembly could vote to repeal SB 60. As one
would suspect, Democrats quickly torpedoed this motion, saying
that the measure should be sent to a committee for a hearing.
Everyone in the State
Legislature knows what SB 60 is about. SB 60 grants illegal
aliens driver's licenses -- and is likely
an underhanded first-step to ultimately giving them voting rights.
Former Gov. Gray Davis feebly pandered to Latino legislators
for anti-recall votes by signing legislation he had vetoed twice
previously. Unfortunately for Davis - but fortunately for the
rest of California – Latino voters did not flock to Davis
following this vote.
In spite of SB 60's
overwhelming unpopularity, getting rid of this misguided legislation
will prove difficult. Every single
Democrat in the state legislature voted for it. Latino legislators
talk about finding a “compromise” - code word for
allowing it to stay in place in some way, shape or form.
Legislation to repeal SB 60 will languish in committee for
months -in spite of the fact that it will quickly pass if
and when a vote is called on this widely unpopular subject.
the true colors of Democrats in the California Legislature
- and it’s not a very bright or pretty picture.
Gov. Schwarzenegger,on behalf of the majority of Californians,
we wish you the absolute best of luck in solving the fiscal and
political mess that is California. Your ideas are excellent;
your enthusiasm much needed.
But be prepared to
take your cause to and make your case with California voters
early and often. You have a mandate to act
quickly and decisively. Don’t squander it - and don’t
let Democrats in the State Legislature convince you to “go
along to get along.”
2003 Matthew N. Klink