The Party of No Solutions

State Assembly Speaker Karen Bass was on the Rachel Maddow Show tonight. The video can be found here (I cannot figure out how to make the MSNBC embed code work on wordpress – advice would be welcome).

Key, Speaker Bass referred to the Republican Party as “The Party of No Votes. The Party of No Solutions.” This should become the Democratic motto in California for the next two years. Assuming that some sort of compromise is finally reached, the inclination will be to let the horror of this budget crisis pass into history. Progressives are going to need to keep Republican obstructionism front-and-center both for the fight against the 2/3rds rule and for the gubernatorial race.

(On the 2/3rds rule, see Robert in Monterrey at Calitics on the history of the rule, and the approach to changing it.)

Overall, I thought that Speaker Bass hit the key points, especially on the recent history of Democratic concessions to spending cuts. However, I found fault  with her on two issues. The first, she made a point that this crisis is a product of the Republican party – referring to recall threats and KFI’s John & Ken specifically. Okay, that is accurate. But in doing so, she appeared to give a kind of clemency to the individual legislators. This is dangerous, especially given Abel Maldonado’s narcissistic attempt to rewrite the constitution to protect his own seat.

Rachel also asked her about the liberal response to those threats, a question that Speaker Bass had to evade, because there has been relatively little liberal or progressive response. I think some of this is structural – liberal outrage is unlikely to sway recalcitrant Republicans, and threatening Democratic legislators for more tax increases and fewer spending cuts is counterproductive in the face of total disaster. However, I also suspect that the problem, among both Democrats and the populace at large, is familiarity. We’re used to budget crises in California. They aren’t news – they’re olds. As such, I believe that most of the state ignored the crisis in the summer of last year, even though in retrospect is was an obvious prelude to the current disaster. We’re so used to storms that we didn’t recognize the hurricane for what it was.

Speaking of progressive response, Calitics has been urging people to call Abel Maldonado for days.

If you haven’t called him, please call Maldo,916-651-4015, and tell him to end the hostage situation. If you have, call him again, or you can also call his local offices. And if you are in the district, why not call both offices and send him an email too?

This is especially important given this from the LA Times:

But for others, including Sen. Sam Aanestad (R-Grass Valley), it is a matter of listening to the “hard-working middle-class people” he represents.

“Just yesterday alone, we had 400 telephone calls,” he said. “Overwhelmingly, more than 40 to 1, they were saying, ‘Please do not raise our taxes.’ “

Take the time; make a call.

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