Oh For God's Sake, pt. 2

While the rest of the nation celebrates a massive GOP win, California voters have decided to double down on Big Government liberals. As I write this, the sun has not yet risen. Maybe that famous California sunshine would prefer to fall on Texas.

1. Jerry Brown has been re-elected governor. Isn't it great how term limits don't apply to the one guy who should never be governor again? Meg Whitman obviously couldn't close the sale. Who knows whether it was because of her money, her illegal alien maid, or her lack of charisma. Probably a combination of all of the above. At least now, we won't have to continue watching a Republican protect "Pat Brown's legacy." How, about trying to protect Governor Reagan's legacy next time, Ah-nuld.

2. Barbara Boxer looks to have squeaked out a win against Carly Fiorina, although Fiorina has not yet conceded. Too bad. Fiorina ran a feisty campaign, and almost brought this one home.

3. San Francisco DA Kamala Harris is narrowly leading Steve Cooley in the Attorney Generals race. Good bye death penalty, hello Endangered Species Act.

4. Prop. 19 - that's the legalize pot prop - was defeated. This was a little bit of a surprise, but quite a few people I spoke to said they saw no point in voting for it so long as federal law would pre-empt it. How oddly...reasonable.

5. The results of the two redistricting propositions (one would affirm the redistricting commission, the other would return gerrymandering to the legislature) resulted in a victory for citizen redistricting, thank God. One of the few good results from last night.

6. Prop. 23 also lost handily. That would have suspended the state's cap & trade law. God help us, people like that sort of thing.

7. There were a number of budgeting propositions on the ballot whose results have left us with the following:

a. there is no longer a 2/3rd threshold to pass taxes. Now they can pass on a simple majority vote. This is a disaster for GOP state representatives, who have now lost their last scrap of leverage.

b. there is a 2/3rd threshold to pass fees and other regulatory charges, which are widely seen in the state as nothing more than taxes by another name. This says to me that, while voters don't mind paying higher taxes, they do mind paying other funds to the state. It makes a sort of cosmic sense, I guess: if you're going to tax me, call it a tax.

c. the state can no longer take money from counties and municipalities to close its budget gap.

d. the $18 vehicle surcharge to pay for state parks was defeated. This was an odd proposition, as anyone who paid the fee would have had free admission to the parks. In other words, people who didn't go to state parks would be paying for their upkeep. Doesn't pass the fairness test.

California voters may have made it easier for a new Democratic governor and a Democratic Legislature to pass a state budget by lowering the budget vote requirement, but they also have made it more difficult to balance the budget.

Collectively, those actions appear to put the budget monkey squarely on the backs of Brown and the Legislature's Democrats, forcing them to either make deep spending cuts or ask voters for additional taxes without sharing the political onus with Republicans.

Brown has said he won't impose new taxes without voter approval, but persuading voters to do so in the midst of a deep recession would be problematic.

It's too early in the morning for me to say too much (plus I'm jealous of all those people who have Marco Rubio and Rand Paul as their new Senator), but I will say this: this is what happens when Republicans break their promises and try to govern as bi-partisan centrists. 7 years ago, the Governator rode a populist wave into office promising to shrink state government. Instead, he expanded it. Worst of all, when the budget crisis hit, he spent literally years negotiating "debt and taxes" budget deals with Democrats. When a Republican acts like a Democrat, the only thing you get is more Democrats. Something triumphant Republicans in the rest of the country would best think about.

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