You know what they say about conventional wisdom. Right or wrong, conventional wisdom, like cement, hardens quickly. Once molded into public opinion, it takes a lot of chipping away to break that mold.
The conventional wisdom, largely wrong, among Californians was that Republicans in state government were obstructionists. The Party who wouldn’t compromise. The Party which responded to every call for reform with a chorus of “No’s.” These days, however, there are many more reasons to take a fresh look at who’s pushing for reform, and who has truly adopted the mantra of “No.”
Let’s start with Pension Reform. Public opinion polls affirm that Californians now recognize the need for substantive pension reform. Pension obligations for the retired, and soon to retire public workforce are already taking away monies that should be available for basic services like good schools, freshly paved roads and public safety. But when Republican lawmakers joined with Governor Brown, asking for nothing more than a simple up or down vote on his very modest pension reform plan – which prompted the LA Times to dub Republicans the Party of Yes, the Democrats who run the legislature said No, and have quietly pushed aside any hope of real pension reform for the foreseeable future.
Speaking of schools, for the last two years, the Republicans in the Legislature have provided alternative ideas that allow education to be fully funded. The Democrats have said No to those ideas. The Democrats also said No to meaningful classroom reforms and to taking action to stabilize, let alone reduce tuition costs, for college and university students. Despite pleas from the Los Angeles Unified School District, asking for more local control to discipline errant teachers, even teachers caught humiliating and sexually harassing elementary school students, Democrats said no, and kowtowed to the demands of the teacher union bosses. With runaway tuition costs threatening to block millions of California students from the halls of higher learning, a Republican proposal to send more money to colleges and universities was dismissed by the Democrats out of hand, even while Democrats are pushing through a much smaller tuition relief program that threatens our state’s fragile economic recovery.
Republicans are also saying Yes to common sense regulatory relief and Yes to budget plans that will boost hiring and perhaps let California at least catch up to the rest of the country’s jobs recovery. But in hearing after hearing, Democrats say No to those common sense measures, those same Democrat leaders who can’t even begin to balance their own state budget, obviously believe that they know more about what’s best for businesses than the business owners who have their own skin in the game.
All in all, despite the conventional wisdom, the California Republican Party is California’s Party of Yes and the Democrats have become the Party of No.
That is why we’re embarking on our “Right Track, California” tour, to make the case to California voters that there’s an alternative to the Democrat status quo and their path that’s taking our state to the brink of fiscal insolvency and collapse. It is a tour to let voters know that we do care about education and that there’s an alternative to holding voters hostage to a tax increase under the threat of devastating education cuts. We also want to demonstrate that there’s more to governance than spending political capital on fear tactics and placating public union bosses.
It is time for Democrats in Sacramento to start saying yes to some of the things Californians want. Instead of threats: how about yes to tax relief that will actually bring in more tax revenues? How about yes to job creation, yes to all jobs, and not just the subsidized “green jobs” that get doled out to the union insiders? How about yes to solutions? How about yes to fully funding education?
Our “Right on Track” tour is about people. Republicans believe in shaping government to serve all the people. We trust the people, unlike Democrats who even now are conspiring to quickly commit the state to a very dubious High Speed Rail project, while blocking legislation that would give the people another vote now that the truth has come out about this ridiculously unworkable plan.
We trust the people, that’s why we don’t try to fool you with ballot measures like Proposition 25, which the Democrats claimed would hold lawmakers accountable, and then file a lawsuit to stop that accountability the first time it was put into action. These are things voter deserve to know, and on our “Right on Track” tour, that’s the story we’ll be telling.
We hope you join us and recognize that at least politically; there is a Party of Yes in California – the California Republican Party.
(Tom Del Beccaro is the Chairman of the California Republican Party. Originally posted on Fox & Hounds.)