Giving up on Reagan

He’s been gone twelve years, and it’s time for me to move on.  I’ll never see another Ronald Reagan, nor will I see the political coalition he led, and I was a small part of.  Anti-communism got me into politics as soon as I was old enough to understand what communism was, which was at Saint Cornelius Elementary.  And Ronald Reagan was the ultimate, and winning, cold warrior.  When the Berlin Wall went down, and the Gipper went home to California, it was all over.

Ted Cruz tried to reassemble the Reagan coalition, and his failure to do so was not because of his flaws as a candidate, or because of Donald Trump.  A lot of people didn’t like Cruz because he came across as a Bible thumping religious zealot.  But it wasn’t these people who cost him the nomination.  It was the very people that persona should most appeal to  — Southern evangelicals  — who on March 1st gave Trump his path to the nomination, and blocked Cruz’s.

The evangelicals have pulled the Republican Party too far to the right on social issues.   Forget about the Hispanic vote, the one that matters for the future is the millennials, and they’re libertarian on the subject.  That’s where the Party needs to go as well.  The evangelicals will not abandon the Party, they might just not vote.  But they weren’t there when we needed them on Super Tuesday, and we’ll have to do without them.

I’m pro-life, but these pro-lifers have got to let it go.  They have to realize that voting for a person who is ambivalent, or even pro-choice, is not the end of the world.  I was reading some conservative on the internet who can’t bring himself to vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian, because he’s pro-choice.  Give me a break.   Talk about holier than thou.

There’s only one way for the Republican Party of California to revive itself.  Some smart, pro-choice Republican should fund a ballot drive to put a California Constitutional Amendment on the ballot, enshrining a woman’s right to choose in the California Constitution.  That takes the issue off the table in California.  Even if Roe v. Wade were overturned, California would remain pro-choice.  And it is the abortion issue which makes the GOP toxic to so many people here.  Take that off the table and you can talk to them.  Otherwise, forget it.

We now have a jungle primary in California, which will result in the election to the Senate of a Blue Dog Democrat, Loretta Sanchez, one of the very few in the country.  This is not what the Democrats had in mind when they adopted the jungle primary.  It was designed as a way to replace hard core Republicans with moderates, to move the GOP to the center.  That way they could get the 2/3 they need to pass a State budget, with some moderate Republican votes.  But in practice, it’s not having that effect, instead it’s moving the Democratic Party to the center.  Oh, well.

When I was in the Alaska legislature we created something called the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR).  It was a savings account, to be used when the State government really needed it.  This was 30 years ago, and we knew it wouldn’t be used for a long time.  We had so much money coming into Juneau we didn’t know what to do with it all, and there were many fat years ahead.  We wanted to make it hard to get at this money.  This was money you only used in a sort of fiscal emergency, which is exactly what is facing the Alaska Legislature as I type.  Their revenue is only providing about a fourth of what they’re spending.  It’s a true crisis, one that’s been predicted to come since I was in the legislature.

Most people thought requiring a 2/3 vote to spend the CBR was sufficient to assure that a future legislature wouldn’t get to the money before they really needed it.  Not me.  I had 16 members of my Minority Caucus, and if any three of them bailed on me, they’d have their 2/3, and spend that money before they cut the budget.  I wanted that fat, bloated budget cut close to the bone before they got that money.  I insisted on a 3/4 vote, and that’s the problem they’ve got in Juneau right now.  They really need the money, but they can’t get a 3/4  vote.

So, my idea worked, right?  Wrong, emphatically wrong.  The people who won’t give them the votes are the Democrats, and they’re holding out because they want to spend more  money.  Exactly the opposite of what I intended.

Oh, well.  I didn’t know the gun was loaded, and I’m so sorry, my friend.  I didn’t know the gun was loaded, and I’ll never, ever, do it again.


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