Several times a year, reports evaluating the 50 states come out that consistently rate California near the bottom when it comes to business-friendliness, whereupon defenders of the status quo say, well, what do you expect from right-wing groups who don’t like the politics of the Golden State? The same scenario played out recently, when Gil Duran, Jerry Brown’s spokesman, dismissed a report by the Tax Foundation that ranked California 48th out of 50 states: “This is a partisan group funded by conservative foundations and its assertions must be taken with a grain of salt.” Groan. In a key way, this reflects the same stupidity of the birthers who insist that Barack Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii in August 1961 even if there was a birth announcement in the local papers just after it happened. Why? Because it requires a belief in truly idiotic conspiracy theories.
Consider that the Tax Foundation bases its rankings on simple numbers — tax rates in key categories. Or look at the survey done each year by Chief Executive magazine, which is based on interviews with CEOs.
These aren’t push polls paid for by political antagonists of California. They’re 50-state surveys with clearly explained, straightforward methodology. It takes staggering chutzpah and/or mental density to assume they are all just sham exercises meant to come up with results that embarrass the Golden State.
This is the same sort of absurdity that has always driven the birther movement. I was a journalist in Hawaii for eight years. The monthly release of “vital statistics” from the state health department, and their subsequent publication in the local newspapers, used to be akin to a routine civic ritual. It wasn’t hush-hush, it was much talked-about — water-cooler chatter fodder. So the idea that Barack Obama Jr. was listed as being born on Oahu in August 1961 in the Honolulu Advertiser as part of an elaborate, secretive plot to surreptitiously create a sinister paper trail is so stupid it suggests those who put it forth had moms who chugged lead milkshakes while they were in the womb. His father’s arrival at the University of Hawaii was a big deal — Barack Sr. was the first African-born graduate student at UH. His mom’s arrival was also, in a less dramatic way, well-documented. So they’re in Hawaii in 1961 — confirmed in many ways — and they decide to decamp to Indonesia or Kenya to have their kid in Third World hospitals instead of First World Hawaii. What kind of dolt believes this?
The answer? The right-wing version of the left-wing dolt who pretends all the national surveys saying California is business-hostile are part of a grand conspiracy to embarrass the Golden State. Fools. Yeah, sure, the Tax Foundation and Chief Executive magazine are front groups set up just to make Cali look bad. Gil Duran is like the lefty version of Orly Taitz.