What has happened to the Sacramento pundit class? It’s hard to fathom the casual displays of contempt for the public that its members have periodically put forward in recent years. It’s not as if the public has no right to be upset with how the state is run or no reason to question the competence of those in charge. But don’t tell that to Sac Bee columnist Dan Morain. In his Thursday column, he acknowledged that the $9.95 billion in bond seed money for the state bullet-train project was sold with lies in a 2008 ballot initiative that barely passed. But is this an outrage? Morain doesn’t think so. Bleep you, you ignorant Californians. If the Sacramento establishment manipulates you, so what? It knows what’s best.
Let’s take a closer look at what Morain wrote:
The vote approving the bond was 52.7 percent for it and 47.3 percent against, hardly a landslide.
So far, so good. But then Morain basically excuses away a huge lie.
Cost is a problem. But anyone who read the voter handbook in 2008 could have guessed that the $45 billion cost estimate was low.
In their argument against the measure, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, Republican Board of Equalization member George Runner and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association President Jon Coupal offered what turned out to be an honest cost assessment.
“The whole project could cost $90 billion, the most expensive railroad in history,” they wrote in the voter pamphlet. “No one really knows how much this will ultimately cost.”
They’re right. Management of the project has been terrible. Supporters lied about the cost. Consultants wasted money.
But does Morain acknowledge the Sacramento media should have heeded McClintock in its reporting that fall? No. Does he acknowledge that it’s wrong to lie about an incredibly costly infrastructure proposal? No. Instead, he repeats Jerry Brown’s talking points.
But taxpayers already subsidize transportation. We pay taxes for freeways every time we fill our gas tanks.
Yo, Dan, are you freaking kidding me? So we’re supposed to think the entire California electorate should be wised-up cynics who factor in being lied to by state leaders in their votes on ballot measures? So after the electorate is manipulated, we’re supposed to ex post facto find reasons to say it is no big deal?
What a joke. If 1 in 36 voters in 2008 had voted no instead of yes, Prop 1A would have failed. Yet Dan Morain thinks that the lies told to achieve this narrow victory not only aren’t a big deal, but that voters are fools for not figuring out they were lied to. Sheesh.
When George Skelton retires, Morain will smoothly replace him in the Sacto establishment hierarchy of pundits who channel Dem talking points and think voters are fools. I told an East Coast journalist about the column that Skelton wrote a few weeks back saying that it was “hard to find” anyone who didn’t think higher taxes should be forced down Californians’ throats and he thought I was kidding him. Then he read the column I was talking about and told me he laughed and laughed and laughed.
Thanks, pal, but to those of us who live here, it’s not a laughing matter. It’s unreal to see a Sacramento pundit class that treats voters with such contempt — a bunch of opinion shapers that, incredibly, believes state leaders are put-upon, to use the “Thomas and the Tank Engine” lingo.
For California observers not in the Dem tank, the special election of May 19, 2009, should resonate forever.
No, not because on that day state voters once again rejected broad tax hikes to bail out a Legislature and state government that voters saw as profligate. Because of the editorial that the Sacramento Bee posted and then pulled back that night after voters rejected the embrace of tax hikes as the solution to every problem in California. It showed with 1,000 percent precision what the Sacramento establishment thinks about Californians:
HEADLINE: “You did it! Uh, so what now?”
You wanted to show the state’s politicians just how mad you are at them. And you did. Boy, did you ever. … you’re sick and tired of all this political mumbo-jumbo. So you showed those politicians who’s in charge. You. You’re now officially in charge of a state that will be something like $25 billion in the hole for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
So, now that you’ve put those irksome politicians in their place, maybe it’s time to think about this: Since you’re in charge, exactly what do you intend to do about that pesky $25 billion hole in the budget?
The answer to every problem under the sun, you see, is higher taxes. And if you don’t agree, you are stupid.
What horrible collective past-life crimes have California residents committed to have karma this bad? We not only have a Sacramento media-political establishment that thinks the status quo is OK, it treats those who disagree with contempt.
Great, just great. I may buy a lotto ticket this week. If people like Dan Morain are helping shape the state’s future, buying lotto tickets suddenly seems a slightly more sane way to plan for retirement.