I have just begun reading James K. Galbraith’s 2008 book, the Predator State. While he was writing mostly about the administration and policies of George W. Bush, what we seen now in California seems to me to be the death throes of a movement that has lost all pretense of relevance and is only holding on to the myths of a past era. The liturgy still demands that they chant “no new taxes” but no one is even reading their lips any more.
It makes sense to ask what the conservative economics, and by implication conservative politicians, have to say about any of our current concerns, as Galbraith did.
Do they have an alternative to our oil addiction, to imperial commitment, to global warming? No. Did they have a program of recovery for the city of New Orleans? No. Is there a realistic conservative plan for health care? No. There is merely opposition to everyone else’s ideas. Predator State p. 8
In giving lip service to the power of the market to guide us, they replaced oversight and regulation with winks and nods, instead of even experienced technocrats, they gave us cronies and lobbyists as regulators all under the guidance of California Republican Christopher Cox. We see the same playing out in the rhetoric of a Chuck Devore who is clearly using the current budget crisis for his own political advantage, hoping to secure a place on the ballot of a failing party.
The world of free market excess that coalesced behind Reagan and Thatcher was an experiment that failed. It has been abandoned by policy makers at all levels and is no longer given more liturgical reference by policy makers at any level. Stripped of political power around the world, led in Congress by a John Boehner who seems to be such good fodder for comedy that he attracted Dan Akroyd back to SNL, they cling to those last few enclaves in which they can have any influence. Unfortunately, the only place where that seems true in in Sacramento.
From my own conversations with my State Senator, it feels as if Maldonado is un-Abel to give up on the idea of a political career… it beats farming… and knows that he as to have a big list of victories to show Republicans if he has any hope of winning a primary battle for statewide office. I believe that his tendency would have been to settle this long ago but that he has not the courage to lay his political career on the line for the sake of anybody, or in this case, for the preservation of a functioning state government.
So, we are left with a true predator state, and a predatory Republican Party, cornered and lashing out with the only weapon left, the ability to vote NO. Such predators are dangerous as they could do much damage before they die.