The idea that unions are a bad influence on California is hardly just a conclusion of folks on the right. In 2005, the Los Angeles Times endorsed Prop. 75, saying barring the automatic deduction of union dues from public employees’ pay would lead to a fairer balance of power at the local and state government level. The Sacramento Bee editorial page has gone after unions for being unreasonable for years; here’s a recent example. Unions are so out of control that it barely raises eyebrows when union officials and allies like state Dem Party leader John Burton advocate a policy that would prevent giving anti-convulsion drugs to kids at risk of death if the person doing the giving isn’t a union nurse. But guess who completely absolves unions? The Calbuzz boys, whose writing style/shtick builds off the idea that they’re smarter than everybody, and the L.A. Times’ George Skelton, dean of Sacramento journos. Really, guys? Not a single mention of unions in your recent dissections of California’s dysfunction? Not one? Wow.
On Monday, the Occupy movement plans its grandest, most vapid action yet: attempting to shut down 11 West Coast ports from San Diego to Anchorage. Those who will be hurt by this are overwhelmingly workers, many without college educations, who have managed to find middle-class work outside the office cubicle. The timing is terrible, too, during the busy holiday season and just after some ports have been on a hiring spree. But Occupyers don’t care. They’ve concluded this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part, and they’re just the fools to do it.
The pepper-spraying of the passive UC Davis students last month was a stomach-turning abuse of police authority, which I think is far more common than most Americans believe. Cellphone videos turn up daily showing people with authority acting badly, and the UC Davis cops deserve strong punishment. That said, the proliferation of investigations into an incident that was caught on tape and that involved a handful of officers and their bosses has become a self-parody of the labored, bureaucratic way that liberal institutions fall all over themselves to send out the loudest possible message: We care about this very very much and we’re just going to keep throwing money and resources at this until you understand we care about this very very much!
On Nov. 22, I offered a very specific critique of the Calbuzz boys. I gave ‘em their due — they’re about the best, most entertaining writers in the Cali online politics world — but said this should be below them: their “shrill insistence that Republican and public disappointment and anger with Obama are driven by ugly motives, not genuine dismay over the course of the nation. … It’s possible to look at the world and not presume one side is the good guys and the other side has no good guys, just naifs and racists and partisans.” Today, they responded.
Back at my old blog, I had fun going back and forth with the Calbuzz guys. They were simply better writers than anyone else on their side of the political aisle, and funny, too. I read them every day. But something about the broad conclusion reached by tens of millions of Americans that Barack Obama has been a mediocre president or worse has driven them around the bend. This translates all the time into the argument that amounts to, “If he’s unpopular, his critics are bad people.” Really? It’s that simple, huh? They’re all driven by rotten motives, not their honest perception of the state of America after nearly three years of this administration?