California Dreaming

California Dreaming

by digby

New Rule: Conservatives who love to brag about American exceptionalism must come here to California, and see it in person. And then they should be afraid -- very afraid. Because while the rest of the country is beset by stories of right-wing takeovers in places like North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin, California is going in the opposite direction and creating the kind of modern, liberal nation the country as a whole can only dream about. And not only can't the rest of the country stop us -- we're going to drag you along with us.

It wasn't that long ago that pundits were calling California a failed state and saying it was ungovernable. But in 2010, when other states were busy electing whatever Tea Partier claimed to hate government the most, we elected a guy who actually liked it, Jerry Brown.

Since then, everything Republicans say can't or won't work -- gun control, immigration reform, high-speed rail -- California is making work. And everything conservatives claim will unravel the fabric of our society -- universal healthcare, higher taxes on the rich, gay marriage, medical marijuana -- has only made California stronger. And all we had to do to accomplish that was vote out every single Republican. Without a Republican governor and without a legislature being cock-blocked by Republicans, a $27 billion deficit was turned into a surplus, continuing the proud American tradition of Republicans blowing a huge hole in the budget and then Democrats coming in and cleaning it up.(Read .... on)

That can't be right. It's a dystopian hellscape filled with shallow people who only care about themselves (well, except for that liberal thing.) Nobody would ever want to live here.

Well unless you like nice cities and small towns, great weather, great beaches, mountains and deserts and a lot of really, really good food, especially mexican food --- and lots of Mexicans! And despite the allegedly Stalinist, conformist nature of liberalism people are quite free here to be as individualistic as they choose, which is oddly what the liberty loving right hates most about us. They call us fruits and nuts and get mad because we eat vegetables.

The truth is that it's very far from perfect here. It's not as if the Democrats in Sacramento, including Jerry Brown, are free from conflict and corruption. But for the most part, they aren't insane which makes a huge difference when you're trying to drag yourself out of a hole created by greedheads and kooks in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis. Just denying lunatics the power to create chaos is enough to allow for some modest government actions to turn the ship of state a few degrees toward normal. Lord knows they could have done more. But Maher is correct that we were able to at least keep the state from completely melting down by refusing to empower this right wing freakshow.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating and our pudding tastes a lot better than it did a few years ago. Unfortunately, our national government will very likely be held hostage by the far right in the House for quite a long time to come with no hope of changing it. These fanatics have basically walled themselves off in gerrymandered districts with only FOX and Rush to keep them company and they're determined to hunker down and outlast the rest of us. Who knows what chaos they'll leave in their wake when this is all done?