Debra J. Saunders

As for GOP lawmakers, they are a creepy collection of feckless throwbacks who are unable to check the Democrats' profligacy. They can't stop the spending spree, but they do manage to prevent any attempt to raise revenue to pay for new spending. Schwarzenegger has so little to do with GOP lawmakers, noted Democratic political consultant Andrew Acosta last week, that "he could bump into them in the hallway and not recognize them."

These are the geeks who sip punch in the dark corners around the dance floor as Schwarzenegger and the Dems make music together. Then again, Sacramento Republicans must figure that they don't have to kill bad bills when time will do the dirty work for them.

Consider the passage of Assembly Bill 32 -- which allows Sacramento to look as though the state will make sweeping reforms to curb global warming. The measure's passage made the front page of The New York Times because it offers an opportunity to make California look more committed to taking on greenhouse gas pollution than the Bush administration.

Don't kid yourself. This measure is fated to go the way of the California Air Resources Board vote in 1990. Remember: By 1998, 2 percent of all cars sold in the state would have to produce zero-emissions -- and the board looked even more serious by raising the bar to 10 percent by 2003. Newspapers lauded that bill as "historic" and the "toughest" in the nation, too, but you don't see a whole lot of electric cars on the road, do you?

Don't tell me that Democrats oppose faith-based initiatives -- not when they put the Kyoto global-warming pact and AB32 on their environmental altar.

I find myself questioning whether term limits have let state lawmakers off the hook. Term limits make it easy for Schwarzenegger to sign a bill that promises a 25 percent cut in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020 -- he won't be in state office then.

Term limits also remove an incentive for Sacramento to pass a balanced budget. When the governor and lawmakers can kick the problem down the road for a few years -- and let those who are governing six or eight years from now clean up the mess they make today -- it becomes very easy to overspend.

Imagine how many hot fudge sundaes you would eat if you knew that someone else would be stuck wearing your calories.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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