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Opinion: How Much California Bashing Will We See at This Convention?

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    NORFOLK, VA - AUGUST 11: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (L) jokes with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) after announcing him as the "next PRESIDENT of the United States" during an event announcing him as his running mate in front of the USS Wisconsin August 11, 2012 in Norfolk, Virginia. Ryan, a seven term congressman, is Chairman of the House Budget Committee and provides a strong contrast to the Obama administration on fiscal policy. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    California, get ready for a pummeling.

    Yes, the main target of Republicans gathering for their national convention in Tampa will be President Obama and the Democrats. But there are indications that California will come in for more than its fair share of bashing.

    Citing California as an example of what the president's policies will produce has become a certified GOP talking point lately. There also have been a lot of nonsensical comparisons of California to Greece.

    In recent weeks, we've seen this bashing from any number of conservative commentators (led by George Will) and by former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Mitt Romney, this year's Republican presidential nominee, also took a half-hearted swing at the California-as-Greece line, in a throwaway joke that seemed to be a bit blow of proportion.

    This sort of thing is nonsense. California, as readers of this blog knows, has a profoundly broken governing system that makes it difficult for the state to adopt the policies it needs for a brighter future.

    But California also remains the country's biggest, richest state, leading the country in recent job creation figures. Most states would love to have almost all of our problems (all except the governance ones).

    And for the record, California's debt levels are a tiny fraction of those of Greece.

    None of these facts is likely to stop the Republican shots at California.

    So how to cope?

    Your blogger is a teetotaler, but if you are a drinker, you might want to play a drinking game in which you take a drink every time you hear California's name taken in vain. (I'll participate too, eating a Korean barbecue taco for each slur against our state).

    Perhaps the charitable among you could make a donation for every mention of California to a charity (perhaps something that benefits California's schools),

    Even though California will take its hits in this convention, don't get too upset. Things could be worse.

    Because Republicans have other rhetorical targets they like to bash more.

    Like Europe.

    Lead Prop Zero blogger Joe Mathews is California editor at Zocalo Public Square, a fellow at Arizona State University’s Center for Social Cohesion, and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (University of California, 2010).

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