Could Charlie Sheen be the political leader that Californians have been waiting for?
I ask that only because a majority of Californians -- including our political elites and many good government groups -- believe that this state's broken governing system doesn't need big, constitutional, structural reforms. They believe that we simply have weak politicians, unwilling to do what's right and make the change. They believe that there are bigger, stronger personalities that can overcome all the structural impediments and just make things so.
If you read this blog regularly, you know where I come down: there is no such Superman out there who can fix all our problems.
But now, after watching Charlie Sheen's recent rants, I doubt myself a little bit. Maybe Californians and their leaders are right. Superman has announced himself.
Consider some of Charlie Sheen's recent statements, and put them in the California budget and governing context:
“The last time I took drugs I probably took more that anyone could survive. I was banging seven gram rocks because that’s how I roll, I have one speed, go. I have a different constitution, a different brain, a different heart. I got tiger blood man.”
When you have a leader with tiger blood, why bother with constitutional reform? As Sheen notes, he has a whole different constitution right within him. Plus, a guy with tiger blood can probably just suspend all the spending mandates and super-majorities that make it impossible to balance the state budget. Or at least he can do this in his mind.
“It’s a metaphor for having absolute rocket fuel in my veins. When it comes to getting focused and delivering things in a way…”
One problem with our governing system is that we're stuck, with interest groups and partisans able to tie our governing system in knots and delay action in all kinds of policy areas where California needs to take decisive steps. Pointy-headed journalists like me might argue that you need to change how the state is governed, but perhaps it's possible to just elect a Charlie Sheen with "absolute rocket fuel in my veins." Don't stand too close to him so you don't catch fire.
"I closed my eyes and made it so with the power of my mind, and unlearned 22 years of fiction."
It wasn't clear to me what Sheen was talking about here, but it's probably a reference to Prop 98, the state's education funding guarantee approved by voters a little more than 22 years ago. Prop 98 has been terrible for education because it sets a ceiling for school funding and is so incomprehensible that political leaders don't know how to manage it. But Sheen closed his eyes and clearly understands it.
So when voters and leaders and good government types claim there are people out there who really know better and think more clearly than the politicians we've got, please don't be cynical like I've been. Let's remind ourselves that there are people who know they are smarter than the rest of us, people like Charlie Sheen.
Of course, there may be a few remaining skeptics out there. People who will say things like: to believe that a superman can govern us in this system, you would have to be on as many drugs as Charlie Sheen is.
But it's better just to ignore those skeptics and believe in Sheen.