Prop Zero
The Starting Point for Commentary and Coverage of California Politics

Blame Game: Republicans Rewrite History

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    NEWSLETTERS

    If the contest is about sheer volume of partisan nonsense, it would be hard to beat California Republican Party chairman Tom Del Beccaro's piece in the San Francisco Chronicle.

    His argument -- if you can call it that -- is that California's Democrats have failed to "reform" with the same boldness as Democrats in New York and New Jersey.

    And Democrats have a duty to fix California because this state, according to Del Beccaro, has been "dominated by Democrats for years."

    Maybe Tom means dog years.

    Democrats have been the dominant party in California for all of six months.

    Yes, the party has held the legislature for most of the past three decades. But Republicans have controlled the governor's office.

    Since Californians seem to have the memory of the Guy Pearce character in the film "Memento," who can't remember anything more than a few minutes, the GOP held the governorship for the past seven years, all the way until early January of this year.

    Thinking more long term, a Republican has been in the governor's office for 23 of the last 28 years. And if you want to be truly historical, those "dominant" Democrats have held the most powerful position in California politics for just 25 of the last 112 years.

    But set aside that history. Del Beccaro's real crime is misleading the public and his party about how we got into this mess -- and about the nature of the problem itself.

    California's predicament is not that one party is out of control. It's that no party and no politician can gain control.

    Over decades, Californians have constructed a giant, complicated governing system that can't be managed. It doesn't matter which party is power; this system, with all its budget formulas, is in charge.

    And if you're interested in blame, the honest answer is: Republicans, Democrats, independents, the legislature, governors and voters themselves all built the system through their decisions.

    So everyone is to blame.

    Del Beccaro is still new to his job; it's not too late for him to pivot and show some leadership by leveling with Californians and his party.