This week's topic: What do you think about a Meg Whitman for Governor candidacy in 2014? -- Ed.
Lund's Punch: Overall, it is way too early to be talking about 2014. Our state is going to have serious choices to make in the next few years if we are going to survive. Budget cuts, layoffs and the debate over new taxes and fees will certainly keep Governor-elect Jerry Brown occupied.
If Meg Whitman believes that the state's direction in 2014 would warrant her return to politics, then she should move forward. My belief is that she and the other Republican candidates for statewide offices will have a lot to show for themselves, since Democrats are basically one vote in each legislative house away from two-thirds control of California.
These next few years will be either the Democrats' greatest success or worst failure in terms of government. They will have nobody else to blame for bad budgets, high unemployment, higher taxes or anything else. That will determine who runs in 2014..
Friberg's Punch: After spending a personal fortune unparalleled in U.S. politics, Meg Whitman still lost by more than 10 points. Her failed candidacy reveals the flaws in the California Republican party as a whole. The Republican Party is far too conservative to govern but is not forced to moderate because of favorable rules in the legislature.
The two-thirds requirement to pass a budget and revenue increases in the state legislature have allowed Republicans to thwart Democratic policy goals while remaining right-wing ideologues. Getting rid of both requirements would force the Republican Party to moderate (if they had any hopes of gaining seats and exercising power) and actually develop a plan for governance besides maintaining tax loopholes for giant corporations and the wealthiest Californians. As a Democrat, I’d love to see Whitman Part II. As a Californian, I’d rather see the Republican Party forced to become relevant and to offer up real solutions.
Lund's Counterpunch: I am always amused when Democrats try to say that Republicans should “moderate.” I disagree that Whitman is a “right-wing ideologue” as well. In fact, I don’t think that California has ever had a “right-wing” Republican governor.
The two-thirds requirement on tax and fee increases is the only thing that keeps Democrats in check in California. If anything, it is the way to force Democrats to “moderate” their excessive spending and government expansion.
Friberg's Counterpunch: Andrew, you’d be right if Democrats actually controlled two-thirds of the legislature, but they don’t. A two-thirds vote is still required to raise revenue. The fact is that crucial services will be cut because there isn’t enough money in state coffers. We need a system where legislative majorities can actually pass laws without the veto of a small legislative minority. If Californian’s don’t like the result, they can elect someone else.
Aaron Friberg, the president of the San Diego County Young Democrats, graduated UCLA Law in May 2009 and will begin as an associate attorney of Latham & Watkins LLP in the fall
Andrew Lund is the president of the San Diego Young Republicans