For the entire week, the front page of my hometown newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, has been devoted to two major stories: Gov. Arnold Schwarzennegger’s special election initiatives and the opening of the European front in the war between the West and militant Islam.
The Chronicle reporters haven’t yet referred to the growing insurrection in Europe as part of any war. For them, the attackers are out-of-work disaffected “youth.” Nevertheless, it is the stories that surround this moment in California’s history and the French insurrection that also contain a common theme and a related threat.
Even though we in California are in a permanent and worsening fiscal crisis, Schwarzenegger’s entire agenda, which is aimed at fiscal reform went down to defeat. (He championed four measures—74, which would lengthen the time it would take for public school teachers to get tenure; 75, which protected union members from the unions garnishing wages without their consent; 76, which would allow the governor powers to limit spending in a fiscal shortfall; and 77, which striped from politicians the power to draw their own districts.)
As Tom Campbell, the governor’s director of finance, puts it, “We have nothing in the Budget Stabilization Account, and we’ve almost exhausted our existing authority to borrow.” Translated, this means that California, the largest state in the union, is running out of banks that will lend to it. And since we can’t meet payroll, this is a problem.
Parenthetically, the city of San Francisco passed two measures that at once make me embarrassed and ashamed that I live in its vicinity (I live in a small enclave, Piedmont, in the hills across the bay, east of the city.)
While they watched the disarmed French citizenry helplessly standing by as their property was nightly being torched by Muslim terrorists, San Franciscans went to the polls and passed Measure H, which not only bans the sale and manufacture of hand guns but makes it illegal to keep handguns in homes and businesses—a measure passed by those who have lost their basic instinct for survival. They also passed Measure I, which discourages military recruitment on high school and college campuses in the City. While young soldiers are dying to preserve these San Franciscans’ freedom, I feel a profound sense of shame.
The consensus among California’s print and talk radio pundits on the right is that Schwarzenegger’s handlers made many small tactical errors, such as not countering attacks sooner. But his major strategic errors were first that he attempted to work with the Democrats, who never had any intention to compromise with him, and second, after two years of time wasted, he opened a four-front war, which brought out every entrenched interest group in the state against him.
The punditry on the left, such as the Chronicle’s editorial board stated in their lead editorial, “The Voters Strike Back,” that Arnold’s mistake was in calling the California legislators, “girlie men” and “stooges.” And moreover, contended the editors, he now needs to get to work on “…building relationships and bipartisan coalitions to address the state’s pressing challenges.”
For those who wish to see the state rescued from the out-of-control spending by special interests and an attendant fall into economic chaos, there was one positive aspect to the otherwise bleak election blowout.
Primarily financed by private-sector and public-employee unions, the opposition was so afraid of the governor’s initiatives, that they spent $150 million to defeat them. (Schwarzenegger spent $7 million of his own money on the campaign.) This had to be a pyrrhic victory for his enemies.
The California Teachers Association even mortgaged its headquarters building and will no doubt need to raise its members’ dues to meet expenses including the new loan obligations. This no doubt will sow some dissention in the ranks of the California left. And moreover, one has to wonder how the unions can again raise like sums of money if Schwarzenegger continues to press for his reforms and make them part of his reelection campaign.
And herein lies the great unknown. What will he do? Will he go on offense and take his message to the voters but this time more forcefully? Or will he continue the endless and fruitless negotiations with his enemies while they steer the state onto the shoals of financial ruin and blame him for the shipwreck?
I spoke to Jon Fleishman, founder and publisher of the Flash Report, the leading website focused on California politics, and asked him what he saw as the downside of this election for the State.
“Well, there was a recent AP story about Nissan Corporation which decided to relocate their [U.S.] headquarters out of Southern California to Tennessee, taking, I think it was, 8,000 jobs out of state,” Fleishman said. “And this is a decision that was made before the election. You know, the fact that so many businesses were giving money to the governor’s efforts, shows that they (the California business community) thought his efforts were critical. Now that he’s failed, what it may mean is that those same businesses will resort to more extreme measures to keep there business profitable.”
“Such as leaving the State?” I asked.
“Of course,” Fleishman responded. “When companies give up their most precious commodity, their capital, for that nebulous world of politics, it shows that they have been pushed to a point where the government is interfering with their ability to run their companies.”
While the Muslim youth in France are waging jihad, their demand follows the Palestinian model. They demand separate autonomous regions inside France, governed by them and by sharia law. Published in 1997, in what many believe is a very prescient book, Samuel Huntington begins The Clash of Civilizations, with the following passage:
On October 16, 1994, in Los Angeles, 70,000 people marched beneath a sea of Mexican flags protesting Proposition 187, a referendum that would deny state benefits to illegal immigrants and their children. Why are they marching with Mexican flags demanding this country give them a free education,” an observer asked. Two weeks later more marchers did carry the American flag-upside down…
California also has a growing separatist movement within its borders. There is a growing movement within a population of radicalized Hispanics and hostile illegals who believe that the American Southwest is rightfully part of Mexico.
In Europe, the land that the Muslims seek to reclaim, they call Andalusia. It refers to Spain, Portugal, and Southern France. Those European lands once conquered by Islam they believe must be returned to Islamic rule. The American Southwest for La Raza is rightfully Mexican and is called Azatlan.
In short, as the California left makes the political environment more and more hostile for business due to excessive regulations and taxes, companies such a Bank of America will continue to depart, leaving a vacuum that is increasing filled by Hispanic people whose first and only language is Spanish and who have no reason to consider themselves American.
Dan Stein, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) puts it this way: “The bottom line, is that, in order to control territory, you have to populate it with people who are loyal to the national enterprise. And when you have loyal citizens leaving a portion of the country [as have several million Californians recently] and ceding it to people whose primary loyalty is to a foreign [bordering] power, by definition, over time, that land will eventually come under the control of that other country.”
Victor Davis Hanson also warns in his new book, Mexifornia, we are losing the culture war because there are simply too many forces both within and outside the Hispanic American community that have vested interests in discouraging Mexican assimilation. He and Dan Stein also point out, the U.S. has never had to absorb so large a group of immigrants who are not only unwilling to assimilate but that have also come here with a prior territorial claim.
In summary, as we contemplate the current perilous position of the French, it is vital to realize that they too thought that they could import vast numbers of cheap laborers and remain indifferent to their assimilation while at the same time creating a hostile environment for capital formation. Bad government can and usually does have very dire consequences.