Thursday, March 31, 2005

D.U.I.

That's Decision-making Under the Influence.

The Washington Post's David Broder takes a rather uninspired look at California's redistricting reform efforts noting a lack of vocal California-based opposition (MOC's being the loud voices of dissent harkening from the east). The article notes Speaker Nunez's caveated support - he agrees neutral is better, but continues to disagree with the timing (as do we. If it's before 2010, vote no).

Most eye-catching, however, was Broder's calling California the "largest and most influential of the 50 states."

Are we?

I know we're the biggest, population-wise. By far. (And really, until we've got that budget thing figured out, no matter how fair-weathered our Rose Parade, if you non-Californians could not move here for awhile, that'd be great. Oh, but keep spending your tourism dollars here. That's cool.)

What about influence? What kind of influence? Electorally speaking, we got nuthin'. We keep changing the primary date, but still nuthin'. Some argue California - in particular, San Francisco's Gavin Newsome - influenced the presidential race this year in all the wrong ways (depending on your point of view).

Certainly, California has been the incubator of sweeping cultural-political reforms: populist tools, environmentalism, Full House.

It might be true that no one ever feels influential, even when they are. California should be the Union's 800 pound gorilla - but nationally, are we too much of a foregone conclusion to matter?

Or do we think about it at all - happy here in our sundrenched glory, our world's-5th-largest economy giving us world class entertainment and fresh sprouts, content to engage or ignore Washington, New York, and the dominant east so long as it lets us be?

As former Speaker Herb Wesson once said more elegantly than I'll paraphrase him here: the winds in this country blow from west to east - but how fast, and what do they carry?

Do you feel influential?

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