Thursday, October 14, 2010

Exciting new ideas in disenfranchisement!

During the 1980's, a popular meme was that the left has no new ideas and the right was the ideology moving forward. Of course, the main idea of the right is very old.

"We hate government. If you let us run government, we promise you will soon hate it as much as we do."

I suppose when you have an idea as catchy as that one, you really don't need new ideas. Most of the weirdest ideas from the Tea Party crowd are obvious variations on that theme.

Where can we find exciting new ideas? Why, Hollywood, of course!

Enter Pat Sajak, deep thinker, connoisseur of ceramic dogs, every bit as good at math as Vanna White is good at spelling, which is to say he can read numbers off a teleprompter. Writing in the National Review Online, Pat puts forward the exciting new plan to take the vote away from public employees. After all, public employees want to keep being paid, so doesn't that mean they have a conflict of interest whenever an issue would mean less revenue is taken in?

To be fair to Mr. Sajak, he doesn't want to take my entire right to vote away. He doesn't want to put public employees in the same boat with ex-felons. He just thinks the 240,000 people like me who are California state employees shouldn't vote on measures where we have our livelihoods at stake. I expect he feels the same way about local government employees voting on local bond measures. Extend that to everyone who cashes a government check that isn't federal and we are talking about millions of people across the country.

As a public employee, lemme 'splain, Pat. I don't have a conflict of interest. I have an interest. You have an opposing interest, an interest in paying as little in taxes as you possibly can. You are right that it's easier to win an argument when you don't let the other side speak, but here's the chance of this little ploy gaining traction. Zero. Even if this nonsense got on the ballot somewhere AND more than 50% of voters thought it sounded like a good idea, the courts would kill it. You don't get to take away people's citizenship rights just because they work for the government.

I first heard about this over on the progressive website Talking Points Memo. Most of the commenters went with jokes that were some variations on "Pat, I like to buy a _____." Instead of ending with a gag, I'll end with a brag. This is yet another moment when I'm proud to say I won my money on Jeopardy! and not on your crap show, Pat.

You should stick with the prize packages. This "thinking for a living" gig is harder than it looks.


Peregrin said...

People who work in entertainment shouldn't vote in any measure that would affect their livelihood either. If you drive a car you shouldn't vote on emissions laws. If you pay taxes you shouldn't vote on tax bills.

What a tool

Peregrin said...

If you are a woman, you can't vote on an abortion issue.

Oh, right, they already want that one.

Anne said...

And if you've got children, you can't vote on issues involving children; if you're sick (or healthy) you can't vote on healthcare; if you're a taxpayer you can't vote on tax issues. Oh, and what Peregrin said.

Matty Boy said...

California had a disenfranchisement ballot measure that passed back in 1997, the "Right to Vote on Taxes" act. This measure makes a special election for any local tax increase. If it's a property tax, only property owners get a vote. Even more fun, the property owner doesn't even have to be a citizen of the country, and instead of being one man, one vote, it's one piece of property, one vote.

Foreign slumlords, come to California! Exciting opportunities await, and you do not even have to renounce your citizenship to whatever alien power, friend or foe, you swear your allegiance.

See, Pat? Now THAT'S what I call disenfranchisement!