In the op-ed piece titled, "A rising anti-government tide," Republican leader Newt Gingrich wrote last week about California's special election:
For those unfamiliar with the history of Newt Gingrich here is a quick lesson in what you are hearing. Newt Gingrich is a father of Republican nasty-talk. In 1990 Gingrich introduced a memo titled, "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control," advising Republicans to use certain words over and over, always describing opponents as "destructive," "incompetent," "greedy," etc., and always describing Republicans as "humane," "fair," "principled," etc. Please go read the memo and see for yourself. Gingrich's advice was to just insult and insult and be nasty and dirty up the discourse, and you will win elections. And, of course, that is what they did and they did win elections -- for a while. They are still nasty and just insult and insult, but they haven't been winning elections.
This vote is the second great signal that the American people are getting fed up with corrupt politicians, arrogant bureaucrats, greedy interests and incompetent, destructive government.
So, knowing that, take anything Gingrich says with a grain of salt. (Never mind that Gingrich is also known for committing adultery in a car in the parking garage of the U.S. Capital, with a much-younger Congressional aide while he was Speaker of the House, during the Republican effort to impeach President Clinton for adultery!) And ask yourself why any supposedly respectable news outlet would give him a platform to do the damage that he does.
But back to the subject-at-hand, whether voters really, as Gingrich claims, expressed an "anti-government" message last week? Does Gingrich have his facts right? Let's check a fact. Gingrich wrote, "This model of high-tax, big-spending inefficiency has already driven thousands of successful Californians out of the state..." But everyone who actually knows anything about California knows that the reason people leave the state is because of high real-estate prices. And the reason they are high is because so many people want to live here. Of course, the implication (because it coincides with another Republican talking point) is that businesses leave the state because of taxes. Studies that look at actual facts show this isn't true, either. Brian Leubitz on Friday wrote about this at Calitics,
Can any readers name even a single business that has left California because of taxes? If so, leave a comment.
He [Gingrich] highlights the Yacht Party theme that all these businesses are leaving California...except that they aren't. As noted by the CA Budget Project blog, the PPIC has shown that this really isn't true. PPIC event went so far as to say, in a report, that "it is important to be wary of anecdotal evidence of businesses fleeing the state to support arguments that California has an economic climate hostile to business."
Next: A look at the polls.
Click through to Speak Out California.