By JONATHAN J. COOPER, Associated Press
SACRAMENTO >> Democrats control every lever of power in California state government, and free from worrying about major losses to Republicans, they’re training fire instead on each other.
The latest example is a recall effort against Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, a strong progressive now targeted by party activists upset that he derailed a bill seeking government-funded health care for all.
Rendon is not strong enough as a progressive. Apparently, he is too establishment for most of the Bernie-crats who have taken over the California Democratic Party. Former Chairman John Burton could not shout "F--- You" loud enough to get rid of them.
The Rendon recall comes as the California Democratic Party contends with a protracted leadership battle that is as much about donors and messaging as it is about ideals. It follows a contentious battle among environmentalists over the state’s cap-and-trade law to fight climate change, which some thought was too deferential to oil companies.
The Cap and Trade bill was cronyism at its worst, so much so that leftists were calling me urging me to work with them to defeat this terrible piece of legislation. What made it worse, of course, was that 8 Republicans in Sacramento voted for this abortive, perverse piece of legislation.
While Democrats in liberal California feud with Washington and proudly cast themselves as a foil to Republican President Donald Trump, they’re far from united at home.
For Rendon, the backlash began after he sidelined the bill, SB562, which looked to eliminate insurance companies in California and make state government the “single-payer” for health care services.
He had a few reasons for pushing aside SB 562:
1. The state cannot afford it, even if they taxed everyone at 100%
2. Big Pharma and the other major medical firms don't want it.
3. His assembly Democratic caucus signalled to him that they did not want to vote for it.
Too many compelling reasons to sit on that bill. Rendon threw himself on a grenade, supposedly. Now we all know even more why the California Democrats rushed through
An image quickly made the rounds on social media showing an altered version of California’s flag: Instead of a grizzly bear walking on all fours, it showed the beast standing on its hind legs, a knife in its back, with “Rendon” printed on the blade.
A few days later, hundreds of activists filled the Capitol rotunda outside Rendon’s office, their chants echoing throughout the building.
They also threatened his life as well as the lives of other Assembly and State Senate Democrats who did not vote for this bill--or who did not want to vote for it.
Rendon said he supports single-payer health care in concept, but that SB562 was “woefully incomplete.” The measure lacked key details about how a single-payer system would function, including a plan to raise the estimated $400 billion it would cost.
It was woefully complete. Once again, the Democratic Party is taking their grassroots supporters for a ride. Senators Ricardo Lara and Tony Atkins never intended for anything to become real. They just passed the legislation to rally more political power and support to their own individual causes.
Here's what's happening for next year:
1. Ricardo Lara is running for Insurance Commissioner. He needs the Nurses' Unions and all the other Big Labor supporters and their money to back him up.
2. Toni Atkins wants to be the next State Senate Pro Tem since Kevin de Leon is termed out and is running for Lieutenant Governor. She is lining up all the major donors to ensure her victory, just as she pushed out former State Senator Marty Block last year, when it looked as though a Democratic battle royale
“We’re going to continue to hold him and all other politicians accountable for their actions,” said Don Nielsen, government relations director for the California Nurses Association. “This is too important an issue.”
Goveronment relations director for a government union: what could go wrong? Perhaps, just perhaps some of the Democrats in Sacramento will join with Republicans like me who want to end the chokehold of Big Labor on our wallets and the levers of government. Just maybe ...
The nursing union, which made the altered flag image, was the driving force behind the single-payer bill and its ascendance as a rallying cry for progressive activists, but Nielsen said the group is not working on the Rendon recall effort. The union’s focus is now on meeting with Democratic lawmakers and urging them to pressure Rendon to move the bill forward, he said.
Yeah, sure, whatever you say ...
Rendon declined to comment for this story. His spokesman, Kevin Liao, pointed to a variety of legislation that’s passed on the speaker’s watch, including a $15 minimum wage, an expansion of the state’s Medi-Cal program to provide health insurance coverage for children in the country illegally, gun control legislation and tobacco restrictions.
Kevin Liao is a shill who worked for Covered California. Check it out here on his LinkedIn profile.
“Those are real progressive accomplishments that have improved Californians’ lives and grown the economy,” Liao said.
The $15 forced wage hike is pushing entry-level workers into unemployment.The expansion of Medic-Cal for illegal aliens is not helping our economy. In fact, it's another leg of the redistributionist scheme draining the public coffers. Gun control legislation is not progressive at all--but is regressive.
It’s unclear if the recall organizers will be able to mount a serious challenge to Rendon, who has more than $1 million in his campaign accounts and in three elections has never gotten less than 69 percent of the vote. Steve Elzie, one of the organizers, said it’s a grassroots effort without big funders. The organizers must collect more than 20,000 signatures from Rendon’s district to hold a recall election.
20,000 should not be that hard to collect, considering that single-payer adherents have almost a cult-life faith in government-run health care.
“There’s a lot of economic issues that go into it. The fact that Democrats are not fighting on these issues, I think people have taken notice,” Elzie said.
Rendon represents a mostly working-class district south of Los Angeles. Quiet and reserved, he stands out in the state capital of Sacramento in large part for his absence from public spectacles.
"Working-class" might become "unemployed-class", since Rendon's "progressive" policies are pushing businesses into bankruptcy and workers out of work. Rendon represents some of the worst-run, most run-down cities in California and the United States, and he has nothing to stay for his abject disregard for these communities, either.
In contrast to the Senate leader, Kevin de Leon, Rendon does not hold frequent news conferences or comment on the news of the day. He rose to power largely by promising to delegate it to committee chairs and others in his party.
LOL! This is the same guy who threw Rudy Salas out of a chairmanship because Salas kept his promise to his Bakersfield-area constituents not to raise taxes. Sure, Tony, sure, whatever you say ...
The pressure on Rendon reflects a broader rift among California Democrats that escalated with last year’s primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. It has further intensified this summer as activists aligned with Sanders push the party to abandon deep-pocketed donors and take a more aggressive stance against the establishment.
"Weekend at Bernie" Sanders influence on the Democratic Party has gotten worse, not better. Can you imagine someone who preached the Gospel of Poverty living like a One-Percenter Himself? Bernie does. The Gospel of Redistribution is not good news at all, but bad news along every line. It's time to wake up young and old and tell them to reject this socialized-medicine cabal. It does not work, it never will work, and it's power of the state taken from the individual authority of individual consumers.
Kimberly Ellis, who narrowly lost her insurgent bid for Democratic chair to longtime party insider Eric Bauman, has showed no signs of abandoning her quest to shake up the party leadership.
Good for her. She and her supporters demanded a review of the ballots. They actually agitated for voter ID! How about that?!
The Democratic tension is “almost to be expected” for those who have been around to see the cycles in politics, said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a longtime political observer and a public policy professor at University of Southern California.
This is the same lady that got into a verbal tussle with me. She denied that voter fraud had anything do with Darrel Issa's close election or Hillary Clinton's enormous voter edge.
“That’s what’s going on with the Republican Party in Washington and the Democratic Party in Sacramento,” Jeffe said.
A few differences ... Donald Trump has overrun the crony-Big Business-Big Labor phalanx which has attacked working Americans and stacked the legislative deck in their own favor.
Protracted internal conflict could fatigue party activists and depress fundraising, both of which could make it harder for Democrats running in close legislative or congressional races, Jeffe said. But it won’t give Republicans an opening to win statewide.
I wonder about that. Perhaps Republicans should not strive for any openings at this time. After all, haven't we been through enough? It might be more worth our while to sit back and watch "The Democracy" fall apart than try to fight the imploding, regressive self-destruction.
At this time, I am not sure what we can do about the Democrat v. Democrat rivalry. Bebitch Jeffe is clearly liberal, but I don't know how to confront the argument that Republicans can't make much out of the growing divide eating away at the Democratic Party.
It's getting worse for Republicans, too. All of us took over the district office of an Assemblyman who voted for the abortive Cap and Trade legislation. California Republican leaders are not taking any kind of lead or leadership to denounce Cheating Chad Mayes and the other Republicans who stabbed all of us in the back.
Let's hope that grassroots Republicans, all 25% of us, will decide to do something--anything!