Joel Kotkin is normally a sunny optimist, but when the subject of California comes up he becomes scathing. His latest column compares Jerry Brown et al. to the nomenklatura of another failed one-party leftist state.
When Jerry Brown was elected governor for a third time in 2010, there was widespread hope that he would repair the state’s crumbling and dysfunctional political edifice. But instead of becoming a Californian Mikhail Gorbachev, he has turned out to be something more resembling Konstantin Chernenko or Yuri Andropov, an aged hegemon desperately trying to save a dying system.
As with the old party bosses in Russia, Brown’s distinct lack of courage has only worsened California’s lurch toward fiscal and economic disaster. Yet as the budget woes worsen, other Californians, including some Democrats, are beginning to recognize the need for perestroika in the Golden State. This was most evident in the overwhelming vote last week in two key cities, San Diegoand San Jose, to reform public employee pensions, a huge reversal after decades of ever more expansive public union power in the state.
More recently, the governor showed his own inner Stalinist by jettisoning his original more modest tax increase proposal for a more radical teachers’ union measure that would raise California’s income tax to the highest in the nation.
I'm surprised Kotkin didn't invoke Leonid Brezhnev as he was the caretaker ruler presiding over true communist stagnation. Also Kotkin offers no predictions as to who will fill the Vladimir Ivashko role. Finally, sshhhhh, no one tell Kotkin that Gorbachev was a communist, too, and a failed reformer.
We don't need perestroika around here. We should be looking for the man on the tank.