The Threat of Democracy

Published on July 2nd, 2009

California Speaker Karen Bass calls voter outrage “terrorism”

By Mark Cromer

I read the lines several times, letting the words of California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass sink in:

“The Republicans were essentially threatened and terrorized against voting for revenue. Now [some] are facing recalls. They operate under a terrorist threat: ‘You vote for revenue and your career is over.’ I don’t know why we allow that kind of terrorism to exist. I guess it’s about free speech, but it’s extremely unfair.”

It wasn’t that a black liberal Democrat was ostensibly coming to the aid of white conservative Republicans that had me riveted, but rather that one of the most powerful elected officials in the state casually declared the often turbulent tide of voter angst and populist participation to be, in a word: “terrorism.”

That enlightening quote from Bass was published Saturday by the Los Angeles Times amid a cotton candy interview that was conducted by veteran Times columnist Patt Morrison, who apparently didn’t feel the state speaker’s transparent euphemisms like “revenue” instead of taxes or her toxic assessment of voter “terrorism” deserved to be confronted and challenged.

It is just this sort of absurd hyperbole from Bass and the ‘look-the-other-way’ pass she will receive from most of the media that feeds the alarmism that is now rampant throughout conservative America today; especially the daily panic attacks on many cable television and talk radio shows that insist the broadcast networks and the national broadsheets have effectively become a “state-run media.”

Her comments again reveal the absolute brazen confidence that Sacramento’s professional political class now have when voicing their abject contempt for a citizenry that dares to defy them; whether its on illegal immigration or raising taxes (which most folks call taxes, not “revenue”) or just voicing their disgust with an overcrowded state and the corpulent bureaucrats that run it.

No, Bass didn’t think twice about equating tax-revolting California voters with a suicide bomber detonating slaughter in a Tel Aviv pizzeria, or with hijackers flying jumbo jets into sky scrappers—and she meant it. That’s what she thinks of the sweeping majority of voters that trashed the politicos’ plans to raise taxes in a special election last month.

While her remarks are stunning on their face, the truly chilling aspect of Bass’s viewpoint was her only semi-rhetorical question “I don’t know why we allow that kind of terrorism to exist?” She half ponders that perhaps it might have something to do with free speech, but her sentiment is crystal clear: given her druthers she would prefer to crush voter backlash, i.e. not allow it to exist. (Note to Bass: you may want to cable the honchos in Tehran and ask how that’s working out for them.)

But why did Bass feel free to be so candid in her disdain?

Bass represents the 47th District, which includes the Westside of Los Angeles, an upscale lefty bastion where good liberals dutifully festoon their Volvos with Obama stickers but would rather send their children to a private academy in Siberia before they set foot in the public schools that have long been the laboratory for their own social engineering.

In short, Bass could stage a press conference and call for the midnight arrest and summary execution of everyone opposed to ending Prop. 13’s tax relief and she would likely be met with applause in her home district and, of course, a glowing endorsement by the Los Angeles Times, which would undoubtedly hail her demands as “bold and imaginative.”

As California faces its moment of reckoning in a fiscal meltdown that is likely to forever change the Golden State—and perhaps in ways not yet imagined—Bass probably should be thanked for her gleeful candor.

Caustic insult aside, it is another searing reminder of just how California plunged off the cliff, and who was at the wheel.

Mark Cromer is a senior writing fellow at Californians for Population Stabilization.

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