William Endicott, former deputy managing editor of The Sacramento Bee, thinks the problem with California legislators is their “Let the people decide” attitude. In a recent op-ed, Mr. Endicott argued that the initiative process allows politicians to shirk their responsibilities, to let decisions be made by voters at the ballot box.
It’s an awfully convoluted notion: to make legislators actually do their jobs, citizens must back away and give those known to shirk their responsibilities a monopoly on legislative power.
Funny, in Congress and in the 26 states where voters lack the initiative, politicians happen to be shirking their responsibilities like it’s going out of style. There’s just not as much voters can do about it.
But Endicott’s argument doesn’t really concern legislators at all. It is about the voters of California, who have (to paraphrase him) ruined everything.
He writes: “Outcomes too often have been decided not by reasoned debate but by emotional appeals, mind-numbing and misleading television commercials and direct mail, all of which do more to confuse than to enlighten.”
So Endicott looks for legislators to “crack down on signature gatherers” and “make it more difficult to qualify a measure.”
In other words, democracy was swell, but that new-fangled TV is too much for gullible voters. Let’s hit the kill switch on direct democracy and put all our hope in our brainy, courageous legislators.
In other words, Californians: Shut up and pay your taxes.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.