“Money is the root of all evil” goes the old saying. When it comes to politics in California, the biggest player and advocate of evil on the Republican side of the aisle is Charles Munger. Munger has decided to spend much of his vast fortune in an attempt to remake the California Republican Party as the Democrat Light Party. Munger clearly hates Conservatives—especially social ones—and wants the state GOP to be a secular group that embraces the power of government. He is for California what George Soros has been for Democrats on the national stage. If you look at Munger’s spending, it is clear that his main enemy is Conservative Republicans. Given the choice of defeating Democrats or Conservatives in his own party, he will fund the moderate Republican over the Conservative every time. He frequently avoids opportunities to defeat Democrats in seats that could be won by Republicans.
Munger’s win/loss record has not been that great in Assembly and Senate races but he has done better at the ballot initiatives. He is largely responsible for the top two primary in California. He is also one of the backers behind Prop 32. Given the mischief that can be traced to Munger, Aaron Park is rightly suspicious of Prop 32. Park wrote recently on his blog, “Passing Prop 32 would effectively eliminate the free speech of labor unions and corporations – thereby enabling powerful individuals with deep pockets to buy elections with no counterweight.” http://www.rightondaily.com/tag/no-on-prop-32/
I respectfully disagree with Mr. Park. While I am no fan of Munger, I must say that the public employee unions in California are a greater threat to liberty than Munger. I will attempt to explain some of my reasons for holding this position.
In the book of Samuel, after David killed Goliath the people shouted “Saul has killed his thousands and David his tens of thousands”. As I see it, Munger has spent his millions and the public employee unions their hundreds of millions. Recently the Sacramento Bee ran an article that unions representing state employees collects 10.5 million dollars a month in dues. The largest public employee union is the California Teachers Association and they collect more. It is likely that public employee unions in California are collecting over $25 million per month in taxpayer funds. Supposedly only a fraction of this amount is spent on political activity. Advocacy to members and lobbying in Sacramento do not count as political activity in the union world. Much of this political advocacy is instead called member communications. When they tell members or legislators how to vote, in my world that is political activity.
Doing the math for union influence in California goes like this. Public employee unions in our state are collecting more than $25 million dollars a month in dues. Elections are on a two year cycle; so 24 months times $25 million per month is $600 million per election cycle. Is it any wonder that these unions own everything in the state?
If Prop 32 passes, Unions would be crippled but not shutdown. Unions claim that only one to two percent of the dues collected go to political purposes. We all know this is a lie. By parsing the words, unions do not count most of their political activity as political activity. Instead they call it member communications. Lobbying legislation is also not counted as political activity. If this initiative passes unions would be forced to open their books to show members and taxpayers where all the public money goes that they have collected. This transparency is the last thing that they want but it will be the logical result of passage. Also folks like me that have money forcibly take out of our checks even though we don’t belong to the union will finally have the choice not to fund people and causes that they find morally objectionable.
California’s Prop 32 is Wisconsin light. While 85 percent of Wisconsin folks opted out of compulsory union dues for political purposes, I think the number in California that choose to remain in the system will be much higher. The funding of PACs and 527s will not be affected by this initiative.
A second line of argument against Park’s claim and in favor of 32 is that in the wake of the top two primary, party identification of candidates is not as important. This is especially true with the Republicans. The state party is broke and has been for many years. Their endorsement is almost meaningless. They have no money to help candidates or spend on their behalf. They are just a pass thru organization to funnel money to candidates by exploiting loopholes in existing campaign contribution laws. Nothing on our side of the aisle will change much.
If Munger wants to be king of the hill in our party so what? I can’t imagine a more inefficient use of money in California politics. Republicans are on the verge of going below the status of even being called the loyal opposition. We are functionally irrelevant to the political process. Elected officials in the party will only help Munger as long as the money flows. We have a name for folks like that … and you thought that was only legal in Nevada? At this stage in the decline of the Republican Party, donors will get more bang for their buck in supporting ballot measures than candidates. In the initiative arena, Munger has lots of company; he is not a lone actor as Park makes it sound.
Proverbs 13:22 promises that “the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous”. How this works is a mystery but I know that God is in charge of this world and is bringing his will to pass. He is using folks like Soros and Munger for his purposes. Mostly this purpose appears to be judgment for not obeying Him. If you look at Munger’s spending it is clear to me that his problem is not with Conservatives it is ultimately with God. I have comfort in the fact that he will fail at anything he does that is not for the glory of God.
Being a Conservative Republican in California is much like wandering in the wilderness for forty years without Moses to guide us. All we are left with is griping, complaining and fighting amongst ourselves. I don’t think much will change for the better until the current generation (i.e. baby-boomers) have gone to their eternal reward. As long as a majority of people look to government to provide their needs, our future will be filled with more tyranny and less liberty. If passage of Prop 32 can slow the trip down the road to serfdom then I count that a small victory and worth my vote.