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California Could be Election’s Biggest Loser


If Democrats take control of Congress next Tuesday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi will be the first Californian to be Speaker of the House. But winning the Speakership may come at a cost for the Golden State.

Although California has only 20 Republicans among its 53 members of the House, they hold five of the most important committee chairmanships – including Rules, Appropriations, Armed Services and Resources. Californians decide everything from who gets federal money to which bills get to the floor of the House.

Should Democrats take control of Congress, California will lose these five chairmen, while picking up two.

Beverly Hills’ Henry Waxman would take over Government Accountability, which gives him subpoena power and governs the United States’ Postal Service. So when Waxman isn’t investigating President Bush, maybe Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman can follow up on the plaudits given to UCLA basketball coach John Wooden by naming a post office after Karl Dorrell.

More important than committee chairmanships, however, will be the shift in power within both the Democratic and Republican Parties should Pelosi become speaker. While geography does not always translate well into ideology, it is clear that the Democratic victories needed to change the House and Senate from Red to Blue will change the nature of both caucuses.

Democrats can only win Congress by knocking off moderate Republicans in liberal districts, like Christopher Shays, Nancy Johnson and Senator Lincoln Chafee and, at the same time, elect conservative, Southern members of their own party.

While the Republican House delegation becomes even more conservative, Speaker Pelosi would be forced to cater to the needs and whims of the likes Religious Liberals of Heath Shuler – who’s running in western North Carolina on a God-and-Butter campaign that is out-of-step with the majority of Democrats.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be more politically attractive to many California Democrats than this corps of neo-religious liberals, but for the (R) after his name.

California, if it can be described politically, is a moderately “Progressive libertarian” state. We want the Government out of our personal lives and out of our pocketbooks. With a Democratic Congress whose majority relies on catering to Religious Liberals, we’d get exactly the opposite.

Share  Posted by Scott Olin Schmidt at 12:48 PM | Permalink

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