Wanted: A Loyal Opposition

At the core of this advice from the “School of the Obvious” is that the GOP must get more votes. However to accomplish this they are told that they need to act more like Democrats. If all that counts is being elected — and getting the salary and the perks that go with it — then what the advice really boils down to is that everyone should just re-register as Democrats.

One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that most of this free advice being given to Republican office holders is not coming from those who believe in the values of smaller more efficient government individual liberty free markets and protection of property rights.

Now the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is non-partisan; one third of the membership is comprised of Democrats. If California Democrats were the party that valued fiscal responsibility and reasonable taxation it is a good bet that that would be the political party most HJTA members would prefer. However the current crop of Sacramento Democrats leans toward confiscatory taxation and profligate spending and because they totally control the Legislature and every state constitutional office in the coming months we will see the results of the implementation of this approach to governing.

So here is some slightly different advice to Republican officials and to centrist Democrats who do not share their leadership’s more radical views. Consider the words of the Roman politician Seneca that remain valid after two millennia: Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

In a short time Californians will see the results of taxing and spending on steroids. If the result is prosperity jobs and an increase in the standard of living for all residents there will be great joy all across the state. Republicans — and moderate Democrats who have warned against the excesses of single party rule — may have no more influence than they do now but they will at least be respected if they have shown the courage of their convictions and joined the debate on the best way to move the state forward.

However if the basic laws of economics which tend to be as immutable as the law of gravity prevail it is more likely that California will decline or we will continue to lag behind the rest of the nation. Thus in the 2014 elections those who now advocate policies that would allow the private sector to prosper and provide jobs will likely be called upon to go to Sacramento and pick up the pieces.

So GOP lawmakers who will soon be called upon to support taxes in order to be relevant would do well instead of going along to get along to proudly take on the role of the loyal opposition. If Democrat leaders continue to push regulations and taxes that further damage the well-being of average Californians the minority representatives have an obligation to speak up and provide alternatives — and not be embarrassed to on some occasions just say "no."

Speaking up is the key. Those who sit on their haunches or wallow in self-pity over their minority status will be held just as accountable for negative outcomes as will the majority party. The message that government should work with rather than against average folks to provide opportunity and prosperity for all must be carried loud and clear to every voter throughout the state.

If the current regime proves to be unsuccessful in providing a better life for Californians then the loyal opposition must be prepared to step forward and rescue us. If those in the minority work hard now what success they achieve in the future will not be because they were lucky; it will be because they deserve it.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.