In the course of a wide-ranging interview with the Los Angeles Times, California State Assembly speaker Karen Bass laments that her fellow Californians enjoy the right to vote, to speak, and to petition their government for the redress of grievances:
How do you think conservative talk radio has affected the Legislature's work?
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.
What Bass, a Democrat, calls "terrorist threats" against her Republican colleagues is what most Americans call the exercise of First Amendment rights. It's one of those outdated traditions in American politics that any drooling troglodyte can communicate his displeasure to elected representatives.
In fact, I understand that under federal and California law, Bass herself might be subject to "terrorist threats" from her own constituents, people like my friend Ezra, who enjoys the freedom to call her office and say, "You vote to cut spending on the Greater Los Angeles Area Pacific Islander Parade subsidy and county calligraphy budgets, and your career is over."
Now a charitable person, a very charitable person, might assume that Bass is referring only to talk radio hosts as "terrorists" here, and that she actually meant to make some incredibly inept argument for the return of the "fairness doctrine" in radio. Unfortunately Republican talk radio hosts also enjoy the right to engage in terrorism as Bass defines it. A less charitable person might say that Bass was referring to Republican voters, whom everyone knows are poorly educated and lack understanding of the importance of tax increases in an economic crisis, or something, and that …
No I'm stumped. There's no way to be charitable to Bass, the elected speaker of the California assembly, who just called voters who dare to complain to their representatives terrorists. Her statement positively drips with contempt for the rubes she was elected to serve. If only she could lock them up…
Well, maybe she can. Buried deeper in the interview is this fascinating tidbit.
I do think that some fundamental reforms need to take place. I would be concerned about a constitutional convention, only because, as I understand it, if you open that door up, all kinds of things can be put on the agenda, like [abortion rights]. While we're trying to solve this budget crisis, we are also figuring out how to launch reforms that would address some of it.
But why not hold a constitutional convention Ms. Bass? Sure, it might open up the door to things you don't like, but you're the California Assembly speaker. You're one of the most powerful people in the state. I'm sure you can finesse it, and get a brand-spanking new constitution which finally allows you to lock up those terrorists who dare to complain to the State.
And it would work too, if only it weren't for that meddling United States constitution.
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