Freshman Congressman (and FlashReport blogger) Doug LaMalfa recently posted up on his Facebook page the video of State Senator Jim Nielsen taking his oath of office last week. I have embedded that video below — it runs shy of six minutes if you want to watch the entire clip. Senator Nielsen was afforded the courtesy, after being sworn in, to say a few words. Nielsen chose to take the opportunity to praise the institution of the State Senate, and spent his time talking about what he calls Senatorial courtesy. Nielsen defines this as, ”…how we treat each other and how we respect the institution in which we serve.”
Senator Nielsen, I’m afraid, will find that the courtesy about which he speaks has diminished since his previous service in the Senate (Nielsen served three terms in the Senate from 1978 – 1990). Senator Nielsen will find that no longer are handshakes binding — it is now commonplace for legislative deals made in one session to be unwound unilaterally in the very next session — by the very same people who made the deal in the first place. But then again, Nielsen knows this all too well. Here’s a link to a column I wrote last year, which actually contains a video excerpt of a floor speech by then-Assemblyman Nielsen lamenting this phenomenon.
Of course there are three other significant differences between the State Senate of 2013, and that of 1990 when Nielsen previously served. The first is the almost total control of the institution by the public employee unions who spend vast sums of money to elect their tools to the legislature (in many cases, like something out of The Matrix, the unions breed these legislators from a young age to fulfill this mission). The second is that the Democrats who dominate the Senate today, with rare exception, are hardline left-wing ideologues, intent on using the coercive powers of state government to grow the size and scope of state government, with a radical agenda of massive redistribution of property. Finally, consider the size of state government today, in 2013, versus a short 23 years ago. In 1990, the budget was $51.4 billion. Last week Governor Brown proposed a budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year of $97.4 billion (and if you include realignment dollars, that number balloons to $104 billion).
The pendulum has swung so far to the left in state government, in terms of tax policy, regulatory policy, environmental extremism and such, that the opportunity for collaboration and bipartisanship are virtually non-existent — at least for conservative like Jim Nielsen who was elected to reduce the role of state government, and seek to return some freedom and liberty back to the constituents that elected him.
Senator Nielsen is a gentlemen. There is no doubt about that. And there is no doubt that he will live by the golden rule — treating others the way that he expects to be treated. But we will quickly start to see floor speeches from the Senator, bemoaning the lack of Senatorial courtesy. He will find that much courtesy is afforded those that aide the agenda of the majority, but that there is little tolerance by the Senate Democrats for those that do not support their march towards socialism.
In closing, I hope that Senator Nielsen doesn’t choose to judge his Republican colleagues harshly, if they are strident and hard-hitting in their critiques of both the policies pushed by the majority party, as well as the tactics employed by the majority party. One can take only so much.