Note to Register Opinion Writers: Democrats are Pro-Freedom too

Late last year, I had an interesting exchange on LinkedIn of all places with someone from the Register trying to entice me into subscribing to the paper citing all the new changes.  But when it comes to the editorial pages now run by Brian Calle, there is little change.

The Register peeps insisted there was a daily liberal column in the Register’s editorial pages (yet still no regular local liberal columnist or national liberal columnist), and you could make an argument that the occasional Nick Berardino column or the once in a blue moon Reader Rebuttal from someone like Larry Agran means the Register’s opinion pages are somewaht more politically diverse than the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal or the LA Times is …well, laughable.  I mean I completely understand why the new Irvine Republican City Council dumped the Great Park PR firm last week — who needs them when Frank Mickadeit will write glowingly of Steven Choi’s religious convictions or Jeff Lalloway’s sense of humor for free?

When it came to 2012 election endorsements, the Register’s endorsed candidates won 61 percent of the time.  Great if you’re a baseball player, but lousy if you shoot free throws.  If it was a college course, the Register gets an F.  They endorsed one Democrat who was elected.  One.  Orange Mayor Tita Smith, because her Republican opponent was a disgrace.

Then there’s this signed confession that the Register’s editorial pages has the cure for the funk the statewide GOP is in.  From the editorial:

On these pages, we’ve argued that, instead of becoming more liberal – a strategy that rarely gets politicians elected anyway – the GOP needs to embrace a different bundle of issues. It shouldn’t become a “me too” party that stands for nothing distinctive from what the other party is offering, but instead should become more freedom-focused, economically and civilly.

That means embracing a set of principled limited-government ideas across the board. We’ve always found it hypocritical that Republicans would preach smaller government even as they call for a stepped up drug war and government intervention in private matters such as same-sex marriage.

We might need to accept the simple fact that most California voters have reason not to trust Republicans and that the process of winning them over to a generally right-of-center agenda will take years of painstaking work. That important work begins with an invigorated, freedom-friendly agenda and new leaders committed to principles over politics.

I’m been a Democrat for more than 20 years after being a Republican for eight.  I can’t remember the Democrats being a “anti-freedom party.”  Is freedom a good thing?  Yes it is.  Is anyone here against the idea of more freedom?  Not that I can see.

How does the Register define freedom?  The amount of taxes you pay?  The role of government in our lives?  Nations like Sweden and Norway have high income taxes and the government provides things like free education and free healthcare, and these economies thrive and the people in these nations are consistently among the happiest in the world.  Crime is low and their society is quite progressive.

Being a liberal, a progressive, or a Democrat doesn’t make anyone anti-freedom.  For the Register’s editorial board to imply that Republicans should be pro-freedom as a way to win back voters means that Democrats are somehow anti-freedom.  We think the Register ought to eat its own dog food here and provide some freedom on their editorial pages to those of us with a center left point of view.  When it comes to liberals opinions in OC, the Register’s editorial pages are oppressive and frankly unfair.

Bill Clinton was routinely criticized by the Register in print, yet he shrunk the federal government to its smallest size since the Kennedy administration.  For all the complaints about the Democrats in the Irvine City Council, the number of city employees handling a population that expanded from 140,000 residents to over 200,000 from 2000 to 2010 (apples to apples, no Great Park numbers used) was less than when the Republicans were in charge up until 2000.  The Progressive Majority operated a smaller government while expanding services to city residents, all without increasing taxes.

Yet, the Register editorialists are still stuck on “…Democratic policies, which typically involve expanding the size and scope of government.”  Big corporations are people, but unions shouldn’t participate in politics.  The Register’s editorialists want minimum government intrusion.  Lax government oversight helped Enron screw over ratepayers in the Western states.  Lax government oversight caused Wall Street to bring the world economy to the brink of collapse in 2008.  Lax energy inspections led to a huge oil leak that polluted the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.  And the Register’s big concern — big government.  The federal government grew Under Republican Presidents Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, G.W. Bush, and shrunk under Democratic President’s Clinton and Obama.  Look it up.

So guys (no women write for the editorial page as far as I know), please understand Democrats are pro-freedom.  It’s a wonderful gift.  To suggest Democrats are not pro-freedom or that Republicans should be more pro-freedom because Democrats are anti-freedom just means you need to do more homework.

There are more than 500,000 registered Democrats in OC alone.  And Democrats have a sizable advantage in this state.  There’s a new chairman of the Democratic Party in OC.  And an outgoing one.  Pick up the phone and ask them if they’re against freedom. I dare you.

And all this chatter about freedom reminds me of a joke: if fire fighters fight fires and crime fighters fight crime, what do freedom fighters fight?  Indeed.

  3 comments for “Note to Register Opinion Writers: Democrats are Pro-Freedom too

  1. RHackett
    January 16, 2013 at 3:44 am

    Good post Dan.

    The OC Register is a mouthpiece for the local GOP.

    For a group that claims to worship the free market they are obviously tone deaf to the changes in their market and are seeing the consequences of that philosophy.

    I would ask the new publisher given the mantra of free market worshippers (even though the market hasn’t been free since the inception of the US Patent Office) is to adapt or die.

    Is the OC Register (like the GOP) adapting or dying?

  2. Howard Be My Name
    January 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    A few years ago I was working with a few people who were concerned about a particular law that was being considered in California. We were getting people to write letters against the law, which would have been unfair to people of modest means. While working with these nice people I discovered that all but one was a Democrat.

    One of the other people politely asked the Republican (a woman) the reason for her party registration. Her response: “Because I believe in freedom.”

    She was unable to elucidate further. She had simply been told one time that “Democrats don’t believe in freedom” and she believed it.

    The bill, by the way, failed. But every single Republican in the California legislature voted in favor of it. As far as I know, our Republican acquaintance never saw the irony and is still a registered Republican.

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    January 17, 2013 at 11:11 am

    does anyone believe the Register’s editorial pages are more editorially diverse than the NY Times, LA Times or WSJ? Who is their national liberal columnist? There is none. Who is their local liberal columnist? Kevin O’Leary has contributed a couple of columns but he’s a contributor. How about a full time lefty columnist on payroll?

    Sorry Brian, you have a long way to go.

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