Political Animal


October 26, 2012 10:22 AM The Drum Line

By Ed Kilgore

Last week I did a post offering some thoughts on California ballot initiatives, which have a way of influencing developments beyond the Golden State. But today I see my esteemed predecessor here at PA, Kevin Drum, is offering a full-service recommendation list for his fellow Californians on the 11 initiatives on this year’s statewide ballots.

I voted (by mail) last weekend, and though I normally don’t like to disclose the contents of my secret ballot (and won’t when it comes to candidate races), I have to say: I was unknowingly following the Drum Line on all eleven initiatives. And this is not an indication of some partisan or ideological groupthink: in at least two or three cases Kevin and I are probably breaking ranks with most California progressives.

If you don’t live here it’s probably hard to grasp how totally initiative campaigns dominate California politics. With the exception of a very competitive county supervisor’s race, initiatives are the only ballot items drawing television ads here in the Monterey Peninsula. And the big tax initiatives—Props. 30 and 38—will probably have a more profound effect on what happens in state government next year than the identity of the governor and state legislators. So I’m grateful for the Drum Line, which you’ll find informative even if you don’t march to his cadence.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Gandalf on October 26, 2012 10:46 AM:

    It's realy a shame when someone like you, who is supposed to be informed , votes on some kind of knee jerk basis. Could you please explain to me how it could possibly be bad to know whether your buying food that's been genetically modified. The idea of simply labeling the food as such seems to work well in quite a number of other countries.

  • Russell Sadler on October 26, 2012 10:47 AM:

    Good and generous advice for your CA readers, Ed.

  • Fess on October 26, 2012 11:15 AM:

    Thanks for the link. Since we don't hear the ads on TV (DVR) or radio (NPR), we sometimes miss info that could be useful, like Drum's take on Prop.38. We can't even find anything useful in local newspapers any more as Doug Manchester has taken over all the San Diego & Riverside Newspapers and is working on Orange and LA Counties.

    Gandalf, that's kind of an over reaction to the GM food issue. Drum explained his reasoning and I don't think he's being paid off by Monsanto to say so. I don't agree with him, but I also don't think "knee jerk" is an accurate description. I just think he needs to think the whole question through a little further.

  • Robb on October 26, 2012 11:20 AM:

    i'm in Michigan,so I get it.

    I wish we would get a little mor attention (boo hoo)
    We have initiatives ofgreat importance:

    Props 5 and 6 that will straightjacket our budget in ways California already knows.
    Prop 2 to make collective bargaining a constitutional right.

  • danimal on October 26, 2012 11:26 AM:

    Californians--it's ok to vote yes on Prop 30 AND Prop 38. Either one passing will solve the decade-long budget crisis and save our schools.

  • Shantyhag on October 26, 2012 11:45 AM:

    The only one I disagreed with him on was 37. As a restaurant owner who shies away from using GMO's, I'd like to see a lot more information available to the consumer.

    The sad fact is, the opposition has out-raised money on this by something like four times, pouring more than 30 million dollars into defeating labeling requirements. It's gone from being favored by 2-1 to a dead heat.

  • TCinLA on October 26, 2012 1:09 PM:

    Vote Yes on 37 and KILL Monsanto. Anything that harms a corporation is Good.

  • bdop4 on October 26, 2012 1:27 PM:

    Other than Prop. 37 (I'm for it), I'm in agreement with Ed and Kevin on the other propositions.

    With regard to Prop. 37, more disclosure is rarely a bad thing and the alleged costs claimed by the opposition are ridiculous. We shouldn't label GMOs because we don't label pesticide use? That's backasswards.