In light of Californias gubernatorial race last week, there has been a lot of talk about what values the ideal Governor of California should embrace. Incumbent Gray Davis is hailed for his so called "liberal social values", whilst simultaneously frantically trying to cover up a non-debatable fiscal disaster.
By contrast the front runner-up Bill Simon is being blasted for his so called "social conservatism" yet no one is questioning his financial skills as a businessman.
It has been said that the ideal governor for CA would be someone that has the Social Values of Davis and the fiscal values of Bill Simon.
Is that a possible task? Isn't that to some degree an unattainable goal? Aren't the two concepts inextricably intertwined? To be socially liberal would be to promote (but not be limited to) such programs as increased funding for various social programs such as taxpayer funded health care for the poor, subsidized housing and living expenses, and so on. These are by definition undeniably "liberal" social programs.
Yet at the same time, they are a financial disaster. When a hard working, two income family with two children who have never relied on Government assistance cannot afford to buy a house, it makes it very difficult (from a financial, not a moral perspective) to justify such lavish handouts at the expense of the taxpayers. Especially during this period of economic underachievment and skyrocketing housing costs out in CA.
So in light of this recession, it would seem to make sense to curtail or outright eliminate such taxpayer funded programs-hence being fiscally conservative. But if anyone were to do that, then the voters-gettting what they wished for-fiscal responsibility-will suddenly turn against that person-for being socially "conservative", and vote him out of office.
And looking at the flip side, someone that is being socially "liberal" by handing out all of these social programs will be eaten alive for financial recklessness.
So in essence, it is a vicious cycle, a Catch-22. And the people of CA appear to be wishing for something that cannot be accomplished.
So perhaps some of you can clarify what you mean by "socially liberal" and "financially conservative".
And as a post script: Exactly how did the term "conservative" earn such a negative stigma?