Did I miss a memo? When did "whore" become an insult in California politics?

Without whores, this state would have no system of government.

The logic of prostitution is the central organizing principle of the California budget.
What do I mean?

In a normal, healthy democracy (that is NOT California), interest groups each year compete to be the prettiest girl at the budget dance. They make arguments for their favored programs and try to win the love of the lawmakers who handle budget decisions. Ultimately, there are trade offs. Some programs win the most money; others are left alone on the edge of the dance floor.

Not in California, where such romance and love are dead.

Here interest groups construct ballot measures and initiatives that carve out particular guarantees for their programs. The winners in such system are those that have the strongest supermajorities and legal protections for their particular priorities. Think of the education community with Prop 98, or the stem cell research folks with Prop 71, or the local government and transportation lobbies, which have two-thirds vote protections for some of their funds.

Which is to say: the winners in California’s system are whores. The most powerful groups don’t have to bother with romancing legislators or winning the love of the public. They don’t want to be loved.

They want to be paid.