Curious about Mickey Kaus's Senate campaign, we checked in this afternoon with the FutureOfCapitalism.com California bureau, who said that the neo-liberal blogger's candidacy has so far attracted little attention from the mainstream press, which Mr. Kaus has mocked -- "alienated," is the word the California bureau used. More serious, the bureau chief said, is the candidacy of Carly Fiorina, the former high-tech executive who is running as a Republican. Ms. Fiorina's "Demon Sheep" YouTube commerical (embedded above) against "Fiscal Conservative In Name Only" Tom Campbell has gone viral, the bureau chief reported. But the big news in California is less the Senate race than the quietly brewing talk of secession -- or, as the Silicon Valley types much prefer to call it, a spinoff.
Not only are California's high income citizens being milked by progressive taxation to support the rest of America, but coal-rich states like West Virginia and Ohio are hampering the state from pushing a low-carbon (wind, solar) economy, and nativists outside of California are preventing the state from running a pro-immigrant, pro-growth policy on green cards. Not to mention that California is under-represented in the Senate, with just two senators for all those Californians -- the same number as states with much smaller populations. Or so the argument goes, so far as I could follow the description of it from the California bureau. First it was Vermont, now California. Not to mention Rick Perry's victory this week in the Texas gubernatorial primary after warning that Texas may get so fed up that it wants to secede. The California bureau recommends reading Harvard economics professor Alberto Alesina on The Size of Nations.
Secession has a bad name for us in the North because of the Civil War and the horrors of slavery, but the American Revolution was a secession from Great Britain, after all. "Spinoff" avoids all the Civil War connotations. As Thomas Friedman paraphrased one Silicon Valley chief executive as putting it, the Obama Team is "very good at listening to Silicon Valley," but "not so good at responding."