This LA Times article about Governor Schwarzenegger describes the Governor's grab bag of policies and concludes (based on analysis from a respected Political Scientist) that Schwarzenegger is socially liberal and fiscally conservative. However, I read the story (combined with other things I know about the Governor) and came to nearly the opposite conclusion. Schwarzenegger is socially conservative/populist and fiscally liberal. Here is why I think that.
Indicative Schwarzenegger social policy positions:
1) Anti-equality re: marriage for homosexuals
2) Pro-vigilante re: illegal immigration in the desert
3) Refusal to repeal recent tax cuts (this is often seen as exclusively "fiscal" policy but really tax code structure is a social policy too)
4) Education at all levels is cut heavily (K-12, community colleges, Cal State system and UC system)
Indicative Schwarzenegger fiscal policy positions:
1) Budgets are not balanced but are made to appear so by heavy borrowing
2) Spending on favored constituencies goes up despite little demonstrable benefit to broader society (I'm talking about the governor's slavish devotion to the Prison Guards Union and the prison industry)
3) Refusal to repeal recent tax cuts (to the extent that they affect revenue, they are fiscal policy).
Schwarzenegger frequently claims to be a leader that transcends partisan identity. "I represent all the people" or "What California needs is a single strong leader for all the people" or similar comments are common from the governor. These are NOT encouraging. Such claims to personalized legitimacy is the foundation of populist/fascist ideologies not democratic politics. Corporatist populism is a common ideological position in Austria. Schwarzenegger fits in that tradition far more than he fits with the socially liberal Californians who just want their budget balanced!
Comments? Alternative Perspectives?
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 7:19 AM