Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, January 20, 2006

A "Benedict" Arnold?

Gov. Schwarzenegger ruffled a lot of Republican party feathers at the end of November, 2005, when--after Californians resoundingly defeated every one of his right-wing "reform" propositions--Gov. Schwarzenegger hired Susan Kennedy to be his Chief of Staff. Kennedy is a former executive director of the Democratic party, a former Gov. Davis cabinet secretary, an abortion-rights activist, and (perhaps most irritating of all to conservatives) a proud lesbian. Furthermore, two months earlier, Gov. Schwarzenegger's wife Maria Shriver had hired Daniel Zingale to be her chief of staff--another former Davis cabinet secretary, Democratic political activist, and (believe it or not) he's gay too.

On top of all that, Gov. Schwarzenegger in is now calling for a massive state infrastructure investment program of $222 billion over 10 years (over $100 billion in new spending!) including $70 Billion in new bond debt. Some die-hard conservatives have had enough. A group of Republican activists, including a former state party chairman, has called on the Republican party not to endorse Arnold for re-election at its annual meeting in San Jose next month.

Though that effort will almost surely fail, one has to ask... what's up with Arnold? Were there no qualified Republicans he could tap for his chief of staff? Did he make some deal with the Democrats in the legislature, for which this appointment is partial payment? Did he lose a bet? Or could he be positioning himself to run as an Independent--or even a Democrat? Any thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Arnold Schwarzenegger's sole agenda is reelection. To get reelected in California he needs to look like a Democrat. Republicans are upset about that but tough cookies.

The real question isn't what will Republicans think. The real question is will any Democrats be convinced that Schwarzenegger has really changed his stripes? I for one believe this is a pure election ploy and not substantive positions that he really believes in. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

I am surprised the Republicans haven't funded and organized another recall drive. If Gray Davis was so damn bad, why hire his staffers?

I agree with RBR. I am too cynical to place faith in the terminator. Besides, he'd have to do more than make a speech and authorize one big project to prove he is "democrat".

But it is worth noting that Republicans in California are not cute from the same cloth as those from say the South. They aren't as conservative at heart. But if they bleat out the same stances on the high-visability issues like gay marriage and the Pledge as the GOP, they insure their funding. 

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

The problem with Republicans like those in California is that even if they believe in more moderate positions when it comes time to vote for important things like leadership, oversight investigations, independent investigations, supreme court nominations etc, they vote exactly the way the Southern Republicans tell them to.

That might be less of a problem in the case of a foreign born governor with no hope of being elected to higher office. But I just don't think of Schwarzenegger as a deep thinking policy wonk. He adopts policies because advisors tell him they'll get him votes - that's it.

I might start changing my mind about him if he starts renouncing previous stands like his praise of the border vigilante groups etc. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

US West said...

I have to make a slight correction to my previous comment: he did announce more than one big project. He actually announced several, including support for an increase in minimum wage.

My overall feeling, however, is that he ran as a Republican to counter Gray Davis, and he was sort of a squishy Republican, the type that might stand a shot at actually getting elected in the state. And now, he is shifting over to a more liberal stance as if he had some sort of dramatic conversion. Either, as RBR indicates, he doesn't have much sense of political identity, or he is a pure opportunist. Remember, aside from his democratic staffers (safely homosexual so you can't call him out for sexual harrassment) he is married to a child of the Kennedys. Perhaps his wife has gotten to him.

Anonymous said...

We should not forget the far right wing positions Schwarzenegger took on immigration to pander to the far right. Since being elected, Schwarzenegger has been all over the political map. At this moment he thinks LOOKING like a Democrat helps him. But as soon as the votes are counted, he'll jump to the far right if it serves his purposes.

Democrats must not be fooled by this fool. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

Schwarzenegger arrived and surprised me with his political ability. His star power, or whatever it was, cowed the unions. The UC system folded like a cheap umbrella, cutting a deal on cutting their funding behind the back of the Dems in the legislature... who were going to fight for more. Same with K-12 education and the Cal States. He got his deficit bond passed, and so forth. Initially, he was unstoppable.

Then he just stopped himself. He brought right-wingers with supply-side ideas, and decided that no tax no tax no tax was to be the mantra. He pissed off the nurses by messing with their new work rules. Then he welched on his deal with education. Nobody would work with Arnie anymore. So he appealed "over the heads" of everyone to the voters. The voters saw just a few hackneyed isolated ideas, some very mean-spirited (make new teachers, whom we desperately need, have to work harder to get tenure than those already there). It went down in flames. It didn't help, either, that the Dems in the legislature handed Arnie a gay marriage bill, which he initially said (in 2003, when that was viewed as impossible) that he would sign it, but backed away from that lickety split.

He's turned out to be a man with no real ideas and no vision for the future. Just a showman trying to please the crowd, as he has been his whole life. But the muscles are sagging with age. In the end, the only "reform" he seems to have brought with him is much more debt than Gray Davis could even have dreamed of racking up. California government is broken. It doesn't need a band-aid or a movie star. It doesn't need a goddamned accountant like Angelides who thinks he can fiddle with the books, do things like reduce growth to 2% rather than 4% of programs he won't otherwise analyze -- basically a more boring version of Gray Davis, if you can believe that.

We need Big Ideas. Big Vision. I guess people subliminally thought a bodybuilder would be all about Big Things. Too bad. 

// posted by LTG

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