Not to throw cold water on things immediately, but I’m a little skeptical of Mark’s call for recalling the Governator.
Schwarzenegger 2.0 has turned out to be a much better Governor than I originally thought he would be. For the most part, this is due to his abandonment of Republican orthodoxy on a lot of things, most prominently climate change and health care. He’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but imagine the policy trajectory if either Gray Davis or Cruz Bustamante had been in the governor’s chair: one could easily imagine things being far, far worse. True: Davis signed far-reaching climate and health care bills in 2003, but this was only under threat of a recall and a desire to please the base. He never would have done this in normal political times. As for Bustamante, let’s not go there: the man is an irresponsible and probably corrupt political hack who repeatedly sold out his own constituents for major agribusiness interests.
Mark is unquestionably right to note Schwarzenegger’s irresponsible tax cut pledge in 2003. But it too easy to say that he lacks the “leadership skills and guts” to force through a tax increase. Under California budget rules, one simply can’t force through these things: they require a 2/3 vote of Legislature, and the toddler-based governing philosophy of the state GOP just won’t permit this. Instead, he has done precisely the best option since then: negotiate a pretty decent (although again far from perfect) health care package that relies on some tax increases (excuse me, fee increases) to increase accessibility. And he has been right to insist on an individual mandate.
Schwarzenegger seems to me to represent the reincarnation of old-fashioned Republican moderates that characterized the California GOP before it was twisted by Ronald Reagan. Unlike other so-called Republican moderates, he is actually doing things on the environment and health care. I’m quite skeptical of the Democrats producing someone who would do more. Angelides would have been a far better Governor, but, well, he lost the election. We’d probably wind up with a moral cretin like Dianne Feinstein. I’ll stick with Arnold, thanks.