It looks as if Schwarzenegger, like Bush, having run as a moderate plans to govern as an extremist. (You really have to wonder how often this bait-and-switch deal is going to work.)
Yes, his environment secretary is actually an environmentalist, but everything else is straight from the Wilson-Reagan playbook. He kept the worst of his campaign promises: rolling back the car tax so as to put California even more squarely behind the fiscal eight-ball. And he used the threat of a divisive referendum campaign to bully the legislature into helping him keep the second-worst,
(The repeal was presented as a compromise, with Schwarzenegger promising to “consider” similar legislation next year if it had provisions for criminal background checks, but I’m prepared to bet he welsches on that deal, too; at least, it’s clear he told the supporters of repeal one story and the supporters of the original bill another. The notion that this is about “terrorism” really doesn’t pass the giggle test, but that sort of shamelessness is old news.)
But the promise about not touching education, which obviously couldn’t have been seriously intended, has already gone by the boards. And the list of budget cuts seems to have been made by the Grinch: my four favorites so far are tightening up on food stamps. which doesn’t even save the state any money. cutting off home services to the aged, blind, and disabled, closing the rolls for aid to the developmentally disabled, and reducing fees for the doctors who treat MediCal patients. The next round of cuts is going to be deeper, and even tougher to make.
So far, he’s letting the University of California off relatively lightly, as I argued he should earlier in this space, and in this op-ed in the Sacramento Bee. Being nice the UC is consistent with a program that’s basically about shafting the poor; while UC is indeed an important gateway to the middle class for lots of kids whose parents didn’t go to college, it’s also one of the services most prized by the upper third of California’s income distribution.