Sunday, July 24, 2005

Schwarzenegger Blinks Again

Schwarzenegger insisted that California needed an expensive special election this November to pass some measures the Democrats were blocking. One of those iniatives would have privatized pensions of public workers and after it became public that spouses of firefighters and police officers would be deprived of death benefits, the ballot iniative was withdrawn.

Ahnie desperately wanted to redistrict California before the next election (presumeably to send more Repugs to Congress) but that measure was thrown out by a judge. There's not much left of his attempt to transfer power to the governor's office.

Sand kicked in face of strong-man governor:

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has relished the role of the fearless 'Terminator' armed for battle against an army of special interests, is suddenly looking more like Gulliver -- besieged, tied down, and overrun by his opponents.

And no wonder: After months of campaigning, fund raising and warning of a Nov. 8 special election he insisted was 'guaranteed,'' the governor's team blinked this week. Campaign adviser Mike Murphy floated a trial balloon -- most likely to gauge Democratic Party as much as voter reaction -- with Friday's public acknowledgement that Team Schwarzenegger has discussed the impossible: dumping the much-heralded special ballot altogether."

In areas like redistricting of legislative lines, and budget, he said firmly, "the governor is committed to fixing a broken system and will continue to fight for those reforms.''

But the official line from the governor's office hasn't diminished speculation over the possible effect on Schwarzenegger if the election is a no-go.

"How do you declare victory in defeat?'' is the first challenge the governor faces, said Bill Whalen, a Hoover Institution research fellow who has acted as an adviser to Schwarzenegger.

"What the Democrats have done here undeniably has been very effective,'' said Whalen. "They have attacked Schwarzenegger's policies; they have attacked his character, his ethics, his trustworthiness, and it has driven down his poll numbers.''

The question now for Democrats: "Is it smart politics to try to rub his face in the dirt? There's a risk for them in going too far ... and overplaying the hand.''

But veteran Democratic strategist Garry South said there's hardly an outpouring of pity for the GOP action-hero-turned-governor with this latest development. "He's gotten himself into this pickle," he said. "This was all about testosterone, and we'll have to see whether his glands outduel his brain on how to get out of this mess.''

Democratic consultant Gale Kaufman also seemed to be enjoying the governor's predicament. Strategy is limited, she said, when you're hanging on the side of a cliff.
They should either cancel that special election or we should use it to recall the Gropinator and elect a real governor.