Wednesday, January 25

SCHWARZENEGGER'S BECOMING THE GOVERNOR HE REPLACED

You'd think Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's slip-sliding away from Republican principles of fiscal restraint and his political degeneration into a walking-talking facsimile of the big-spending democrat he replaced -- Gray Davis -- would be sufficient waywardness to draw the attention of right-of-center bloggers, but to date the silence has been deafening. I've commented to this effect previously. And back on January 8th I wrote:

Even the Left Coast's pre-eminently Left-leaning, MSM-propaganda mill, The Los Angeles Times, which vehemently opposed Arnold Schwarzenegger's ascendancy to the governorship of California in the 2003 recall election, now mocks him as a laughingstock for his all too transparent transmogrification this week into a spendthrift liberal democrat.

And rightfully so! Schwarzenegger is deserving of scorn. The man clearly has no core political beliefs. He is a political chameleon -- a proponent of expediency over principal. Reagan he is not. It didn't take long for California's powerful special interests to bend The Terminator to their will and extinguish his short-lived commitment to Republican principles of fiscal restraint and limited government. Pumping iron can transform the body, but not the heart.

The powerful public employees unions and well-entrenched, Democrats-dominated state bureaucracy have had their way with The Arnold, turning him into the kind of "Girlie Man" he claims to disdain. And if this capricious, self-serving shift to the Left effects his election to a second term, than no doubt Governor Schwarzenegger may well become for the Democratic Party the Zell Miller equivalent of 2008 -- i.e., the keynote speaker at the Democratic Party's national convention.

Now comes this piece on Schwarzenegger by Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee and I feel vindicated. Walters writes:

The irony of Davis' political undoing is being compounded three years later by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the bodybuilder-turned-actor to whom California voters turned on his promise of "action, action, action, action." As he begins his third year in the governorship, Schwarzenegger is retreating from confronting the Capitol's dysfunctional status quo and is, in a sense, channeling Davis.

Schwarzenegger's annual appearance Tuesday before the Sacramento Press Club was vintage Davis, advocating only policies that he knows will find favor with the voters (infrastructure investment), sidestepping questions on controversial issues (the Iraq war, assisted suicide) and paying homage to the legislative leaders he was trying to kneecap last year.

Schwarzenegger, it would appear, has convinced himself that avoiding risk and telling voters about the highways and other goodies he wants to deliver to them will overcome his less-than-stellar popularity and gain him another stint in the Capitol this year. "It is all about the quality of life," he told the Press Club as he pitched his plan to spend $222 billion on transportation, waterworks, schools and other public facilities over the next decade without raising taxes, while insisting, with a straight face, that "we won't win votes with this proposal."

And he comes to the key observation:

The governor clearly will bend almost any direction to please Democrats, but the more he caters to them, the more he alienates himself from Republicans, especially conservative Republicans, who are leery about massive spending of any kind and who are insisting that there should be reforms to streamline projects, the kinds of reforms that environmentalists and unions intensely oppose.

Conservatives are already complaining that Schwarzenegger is leaning too far to the left on spending. Some want to strip him of the Republican Party's re-election endorsement at next month's state convention, citing his appointment of long-time Democratic Party activist Susan Kennedy as his chief of staff.

So I continue to ask: why is the Republican governor of America's most populated state getting a pass from conservative bloggers?