Tuesday, January 10

WHY IS SCHWARZENEGGER GETTING A PASS?

Maybe I need to go to the sink and throw some cold water on my face. Here's the Los Angeles Times -- the MSM's bastion of liberal bias on the Left Coast -- doing what center-right and right-of-center bloggers should be doing, but are seemingly refusing to do: namely, challenging California Governor Arnold Scwarzenegger's planned strategic spending spree to rebuild the Golden State's infrastructure at a time when California is still reeling from the big government spending and near-bankruptcy deficits of the Gray Davis era.

As the LAT follows up its coverage of Governor Schwarzenegger's recent "State of the State" address, its staff writer Evan Halper observes:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a crusader for fiscal restraint since he was elected two years ago, will unveil a budget today that would trigger billions of dollars in new spending well into the future.

The governor plans to increase funding for education, healthcare and transportation programs. Much of it is spending that the state would continue to be responsible for in future years.

Schwarzenegger's spending plan comes at the same time he is proposing — independent of his budget — to bring before voters $68 billion in new borrowing to improve the state's roads, bridges, ports and levees over the next 10 years. Californians would need to begin paying for that by the end of next year.

It all comes as California's $115.7-billion budget remains chronically imbalanced and as the state is expected to lose billions of dollars in federal aid over the next several years. Even without the governor's new programs, the state was projected to spend more than it takes in through 2010.

Why such indiffernce from the right side of the blogosphere? Is Schwarzenegger's metamorphosis into a "tax and spend" Democrat being obscured by the Abramoff scandal and the Alito confirmation hearings? What gives? Why are so many Reagan-Republicans mum?


FOLLOW-UP: This is the sort of commentary that I expected to find from a number of conservative blogs, but the silence has been deafening. I just find it damn curious when a Republican "reformer" of Schwarzenegger's stature tucks tail, turns on a dime, and gets out the check book. As the Scripps Howard News Service reports:

Given Schwarzenegger's much-diminished popularity, his abject failure to win voter approval for his four "year of reform" ballot measures last year and his looming re-election campaign, it's not surprising that he is doing some repositioning from confrontational reformer to public works advocate. But as he launches "Governator III," he may find that abrupt shifts of public persona grate on voters.

Schwarzenegger is beginning to resemble one of his predecessors, Jerry Brown, whose frequent shifts of image, position and even political ambition finally were his undoing. He was running for something _ re-election, president or U.S. senator _ every two years, changing stances on political issues with even greater frequency (most famously on Proposition 13 and taxes) and insisting that repositioning was an asset. He was fond of quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson's credo that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" and once told high school students that he practiced a "canoe theory" of politics in which he paddled on the left and then on the right to maintain headway.



FOLLOW-UP II (01/11/06): Incredibly, this is getting more play in the press and in the blogosphere than this.