Thursday, January 12


I'm still mystified. The silence remains deafening. As I asked yesterday, why is Schwarzenegger getting a pass from the right side of the blogosphere? And for godsakes, I'm not talking about his motorcycle accident in which he was found to have an invalid driver's license. No, I'm talking about his massive spending proposal.

Well, at least I'm not entirely blowing in the wind with these questions. The Los Angeles Times reports in today's edition that California's Republican lawmakers are giving The Arnold an earful.

As LAT's staffer Peter Nicholas writes (excerpts follow):

Republican lawmakers on Wednesday laid out conditions that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger must meet to get their crucial votes for his $222-billion public works program.

The legislators gave Schwarzenegger a list of demands in a private meeting in the Capitol, where the governor had hoped to assuage their concerns that he may be saddling the state with too much debt without enough to show for it.

At the top of the list was a request that the governor pare the $68 billion in state borrowing his plan envisions and relax environmental protections as a means to speedily shore up roads, levees and other infrastructure.

Schwarzenegger needs a two-thirds majority of the Legislature to send his sweeping proposal to the ballot, giving the Republicans special leverage. Even if he gets every Democratic vote, he would need at least six Republican votes in the Assembly, and two in the Senate.

As Mr. Nicholas continues:

The governor comes to the negotiations weakened. Schwarzenegger's public approval rating is 32%, according to recent opinion polls. He is trying to recover from the painful November special election, in which voters rejected his plans for changing state government. And he is entering a reelection campaign in which he is eager to point to concrete accomplishments.

$68 billion worth of concrete! You'd think some of the big gun, right-of-center bloggers would have something to say about a spendthrift Republican governor bent on taking the Golden State further into debt.

Schwarzenegger claims he "heard" the voters in last November's stunning "special election" defeat of all of his reform propositions and is merely responding to those who put him in office. That's crap. His propositions were defeated because of his own lackluster campaigning and because of the huge amounts of money the special interests -- e.g., the public employees' unions -- put up to defeat him.

This is one movie-actor-turned-politician (unlike Reagan) who came to the party without core values and only his make-up kit. Arnold Schwarzenegger is to Sacramento what Lon Chaney was to Hollywood: A Man of A Thousand Faces.