October 16, 2005
You Decide -- Hogs or Kittens
Why did Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger sign a bill on Oct. 7 that requires manufacturers
of cosmetics to disclose any ingredients that could cause cancer?
This state has so many consumer warnings that people don't even
notice them anymore, and it's not as if folks don't know there are
chemicals in beauty products.
the fact that the bill's author, state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San
Francisco, tried to pass the measure by pushing a "yes"
button at the desk of a Republican assembly-member who opposed
the bill. (She later apologized, and her vote was pulled.)
is: Any good Republican governor would have vetoed the measure
on the principle that Migden shouldn't be rewarded after her antics.
Instead, Schwarzenegger signed the stupid bill. For all his bluster
about confronting "girlie-men" legislators, in fact
and action, Schwarzenegger is a go-along, get-along governor.
this move to take issue with the conventional wisdom in Sacramento:
For months, cognoscenti have proclaimed that Schwarzenegger called
a special election and is supporting four ballot initiatives because
his media handlers want to make millions off these measures. In
private, however, his handlers say that Schwarzenegger is pushing
the linchpin measure -- Proposition 76, which would curb state
spending -- in order to protect himself from himself, and the
sooner the better.
Schwarzenegger knows that for every dollar the state takes in,
it is spending close to a dime more -- with the help of his own
signature. He knows he doesn't have the backbone to use his line-item
veto powers to balance spending. He knows he's such a Mr. Nice
Guy that he'll sign measures that a tough guy would veto. He knows
the real-estate market could slump, thus depriving state and local
governments of high tax flows. So, he asked his finance staff
to write a measure to curb the growth of spending.
call Proposition 76, "Stop me before I spend too much."
After months of the opposition spending some $80 million or more
bashing the governor and his reform measures, polls show Proposition
76 is likely to crash and burn. As much as voters have opposed
increasing taxes, they've also resented the special election and
soured on the Recall Kid.
argues that the public polls are off, that its polls show the
governor's initiatives gaining and that he could win all four
initiatives the team is pushing. (Proposition 74 would make it
easier for school districts to dismiss bad teachers, Proposition
75 would make it harder for public-employee unions to raise money
for political purposes, and Proposition 77 would create fairer
districts for congressional representatives and state legislators.)
Team Arnold also thinks that media coverage misses the real story.
GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona visited Burbank on Monday, Team
Arnold noted, a group of 100 nurses, who happened to be holding
a meeting at the same hotel, asked the governor to join them.
While ads proclaim Schwarzenegger an enemy to nurses, actual nurses
think we're gonna win all four," said Mike Murphy, Schwarzenegger's
political consultant. "They know it is Arnold and the people
versus the status quo in Sacramento, and they want change."
smoking something," scoffed Roger Salazar on the no side.
"Everything that we've seen has really shown very little
movement one way or another."
thinks that when folks realize that the failure to pass Proposition
76 could lead to higher taxes, they'll vote "yes." The
two sides know better than to advertise that more spending eventually
leads to higher taxes.
strategist Darry Sragow had this to say: "I learned to never
underestimate Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I think, even if he's
in his best form, he is not going to win more than a couple of
these." He added this caveat: While some say Proposition
76 is dead, "it is my own personal belief that of the four,
the one that matters the most to the governor and his people is
Proposition 76." Hence, Team Arnold will spend money and
political capital to win this puppy.
that voters aren't thrilled about the special election. But they
should ask themselves what kind of Sacramento they want. If Schwarzenegger
loses big, Big Government, labor and other interests will be emboldened.
Democratic lawmakers will snap more ferociously at the governor's
heels. There will be more money in politics, more negative ads
and more government spending.
But if the
governor wins more than he loses, dreamed one adviser, state lawmakers
will behave "like kittens."
2005 Creators Syndicate