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The One Eyed Man

Dec
17
2003

It’s getting easier to feel sorry — really sorry — for the California State Legislature. Maybe, just maybe, they’re in over their heads with this Arnold muscle-head guy.
Take the recent budget deal, which was analyzed by several smart reporters and pundits. None seemed to have seen the broadside ax – the one that fell on the Assembly’s Republican necks – coming in the “stalled” budget negotiations.
One thing was really clear this weekend: Arnold could care less about fiscally conservative Republicans. When they get his box office star power, he’ll have a problem. Until then, hasta la vista, baby. Some of them are a little slow to get the message. Republican Todd Spitzer delivered this classic to the Chron. You wonder if the reporter burst out laughing half way through.
“The Republican caucus was less than pleased the governor put together a deal without Republicans at the table when the contract was signed,” Spitzer said. “We made it clear that we can’t continue to do negotiations without us at the table. He said, ‘Absolutely, and it won’t happen again.’ ”
It won’t happen again? Hey Todd, wanna buy a bridge? Nice color. Stunning views. For you: Special price.
Kind of amazing, huh, a governor who plays one side off against the other and doesn’t seem too upset about how he gets the job done. Geez. And still manages to get what he wants. In this case, Schwarzenegger took an important step: getting approval for a $15 billion bond measure. First thing, the state’s gotta get its pressing debt reduced so it’s not hanging around like The Ghost of Christmas Past all the while giving the state’s Republicans an excuse to rant and rave about the Democrats who, still, control the Legislature. The bond measure, which appears on the March California ballot (California: we vote seasonally) solves the fiscal and the political problem nicely. And if things get better – and they’re getting betting as I type – that debt might be retired a little earlier.
I don’t want to take all the credit for grasping this obvious point, although the presence of a California budget story on the front page of Saturday’s New York Time was unsettling. No, as is usual almost every Wednesday, the SFWeekly’s Matt Smith nailed this one very nicely. “What’s been missing,” Smith writes “has been a look at just how canny [Schwarzenegger] was in creating the conditions that ultimately allowed for a compromise inclusive of rabid, anti-tax Republicans and committed, preserve-public-services Democrats.”
Yup. Fasten your seat belts kids. This is gonna be one fun ride ‘cause of this Arnold guy. He knows his business. And right now, that’s politics.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 4:40 PM | Permalink

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