Wednesday, October 01, 2003
You gotta love Arnold Schwarzenegger. Today in Sacramento, he made a speech indicating that he would have an ambitious legislative agenda. This as Governor Gray Davis continues to rail at him, demanding a debate to "set the record straight" and whatnot. Arnold addressed a crowd of several thousand supporters, indicating that he would repeal the infamous car tax, work towards a freeze on government spending, conduct a government-wide audit of the Executive Branch, call the Assembly and the State Senate back into session to hammer out next year's budget, and repeal SB 60, the "Driver's licenses for Illegals" bill. In this speech today, Schwarzenegger went beyond platitudes and gave California voters an idea of what he would do in his first year as Governor.
He's given them a choice. Call it pitchfork centrism (with apologies to the Buchanan crowd). There isn't much that California voters will dislike here, especially as he has told them that he will work to prevent the Federal Government from opening up offshore drilling. Basically, what Arnold is doing here is offering movement as opposed to status quo. People want action of some sort in California. Indeed, if a reformist liberal California Democrat came along and started going on about government the way Arnold does, he would win going away.
However, if that were the case, this reformist liberal wouldn't be a California Democrat. This fact is part of the problem.
Davis offers more of Davis, and it is only now dawning on the Governor and the National Democrats that that is not what the electorate wants. For a time, Gray Davis presumed that Schwarzenegger was going to implode, as did many in both of the state parties. A lot of Republicans held back until they saw Arnold do quite well in his debate. Only in the last week (see post below) has support swung decisively behind Question #1, the Recall itself. The recall lead is anywhere from ten to fifteen percent, depending on which poll you decided to buy into. On the Replacement Election, Arnold has pulled out to anywhere from a five to a fifteen point margin on Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante. Cruz's negatives have gone way up due to shenanigans having to do with Tribal funding of his campaign.
A lot can happen in a week, but I'm betting that by this time next week, Arnold will be Governor of California.