It looks like Gov. Arnold will fire his best shot in the fall special election season this week -- he is expected to announce he will run for re-election in 2006. Maybe the announcement will goose his initiatives into positive numbers, but that seems very unlikely. The Terminator is in big trouble.
Arnold tried to pull off a coup with initiative measures to enhance the governor's power over legislators, mostly Democrats. Instead he has revealed himself as all huff and puff but no substance, except that he takes care of his business buddies.
For months the public employees whom Arnold is trying to blame for the state's budget problems -- nurses, teachers, firefighters -- have been dogging his fundraisers. Voters recalled Arnold's predecessor Gray Davis in 2003 in large part because he was seen as a calculating politician beholden his donors. Now the same mud has stuck to Arnold. According to the LA Times:
Democrats, once cowed by Arnold's popularity, now openly mock the governor:
Though the partisan battle is going well for Democrats, there is more to this election than just Arnold's effort to impose a structure that favors him and cuts out the Democratic legislature. Also on the ballot:
- a measure to make it difficult for public employee unions to represent their members in politics by requiring repeated permission to spend their dues on advocacy;
- an anti-abortion initiative would impede teenagers' freedom of choice;
- two competing prescription drug provision schemes -- unhappily, voter disgust with the special election and the presence of one put up by big pharmaceutical companies will probably sink a more progressive alternative.
Unless something drastic changes, all of these may very well go down, drowned in voter disgust. As the LA Times editorialized today:
Progressives can't slack off making sure those "NO" votes come out.