L.A. Times Makes It Clear This Morning, Schwarzenegger Is Reeling
The paper's state political columnist, George Skelton, makes the apt point that normally the governor would wait to see how he fares in the special election on state policies set for November before announcing his intentions for next year. However, probably as a sign of his bad political situation, he is not waiting. He dropped a broad hint yesterday he is going to run.
Then, the Times has an article reporting that Schwarzenegger's standing among Latinos, who provided him many votes in the Recall election, has deteriorated. Unlike George W. Bush, when he was governor of Texas, this governor has not even appointed Latinos to his cabinet.
Finally, the Times analyses a surprise Democratic victory in a special Assembly election in the South Bay, in the first round no less.
Were he not such a macho movie star, I would think Schwarzenegger would be privately contemplating not running for reelection at all. California is a Democratic state, and the Democrats will be putting a lot into retrieving the governorship here. The attorney general, Bill Lockyer, has, unwisely I think, pulled out of the contest, but two Democratic officeholders, State Treasurer Phil Angelides and State Controller Steve Westly, are fixing to run.
Schwarzenegger won the governorship in an unusual election as a celebrity against the detested and unsavory incumbent, Democrat Gray Davis. The circumstances of the Recall are not likely to be even remotely repeated.
But he has not proved to be all that knowledgable or able a politician. Although he ran against the special interests, he has proved to be a creature of the usual Republican special interests. Confronted with a Democratic-dominated legislature, he has often dropped the ball in dealing with it. And, then, California's budget and other problems have proved to be fairly intractible, although a boom in the stock market would aright the state's finances by sending capital gains and income tax revenues soaring.
Meanwhile, the war in Iraq and, now the hurricane diaster in the Deep South, have soured Republican national popularity. Next year, 2006, looks increasingly like it will be a Democratic year, unless the war enters a more promising phase.
Under all these circumstances, Schwarzenegger would have to be a magic performer to win, and he is not proving to be such.
Times political coverage under the new editor, Dean Baquet, and the metro direction of Janet Clayton, may well prove better than it was in the Recall campaign.