Californians On Ballot Measures Seldom Suffer Knaves and Fools
So, every one of these measures, with the exception of the Los Angeles school bonds, went down to defeat. And good riddance.
It was very unwise of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to think that he could simply abandon his pledge in the Recall election not to bow to special interests, and, to turn around in this election, and cater to every slimy corporate special interest that afflicts this state. Now, he will pay the price, and it could be his reeelection next year. Because. as L.A. Times writers Peter Nicholas and Mark Barabak note this morning, quoting GOP Reagan strategist Stu Spencer, "a lot of personalities have a short shelf life," and, as the writers say, "Schwarzenegger's celebrity may not be the tonic it once was."
There are a few other things to say about the California election results.
For one thing, the public employee unions got together and, for once, fought effectively. They spent a lot of money, and their advertising message was right on the proper line. What it shows is that the union message is not unpopular if it is put right, and ir's a good lesson for organized labor throughout the country. Millions of Californians, like millions of Americans, realize that big business and the Republican party are all too often ready to slash into the income of ordinary Americans these days, whether it's their wages, their medical care, or their pensions. Most people are fed up with these moves, also seen in the court system, and they're not going to take it any more. So the unions can fight and win, as they did in California yesterday.
Another development marked these elections, and that was the emergence of Warren Beatty and his wife as potent political figures. Beatty's radio commercial for the California nurses was the most powerful of the election. He sounded great, and this and his suave public appearances around the election just could mean that he would be the Democrats' strongest candidate for governor next year.
I say that, even though, after Schwarzenegger, many people may feel they have had it with actors for awhile. Beatty, however, looks awfully good. Certainly, he has more pizazz than Phil Angelides or Steve Westly, the main Democratic gubernatorial contenders thus far.
If Beatty looked and sounded good, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and U.S. Sen. John McCain did not, with their repeated unwanted telephone calls and recorded messages. I got a lot of them being a registered Republican. These phone calls belong on the "do not call" lists. In any case, every one I received made me more determined to vote no across the board on the Schwarzenegger proposals.
There was a lot of talk by do-gooders across the political spectrum in this Special election that California ought to finally do away with Hiram Johnson's initiative system. Maybe so, but so often in these elections the people of this state do assert themselves in a rational and excellent way, as they did yesterday, even with all the money that is spent on campaigning.
The Times editorial pages, so often so filled with nonsense, certainly were in this election with their inconsistent endorsements. Who on these pages wanted to strike at the teachers and the unions, with Propositions 74 and 75, both of which the Times endorsed?
They were as foolish and knavish as the governor, and they too got their comeuppance yesterday, as did "Lawrence," my anonymous commentator, not satisfied with expressing his opinions once at the end of my blogs, but twice.
I should make it clear that when I use the terms "knaves and fools," I'm not talking about the people who voted for the governor's initiatives, since most of them I'm sure felt they were doing the right thing. The knaves and fools were Schwarzenegger and others who lined up with the corporate interests to push these measures.