Did Arnold Blow Up The GOP?

Anthony Pignataro:

It’s beyond cliche to say these days that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger — whose term of office ends Monday, Jan. 3 — leaves behind a “mixed” legacy. He leaves a budget “in desperate shape,” but he “set a new political course for California,” the Los Angeles Times tells us, summing up the general summing up that typically occurs during the last week of the year, when just about everyone in a position of power seems to be on vacation and unavailable for comment.

One person in power who was available for comment despite being on vacation is Senator Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills. I spoke with her about Schwarzenegger’s legacy, and was struck by one thing missing from the typical end-of-term analyses we’ve been reading. Pavley is one of the more liberal Democrats in the state Senate, and yet she didn’t really have anything bad to say about the Governator.

When I asked her what she thought we’d most remember Schwarzenegger for, she said, “Having a vision for a clean, secure energy future. It’s sort of a double win: good for the environment and the economy.”

Given Schwarzenegger’s hard-core support for greenhouse gas regulations and his popping up at seemingly every new electric car display around the state, it’s likely he would agree with Pavley that that’s his top accomplishment.

But when I asked Pavley for her thoughts on the biggest disappointment to come out of the Schwarzenegger Administration, she said something that, once again, Arnold might possibly agree with. “He missed an opportunity to invest in education,” she said. “It’s a challenging time, obviously, but he didn’t use his movie star bully pulpit for education like he did for climate change.”

It’s useful to remember that when Schwarzenegger first emerged as the front-runner in the 2003 recall election against then-Governor Gray Davis, California Republican Party officials grabbed onto the star of The Terminator and Kindergarten Cop because they thought he was one of them — a solid right-winger who’d never raise taxes, always veto spending and never, ever, give into the environmentalists on stuff like climate change, much less adopt their rhetoric and legislation as his own.

But that’s what happened, and given the results of the recent Meg Whitman for Governor campaign (as well as just about every other state race in November), the party still hasn’t recovered. Maybe five, 10 years from now, we won’t be talking about a bill or even budget issues when speaking of Schwarzenegger, but of how he hoodwinked the state Republican Party, sending it on a path to ruin.

DEC. 29, 2010

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  1. stevefromsacto
    stevefromsacto 30 December, 2010, 09:27

    When are you going to get it? Arnold was a terrible governor, yes; but please don’t blame him for the demise of the California Republican Party. The people of our state have NO said no to slash-and-burn budgets, immigrant and gay-bashing, climate-change denial, and the litany of other right-wing mantras held dear by the GOP. Like lemmings, the Republicans in our state continue to march in lockstep over the cliff.

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  2. surfcitybob
    surfcitybob 30 December, 2010, 10:47

    I just want to move out of California and leave it to all the liberal nuts to destroy.

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  3. David from Oceanside
    David from Oceanside 31 December, 2010, 15:35

    I hope Arnold lives long enough to experience the full public disgrace of knowing he led the sheep over the man made global economic cliff. How will this narcissist handle knowing all his hopes for public adoration were pinned on a fraud?

    Reply this comment
  4. Dan DaSilva
    Dan DaSilva 31 December, 2010, 21:33

    I think the people killed the GOP and next they will kill the whole state.
    At first Arnold tried to hold the line but the people shot him down.

    The people of “Kally Forn Ee Aa” are getting what they want. Maybe they can pass a law to give everybody the deal the state employees are getting and we can be a liberal heaven.

    Finally, Arnold can go back to making Scfi movies which is where his talent is, hope his next one is as good as Total Recall. Then whole GOP can leave and tell the state to “Consider that a divorce” (Just like he said to Sharon Stone).

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