Discussions

Arnie Schwarzenegger moves on

+
0 Votes
Locked

Arnie Schwarzenegger moves on

jardinier
There is a lot of speculation as to what Arnie will do when he steps down as Governor of California.

I would be very interested to hear opinions from Americans and especially Californians as to the quality of his work as Governor.

Compared to US governors in general, was he good, average, poor? I do know that California was in a pretty bad way when he took the job.
  • +
    0 Votes
    john.a.wills

    The legislature is a tangle of overlapping and sometimes conflicting flows of demand and response. Arnold could not unpick well enough to get what he wanted done, and the crazy people did not back him up in plebiscites. Our probable next governor, Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown, has a much greater understanding of which strings to pull and of adjusting the politicking process. Also, two constitutional changes, one passed and one on the upcoming ballot, may make it easier for sane politics to get through the tangle.

    +
    0 Votes
    jardinier

    that Arnie did the best he could in the circumstances. Am I interpreting you correctly?

    But he had no prior political experience. At least Ronald Reagan had some experience as president of the Screen Actor's Guild. Not big-time politics of course, but some similarity in procedures.

    +
    0 Votes
    john.a.wills

    Arnie is still doing the best he can in his circumstances, according to his lights, which are not necessarily mine - for instance he line-vetoed child-care expenses in the budget, something he can do. In Australia, I understand, there is more party loyalty, and in any case the prime minister always has a majority in parliament, so he has more clout. Furthermore, the PM has come up through the party ranks and has made cronies of many politicians, something Arnie has not been able to do due to his different history. Jerry Brown has been in party politics for a long time now, and should be able to manage things more effectively.

    +
    0 Votes
    jardinier

    Hi John. The Australian equivalent of US Governor is Premier, who is leader of a State Government. At present in my state of NSW it is a female, Kristina Keneally. For good measure we also have a female Governor General, Ms Quentin Bryce.

    On the Federal scene, forget "Party loyalty." In the Labor Party it is all about factions (left-wing, right-wing etc). The factions are much more interested in getting their person in, than in winning an election.

    If I understand you correctly, I am surprised and horrified to learn that you do not know that our Prime Minister Julia Gillard is leading a minority government, with a few independents and our first Greens MHR, keeping her just one seat ahead of the conservative opposition (Liberal/National Parties).

    There was a lot of negotiation on the part of the independents as to which party they would support. As it is, one or more may at any time cross the floor and vote against the government.

    Currently the Government has a minority in the Senate, but will have a majority (in league with Greens and independents) in July, 2011, when the new Senate takes over.

    It is 70 years since we last had a minority government in Canberra.

    +
    0 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    What's the difference between a state Premier and a Governor General?

    If factions are about getting their person in, how do they do it if not by winning elections?

    What's a minority government?

    +
    0 Votes
    JamesRL

    Australia and Canada, as part of the British Commonwealth, inherit much of our political systems from Britain.

    A Govenor General (and Lt. Governors in the provinces in Canada) are appointed positions. In theory they are the monarchs representatives. They are to be neutral politically, and have a few functions. They read the speech from the throne to open Parliament (written by the party in power). They are the titular head of the armed forces. They call elections (usually the Prime Minister makes the request of the GG). In the rare instance of a constituional issue regarding Parliament, they make the call (happens rarely). They cut a lot of ribbons and make a lot of speeches. The Party in power tells the Queen who their choice is.

    A Premier is like a governor.

    A minority government is one where no one party has 50%+1 seats in Parliament. It means that to get anything done, they need to work with other parties. Sometimes they make formal coalitions, sometimes they just wing it. The government will fall if they lose a vote on a money bill (Budgets etc). The Canadian Government has been running under a minority since 2006.

    Parties in our system have various factions, as they do in the US. Some factions spend more energy on winning power within the party, even when it means it makes the party look bad, which in turn hurts their chances in a general election.

    +
    0 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    "The government will fall ..."

    I'm positive you aren't talking about a revolution, but I've got no other point of reference for this phrase. What happens in that case?

    While our parties have factions, I'm not with you on 'winning within the party'. It's possible for a 'fringe' faction's candidate to win a primary over a more 'mainstream' candidate, and then go on to lose in the general election against the other party's candidate. (We only have two national parties.) I don't think we have an equivalent to 'winning within the party', but I'm not clear enough on the concept to say.

    +
    0 Votes
    JamesRL

    With regards to the government falling, its like this. We traditionally don't have fixed terms for the length of a government. A majority government traditionally goes as long as 6 years, but if they want to call it earlier, they can and do. In a minority government on the other hand, if the government looses a vote on a money bill, like the budget, there is no choice but to have an election called immediately.

    As for the factions, the difference is this; we don't elect a Prime Minister separately. The PM is the head of the governing party. So getting the leader of the party's job is all party insiders stuff. I've been involved full time on some of those leadership campaigns. They can be pretty nasty, as nasty as general elections, and even moreso at times. Only paid up party members get to vote for the leader. Some parties still have conventions where every consituency sends deligates, others have gone to a one member one vote system.

    +
    0 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    Your replies have been very informative.

    +
    0 Votes
    jardinier

    Thank you James. The Governor-General is more than a titular figure in Australia as we discovered in 1975 when he (John Kerr) sacked the Whitlam Labor Government. This was because the Senate, controlled by the Opposition, deferred passing money bills. Normally this would have forced the PM Whitlam to call an election, which he did not do. Subsequently the GG sacked the Government.

    Incidentally in regard to another matter, the Opposition can do two things to cripple the Government.

    1. Block supply (money) bills.
    2. Pass a vote of no-confidence in the Government, which is then obliged to call an election.

    The current Australian set-up is quite fragile as it requires only one or two of the independents to cross the floor and vote with the Opposition and hence force an election.

    +
    0 Votes
    john.a.wills

    about the not-quite-coalition at federal level; sorry. I was thinking more of a state premier than of the federal executive, however. You do have what may be an advantage that the state governor will dissolve parliament and call new elections if things get into such a mess as California is in - that must concentrate minds somewhat (although when I think of the Baltic Republics in the inter-War period I am reminded that dissolution of parliament (in their case by the president) can become too much of a good thing...). Part of California's trouble this time has been a legislative majority of one party and an executive of the other, something which cannot occur in NSW.

    +
    0 Votes
    jardinier

    At the Federal level the Senate can be controlled by the Opposition which will be the case until the Senators elected on August 21 replace existing ones on July 1.

    The person currently holding the balance of power in the Senate has threatened to block money bills but this is meaningless because they won't be presented until the new Senate is established.

    I don't know (without researching) if it has ever occurred, but I suspect the upper house in the State governments can have more numbers than the Government in the lower house.

    The lower house is the Legislative Assembly and the upper house is the Legislative Council.

    +
    0 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    Difficult comparison. Most of us only follow the day-to-day operations of our own governors. We may be aware when one of the better-known ones (like Arnie) does something spectacular, or when one in an adjacent state takes action that will affect us. Otherwise we don't pay much attention to what the other 49 do or how well they do it.

    +
    0 Votes
    JamesRL

    Is a conservative, and he is paradoxically a State employee (in California).

    There were high expectations for Arnie, after all, there had been a lot of political energy spent in recalling his predecessory Gray Davis.

    Arnold tried to be a mainstream Republican, not too right wing, to appeal to Californians who are, with some exceptions, not traditionally Republican.

    I think things were bad when he took over, and they are still bad now. State employees are forced to take unpaid days off to try and lower the state payroll. The state debt is still massive. The real estate crash hit California hard.

    Frankly I'm not sure I'd want the job.

    +
    0 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    I'll put the legislature on notice.

    "Boys, the next fiscal year starts in six months. There is nothing more important than getting next year's budget in place. We've been caught with our pants down too many times, passing too many stop-gap or continuance bills because we can't get our jobs done. Effective today, the only legislation I will consider is next year's budget. All other legislation will be summarily vetoed. Any questions? Good, let's get to work."

    +
    0 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    That's a good campaign promise... except it's probably not a good idea to say it out loud until squarely in the oval office, and thus under secret service protection.

    Could be good to freeze all congressman pay and expenses... saying up front that all pork will be vetoed, so they can decide how far they want to reduce their belt sizes for themselves.

    Or could it be made like the papal election? That they can't leave work until it's done, and that rations will be iteratively reduced... until it's three cups of boiled rice a day? That might help too...

    +
    0 Votes
    dldorrance

    Your example assumes a representative democracy; in California we have a separate system of direct democracy wherein a plurality of voters (not legislators) can amend the State Constitution, the highest law in the State.

    This direct democracy setup bypasses a legislative process of committee scrutiny and bicameral voting. This process currently accounts for 70% of the budgetary spending of the state; the governor and legislature only control 30% of the budget.

    The State is broke. The system is broken. Furthermore, one of these amendments to the State Constitution deemed budgetary matters to require a 2/3rds majority to pass the legislature. The flip side is 1/3 of the legislators can stall budgetary decisions. Nobody is in charge. This is the result of direct democracy (which works in with a small group) but not in the most populous State in the US.

    +
    0 Votes
    maxwell edison

    California's debt more than doubled, from $27 billion to $57 billion, under Arnold's watch.

    California's current fiscal year budget deficit is near $20 billion (which will, of course, increase said debt by a like amount, minus any budget cuts that might be made). Governor Schwarzenegger is currently seeking a bail-out from Washington D.C. (Asking the other 49 states to come to his rescue!)

    California's credit rating dropped from A to A- under Arnold's watch.

    All but the first year Arnold was in office, and with the exception of illegal immigrants, more Californians moved out of the state than those who moved in.

    As a percentage of households, California ranks fourth highest in the number of home foreclosures.

    California has the third highest unemployment rate of all 50 states (and D.C.).

    California is the third highest state in per capita welfare expenditures.

    Because of huge increases in state corporate tax rates and other taxes and/or required payments, increasing regulation, etc., California business have been relocating in droves. Upwards of 1,000 businesses per year have been moving out of California, either all or in part, for more favorable business environments offered in one of the other 49 states.

    California's bloated and extremely generous state-run pension plan (for state employees) has, since 2004, seen an increase in liabilities of over 2,000 percent, while its revenues have increased only 26 percent; as such, the fund is projected to be operating in the red by as much as $500 billion in 20 short years.

    California has more illegal immigrants than any other state, well over 3 million in number, costing the state in excess of $10 billion annually. Both numbers have increased each and every year of Arnold's watch.

    Governor Schwarzenegger is either at or near his lowest approval ratings ever, depending on which poll one might want to reference.

    +
    0 Votes
    jardinier

    The question is, however, to what degree are these dismal figures the direct result of negligence, ineptness, lack of political know-how on the part of Schwarzenegger?

    Might a person who had previous experience in politics have done a better job?

    Is there some mechanism in the constitution of California which could have made it possible for the electorate to have removed him from office at an earlier time?

    +
    0 Votes
    maxwell edison

    The question is, however, to what degree are these dismal figures the direct result of negligence, ineptness, lack of political know-how on the part of Schwarzenegger?

    Since the buck stops (or should stop) at the CEO's desk, he shoulders, at least, some of the responsibility. I'm not sure how one would go about measuring how much was his and how much was the state legislature and the voters. Yes, the voters.

    Since California is a ballot-issue state, voters can directly decide just about any issue. California has been hurt by many of them. Such things have always been the downfall of direct democracies. As such, the voters, themselves, should bear much of the burden. And the legal name of the state - California Republic - should be changed. It has one word too many.

    All-in-all, I'd call it 50-50.

    Might a person who had previous experience in politics have done a better job?

    Since we don't have the benefit of peering into the what if parallel universe, there's no way to know. Heck, it might have even been worse! But I can't help but think that someone like Ronald Reagan would have done better - less wishy-washy, so to speak, and more dedicated to clearly stated convictions.

    Is there some mechanism in the constitution of California which could have made it possible for the electorate to have removed him from office at an earlier time?

    Oh yes. In fact, his immediate predecessor, Gray Davis, was recalled from office before the end of his term - the first recalled governor in the history of the state.

    My personal opinion, from an outsider's perspective, is that Arnold tried to appease too many people too often. He ran as a Republican, but if one looked at his position on issues, he could just as easily been a Democrat. I think he failed to define a set of convictions and rest on them, letting the chips fall where they may.

    As you said, California wasn't in great shape when he took office. That's very true. However, when a ship is sinking, the first thing to do is plug the leaks; but instead of attempting to plug said leaks, he (and they, being the whole state) only picked up the pails in a lame attempt to keep from sinking - if they picked up the pails at all.

    He had two huge things going for him - three, actually. He had celebrity status and was widely popular. He had taken over from a failed administration implementing failed policies. And he had the proverbial bully pulpit. I think he failed to capitalize on all of those things. The symbolic nonsense of garaging his Hummer, for example, just to appease the environmentalists of the state was a sign of how he would govern - a lot of symbolism, not much substance; a lot of appeasement, not much tough love leadership.

    Of course, these are just my opinions.

    (Edited for clarity.)

    +
    0 Votes
    jardinier

    "My personal opinion, from an outsider's perspective, is that Arnold tried to appease too many people too often. He ran as a Republican, but if one looked at his position on issues, he could just as easily been a Democrat. I think he failed to define a set of convictions and rest on them, letting the chips fall where they may."

    Sounds good to me. Thank you for your thoughtful answer.

    P.S. No need to edit for clarity. You always express yourself impeccably. :)

  • +
    0 Votes
    john.a.wills

    The legislature is a tangle of overlapping and sometimes conflicting flows of demand and response. Arnold could not unpick well enough to get what he wanted done, and the crazy people did not back him up in plebiscites. Our probable next governor, Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown, has a much greater understanding of which strings to pull and of adjusting the politicking process. Also, two constitutional changes, one passed and one on the upcoming ballot, may make it easier for sane politics to get through the tangle.

    +
    0 Votes
    jardinier

    that Arnie did the best he could in the circumstances. Am I interpreting you correctly?

    But he had no prior political experience. At least Ronald Reagan had some experience as president of the Screen Actor's Guild. Not big-time politics of course, but some similarity in procedures.

    +
    0 Votes
    john.a.wills

    Arnie is still doing the best he can in his circumstances, according to his lights, which are not necessarily mine - for instance he line-vetoed child-care expenses in the budget, something he can do. In Australia, I understand, there is more party loyalty, and in any case the prime minister always has a majority in parliament, so he has more clout. Furthermore, the PM has come up through the party ranks and has made cronies of many politicians, something Arnie has not been able to do due to his different history. Jerry Brown has been in party politics for a long time now, and should be able to manage things more effectively.

    +
    0 Votes
    jardinier

    Hi John. The Australian equivalent of US Governor is Premier, who is leader of a State Government. At present in my state of NSW it is a female, Kristina Keneally. For good measure we also have a female Governor General, Ms Quentin Bryce.

    On the Federal scene, forget "Party loyalty." In the Labor Party it is all about factions (left-wing, right-wing etc). The factions are much more interested in getting their person in, than in winning an election.

    If I understand you correctly, I am surprised and horrified to learn that you do not know that our Prime Minister Julia Gillard is leading a minority government, with a few independents and our first Greens MHR, keeping her just one seat ahead of the conservative opposition (Liberal/National Parties).

    There was a lot of negotiation on the part of the independents as to which party they would support. As it is, one or more may at any time cross the floor and vote against the government.

    Currently the Government has a minority in the Senate, but will have a majority (in league with Greens and independents) in July, 2011, when the new Senate takes over.

    It is 70 years since we last had a minority government in Canberra.

    +
    0 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    What's the difference between a state Premier and a Governor General?

    If factions are about getting their person in, how do they do it if not by winning elections?

    What's a minority government?

    +
    0 Votes
    JamesRL

    Australia and Canada, as part of the British Commonwealth, inherit much of our political systems from Britain.

    A Govenor General (and Lt. Governors in the provinces in Canada) are appointed positions. In theory they are the monarchs representatives. They are to be neutral politically, and have a few functions. They read the speech from the throne to open Parliament (written by the party in power). They are the titular head of the armed forces. They call elections (usually the Prime Minister makes the request of the GG). In the rare instance of a constituional issue regarding Parliament, they make the call (happens rarely). They cut a lot of ribbons and make a lot of speeches. The Party in power tells the Queen who their choice is.

    A Premier is like a governor.

    A minority government is one where no one party has 50%+1 seats in Parliament. It means that to get anything done, they need to work with other parties. Sometimes they make formal coalitions, sometimes they just wing it. The government will fall if they lose a vote on a money bill (Budgets etc). The Canadian Government has been running under a minority since 2006.

    Parties in our system have various factions, as they do in the US. Some factions spend more energy on winning power within the party, even when it means it makes the party look bad, which in turn hurts their chances in a general election.

    +
    0 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    "The government will fall ..."

    I'm positive you aren't talking about a revolution, but I've got no other point of reference for this phrase. What happens in that case?

    While our parties have factions, I'm not with you on 'winning within the party'. It's possible for a 'fringe' faction's candidate to win a primary over a more 'mainstream' candidate, and then go on to lose in the general election against the other party's candidate. (We only have two national parties.) I don't think we have an equivalent to 'winning within the party', but I'm not clear enough on the concept to say.

    +
    0 Votes
    JamesRL

    With regards to the government falling, its like this. We traditionally don't have fixed terms for the length of a government. A majority government traditionally goes as long as 6 years, but if they want to call it earlier, they can and do. In a minority government on the other hand, if the government looses a vote on a money bill, like the budget, there is no choice but to have an election called immediately.

    As for the factions, the difference is this; we don't elect a Prime Minister separately. The PM is the head of the governing party. So getting the leader of the party's job is all party insiders stuff. I've been involved full time on some of those leadership campaigns. They can be pretty nasty, as nasty as general elections, and even moreso at times. Only paid up party members get to vote for the leader. Some parties still have conventions where every consituency sends deligates, others have gone to a one member one vote system.

    +
    0 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    Your replies have been very informative.

    +
    0 Votes
    jardinier

    Thank you James. The Governor-General is more than a titular figure in Australia as we discovered in 1975 when he (John Kerr) sacked the Whitlam Labor Government. This was because the Senate, controlled by the Opposition, deferred passing money bills. Normally this would have forced the PM Whitlam to call an election, which he did not do. Subsequently the GG sacked the Government.

    Incidentally in regard to another matter, the Opposition can do two things to cripple the Government.

    1. Block supply (money) bills.
    2. Pass a vote of no-confidence in the Government, which is then obliged to call an election.

    The current Australian set-up is quite fragile as it requires only one or two of the independents to cross the floor and vote with the Opposition and hence force an election.

    +
    0 Votes
    john.a.wills

    about the not-quite-coalition at federal level; sorry. I was thinking more of a state premier than of the federal executive, however. You do have what may be an advantage that the state governor will dissolve parliament and call new elections if things get into such a mess as California is in - that must concentrate minds somewhat (although when I think of the Baltic Republics in the inter-War period I am reminded that dissolution of parliament (in their case by the president) can become too much of a good thing...). Part of California's trouble this time has been a legislative majority of one party and an executive of the other, something which cannot occur in NSW.

    +
    0 Votes
    jardinier

    At the Federal level the Senate can be controlled by the Opposition which will be the case until the Senators elected on August 21 replace existing ones on July 1.

    The person currently holding the balance of power in the Senate has threatened to block money bills but this is meaningless because they won't be presented until the new Senate is established.

    I don't know (without researching) if it has ever occurred, but I suspect the upper house in the State governments can have more numbers than the Government in the lower house.

    The lower house is the Legislative Assembly and the upper house is the Legislative Council.

    +
    0 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    Difficult comparison. Most of us only follow the day-to-day operations of our own governors. We may be aware when one of the better-known ones (like Arnie) does something spectacular, or when one in an adjacent state takes action that will affect us. Otherwise we don't pay much attention to what the other 49 do or how well they do it.

    +
    0 Votes
    JamesRL

    Is a conservative, and he is paradoxically a State employee (in California).

    There were high expectations for Arnie, after all, there had been a lot of political energy spent in recalling his predecessory Gray Davis.

    Arnold tried to be a mainstream Republican, not too right wing, to appeal to Californians who are, with some exceptions, not traditionally Republican.

    I think things were bad when he took over, and they are still bad now. State employees are forced to take unpaid days off to try and lower the state payroll. The state debt is still massive. The real estate crash hit California hard.

    Frankly I'm not sure I'd want the job.

    +
    0 Votes
    CharlieSpencer

    I'll put the legislature on notice.

    "Boys, the next fiscal year starts in six months. There is nothing more important than getting next year's budget in place. We've been caught with our pants down too many times, passing too many stop-gap or continuance bills because we can't get our jobs done. Effective today, the only legislation I will consider is next year's budget. All other legislation will be summarily vetoed. Any questions? Good, let's get to work."

    +
    0 Votes
    AnsuGisalas

    That's a good campaign promise... except it's probably not a good idea to say it out loud until squarely in the oval office, and thus under secret service protection.

    Could be good to freeze all congressman pay and expenses... saying up front that all pork will be vetoed, so they can decide how far they want to reduce their belt sizes for themselves.

    Or could it be made like the papal election? That they can't leave work until it's done, and that rations will be iteratively reduced... until it's three cups of boiled rice a day? That might help too...

    +
    0 Votes
    dldorrance

    Your example assumes a representative democracy; in California we have a separate system of direct democracy wherein a plurality of voters (not legislators) can amend the State Constitution, the highest law in the State.

    This direct democracy setup bypasses a legislative process of committee scrutiny and bicameral voting. This process currently accounts for 70% of the budgetary spending of the state; the governor and legislature only control 30% of the budget.

    The State is broke. The system is broken. Furthermore, one of these amendments to the State Constitution deemed budgetary matters to require a 2/3rds majority to pass the legislature. The flip side is 1/3 of the legislators can stall budgetary decisions. Nobody is in charge. This is the result of direct democracy (which works in with a small group) but not in the most populous State in the US.

    +
    0 Votes
    maxwell edison

    California's debt more than doubled, from $27 billion to $57 billion, under Arnold's watch.

    California's current fiscal year budget deficit is near $20 billion (which will, of course, increase said debt by a like amount, minus any budget cuts that might be made). Governor Schwarzenegger is currently seeking a bail-out from Washington D.C. (Asking the other 49 states to come to his rescue!)

    California's credit rating dropped from A to A- under Arnold's watch.

    All but the first year Arnold was in office, and with the exception of illegal immigrants, more Californians moved out of the state than those who moved in.

    As a percentage of households, California ranks fourth highest in the number of home foreclosures.

    California has the third highest unemployment rate of all 50 states (and D.C.).

    California is the third highest state in per capita welfare expenditures.

    Because of huge increases in state corporate tax rates and other taxes and/or required payments, increasing regulation, etc., California business have been relocating in droves. Upwards of 1,000 businesses per year have been moving out of California, either all or in part, for more favorable business environments offered in one of the other 49 states.

    California's bloated and extremely generous state-run pension plan (for state employees) has, since 2004, seen an increase in liabilities of over 2,000 percent, while its revenues have increased only 26 percent; as such, the fund is projected to be operating in the red by as much as $500 billion in 20 short years.

    California has more illegal immigrants than any other state, well over 3 million in number, costing the state in excess of $10 billion annually. Both numbers have increased each and every year of Arnold's watch.

    Governor Schwarzenegger is either at or near his lowest approval ratings ever, depending on which poll one might want to reference.

    +
    0 Votes
    jardinier

    The question is, however, to what degree are these dismal figures the direct result of negligence, ineptness, lack of political know-how on the part of Schwarzenegger?

    Might a person who had previous experience in politics have done a better job?

    Is there some mechanism in the constitution of California which could have made it possible for the electorate to have removed him from office at an earlier time?

    +
    0 Votes
    maxwell edison

    The question is, however, to what degree are these dismal figures the direct result of negligence, ineptness, lack of political know-how on the part of Schwarzenegger?

    Since the buck stops (or should stop) at the CEO's desk, he shoulders, at least, some of the responsibility. I'm not sure how one would go about measuring how much was his and how much was the state legislature and the voters. Yes, the voters.

    Since California is a ballot-issue state, voters can directly decide just about any issue. California has been hurt by many of them. Such things have always been the downfall of direct democracies. As such, the voters, themselves, should bear much of the burden. And the legal name of the state - California Republic - should be changed. It has one word too many.

    All-in-all, I'd call it 50-50.

    Might a person who had previous experience in politics have done a better job?

    Since we don't have the benefit of peering into the what if parallel universe, there's no way to know. Heck, it might have even been worse! But I can't help but think that someone like Ronald Reagan would have done better - less wishy-washy, so to speak, and more dedicated to clearly stated convictions.

    Is there some mechanism in the constitution of California which could have made it possible for the electorate to have removed him from office at an earlier time?

    Oh yes. In fact, his immediate predecessor, Gray Davis, was recalled from office before the end of his term - the first recalled governor in the history of the state.

    My personal opinion, from an outsider's perspective, is that Arnold tried to appease too many people too often. He ran as a Republican, but if one looked at his position on issues, he could just as easily been a Democrat. I think he failed to define a set of convictions and rest on them, letting the chips fall where they may.

    As you said, California wasn't in great shape when he took office. That's very true. However, when a ship is sinking, the first thing to do is plug the leaks; but instead of attempting to plug said leaks, he (and they, being the whole state) only picked up the pails in a lame attempt to keep from sinking - if they picked up the pails at all.

    He had two huge things going for him - three, actually. He had celebrity status and was widely popular. He had taken over from a failed administration implementing failed policies. And he had the proverbial bully pulpit. I think he failed to capitalize on all of those things. The symbolic nonsense of garaging his Hummer, for example, just to appease the environmentalists of the state was a sign of how he would govern - a lot of symbolism, not much substance; a lot of appeasement, not much tough love leadership.

    Of course, these are just my opinions.

    (Edited for clarity.)

    +
    0 Votes
    jardinier

    "My personal opinion, from an outsider's perspective, is that Arnold tried to appease too many people too often. He ran as a Republican, but if one looked at his position on issues, he could just as easily been a Democrat. I think he failed to define a set of convictions and rest on them, letting the chips fall where they may."

    Sounds good to me. Thank you for your thoughtful answer.

    P.S. No need to edit for clarity. You always express yourself impeccably. :)