Arnold Wins Big and Liberals Lose

California voters handed Arnold Schwarzenegger a huge win on Tuesday, solidly backing two ballot measures he supported, enabling the state to refinance its 'credit card debt' of operating deficits inherited from Gray Davis. Remarkably, the two measures had been strongly rejected by voters in early public opinion surveys. After the governor began actively campaigning for them (with support from Democrats such as State Controller Steve Westley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein), public opinion turned around dramatically.

California Democrats are attempting to spin the victory as their own. State Senate President Pro Tem John Burton —  a powerhouse in state Democratic politics — said, 'I mean, it was the Democrats who put the bonds on the ballot for him, not the Republicans. And it was support from Democrats and labor that got it passed." But anyone who is not willfully delusional, or just blowing smoke, recognizes the victory for what it is. Voters trust Arnold, and will follow his recommendations when they go to the polls. It was the governor who appeared in the TV ads, and it is clear that his support sold the measure, no matter what the Democrats spin to the contrary.

There were big losers in yesterday's election: the liberal interest groups sponsoring Proposition 56, which went down to defeat by a handy margin. Backed by $16 million dollars, mostly from state workers unions,  and endorsed by the leftist League of Women Voters, a group which poses as nonpartisan, the measure would have lowered the threshold for passing a budget (and raising taxes, not so incidentally) from two—thirds to 55%.

Voters were subjected to a big media campaign which never mentioned the issue of raising taxes, however. A phony minor provision was instead the focus of the advertising: state legislators would not have received pay until the budget is passed. Television commercials depicted a food fight in the legislative chambers and urged voters to send them a message.

In other words, the campaign pretended to be about penalizing the overspending state legislators and ending 'gridlock.' But the commercials were insulting to anyone who looked into the actual content of the measures. The League of Women Voters has permanently damaged its credibility by associating itself with this phony campaign. Spurred by talk radio and a comparatively small "vote no" TV ad campaign, many Californians asked themselves the question, 'How stupid do they think we are?'

In soundly rejecting Prop. 56, voters were indeed sending a message, one that resonates loudly. They want the governor to lead California toward reducing spending, while not raising taxes. When the governor asks them to pass ballot measures, they will follow his advice. When hes says to vote no, they will nbot pass them, despite the contrary advice of the liberal establishment. Since California allows referenda, recall, and initiatives, this gives Arnold the power to bypass a recalcitrant Democrat—dominated State Legislature.

Next on the agenda is reform of Workers Compensation, an expensive mess. Very big interest groups are involved here, notably the lawyers who profit enormously from the system. Among this group is none other than the husband of Senator Barbara Boxer, who is standing for re—election in November. The debate which is start soon on Workers Comp will have powerful overtones for her campaign.

California politics remain fascinating, with huge implications for the rest of the nation. The international press corps which has set—up bureaus in Sacramento can renew their short term leases. Governor Schwarzenegger will be making lots of news.

California voters handed Arnold Schwarzenegger a huge win on Tuesday, solidly backing two ballot measures he supported, enabling the state to refinance its 'credit card debt' of operating deficits inherited from Gray Davis. Remarkably, the two measures had been strongly rejected by voters in early public opinion surveys. After the governor began actively campaigning for them (with support from Democrats such as State Controller Steve Westley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein), public opinion turned around dramatically.

California Democrats are attempting to spin the victory as their own. State Senate President Pro Tem John Burton —  a powerhouse in state Democratic politics — said, 'I mean, it was the Democrats who put the bonds on the ballot for him, not the Republicans. And it was support from Democrats and labor that got it passed." But anyone who is not willfully delusional, or just blowing smoke, recognizes the victory for what it is. Voters trust Arnold, and will follow his recommendations when they go to the polls. It was the governor who appeared in the TV ads, and it is clear that his support sold the measure, no matter what the Democrats spin to the contrary.

There were big losers in yesterday's election: the liberal interest groups sponsoring Proposition 56, which went down to defeat by a handy margin. Backed by $16 million dollars, mostly from state workers unions,  and endorsed by the leftist League of Women Voters, a group which poses as nonpartisan, the measure would have lowered the threshold for passing a budget (and raising taxes, not so incidentally) from two—thirds to 55%.

Voters were subjected to a big media campaign which never mentioned the issue of raising taxes, however. A phony minor provision was instead the focus of the advertising: state legislators would not have received pay until the budget is passed. Television commercials depicted a food fight in the legislative chambers and urged voters to send them a message.

In other words, the campaign pretended to be about penalizing the overspending state legislators and ending 'gridlock.' But the commercials were insulting to anyone who looked into the actual content of the measures. The League of Women Voters has permanently damaged its credibility by associating itself with this phony campaign. Spurred by talk radio and a comparatively small "vote no" TV ad campaign, many Californians asked themselves the question, 'How stupid do they think we are?'

In soundly rejecting Prop. 56, voters were indeed sending a message, one that resonates loudly. They want the governor to lead California toward reducing spending, while not raising taxes. When the governor asks them to pass ballot measures, they will follow his advice. When hes says to vote no, they will nbot pass them, despite the contrary advice of the liberal establishment. Since California allows referenda, recall, and initiatives, this gives Arnold the power to bypass a recalcitrant Democrat—dominated State Legislature.

Next on the agenda is reform of Workers Compensation, an expensive mess. Very big interest groups are involved here, notably the lawyers who profit enormously from the system. Among this group is none other than the husband of Senator Barbara Boxer, who is standing for re—election in November. The debate which is start soon on Workers Comp will have powerful overtones for her campaign.

California politics remain fascinating, with huge implications for the rest of the nation. The international press corps which has set—up bureaus in Sacramento can renew their short term leases. Governor Schwarzenegger will be making lots of news.