Monday, December 26, 2005

Arnie's Move To The Center Ain't Workin

Poor Gropenfuhrer, nobody trusts him anymore, not the left or the right. From the LA Times:

SACRAMENTO — Humbled by his special election defeat, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is counting on state lawmakers to let bygones be bygones next month as he refocuses his political efforts in the Capitol.
"He's making every effort to work hand in hand with the Legislature," said Margita Thompson, Schwarzenegger's spokeswoman.

But California government, which Schwarzenegger declared last year was so dysfunctional that it required an overhaul by voters, is shaping up to be even more treacherous terrain for the governor in the coming election year.

"The power has shifted back to the Legislature," said Assembly Majority Leader Dario Frommer (D-Glendale). "I think the Democrats are in the driver's seat."

Much of the core of the Democratic Party is disinclined to give the Republican governor any political victories that might help get him reelected next year, lawmakers and lobbyists say.

Labor unions, which have substantial influence over the Democratic majorities in the Assembly and Senate, are still furious with the governor for trying to weaken their benefits and political influence. Emboldened by their success in leading the fight against Schwarzenegger's four initiatives last month, they are expected to adopt an even more aggressive posture when lawmakers return to Sacramento on Jan. 3.

"There's going to be a lot of pressure not to do anything with the guy," Frommer said. "You have a Legislature that, quite frankly, is not too happy with him. And you've got a Democratic Party and a lot of the constituencies that are pushing hard to keep the governor on the mat in order to set the stage for whomever the Democratic nominee is next year."

The governor also is facing pressure from his right. Republican lawmakers and party activists are concerned about the way he has refocused his administration toward the center since his special election loss.

Since November, Schwarzenegger has appointed a former executive director of the Democratic Party as his chief of staff. And he endorsed an unprecedented borrowing program for public works, something that unnerves the party's fiscal conservatives.

Most GOP lawmakers are more conservative than Schwarzenegger, but he needs their support because two-thirds of the Legislature is required to pass the state budget and to put measures on the statewide ballot.

"The reality is, nothing gets done unless Arnold Schwarzenegger can persuade at least six Republicans in the Assembly and two in the Senate to go along," said Tim Hodson, director of the Center for California Studies at Cal State Sacramento.


Once again, the biggest opposition against Schwarzenegger may come from California's labor unions, which spent more than $100 million to defeat him in November. Unions representing teachers are demanding that the governor increase education funding by $5.5 billion. They say he promised them billions in late 2003 in exchange for their agreeing to defer some funds guaranteed for schools under Proposition 98.

The administration says no such promise was made. But unions made the issue a major part of their campaign against his special election agenda and consider his defeat a mandate for him to restore the money.

"I don't know how the governor could possibly do the State of the State without addressing education funding and how he's going to pay back the money that's owed," said Gale Kaufman, a political consultant for the California Teachers Assn. and the Assembly's Democrats.

Perata and Nuñez said Schwarzenegger needs to repay some of the education money this year.

Labor leaders also are planning to press the Legislature to revisit changes they made to California's workers' compensation insurance system in 2003 and 2004.

The changes are projected to lead to an estimated 38% drop in employer costs in the first two years, according to the state insurance commissioner. But unions complain that insurers have cut the benefits of injured workers too deeply while pocketing most of the savings.

Barry Broad, a lobbyist for the Teamsters and several other unions, said labor's goal is to get new legislation passed and get rid of Schwarzenegger.

"This is a governor who went after us with hammer and saw, said very nasty things about labor unions and how they are to blame for the world's problems," Broad said. "We're not likely to give up on any strongly held principles … for this guy."

I'm glad to see labor unions, especially the teachers union, trying to bury the Gropenfuhrer this year. It would be silly and suicidal for unions to work with this guy on anything and risk helping him get reelected after what he pulled the last two years.

Randi Weingarten should take note that labor unions CAN destroy popular Republican politicians when GOPer's are on the wrong side of the issues, like the Gropenfuhrer was last November.

As for the right-wing, I bet Arnie's gonna have to come out with some real wingnut immigration program to satisy them, a move which should take the sails out of his repositioning to the center.

Poor Gropenfuhrer. Nobody likes him anymore, not even his home town in Austria, which just renamed the Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium to the more generic Graz Stadium because Arnie wouldn't commute Tookie Williams' death sentence.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?