As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Schwarzenegger's Gambit

Some pundits are coming out and calling Arnold Schwarzenegger's endorsement of Prop. 93, a relaxation of term limits for current legislators, a flip-flop. Others consider it the result of a quid-pro-quo arrangement in return for health care legislation.

Isn't it much easier than that? Schwarzenegger has a good working relationship with Fabian Nuñez and Don Perata. He for the most part gets what he wants out of that relationship. Why would he want to change it for his last two years in office? The pessimist's view would be "Why would he want to housebreak someone else when these two are already housebroken?" The optimist's view is "He's moving forward on his agenda, why rock the boat?"

Of course, voters have to consider the efficacy of this arrangement. Under this Governor-Legislature leadership we have a $14 billion dollar deficit, the worst prisons in America, historically low education funding, millions in the ranks of the uninsured, big job loss, and a housing market in shambles. It may be a working relationship that the Governor likes, but is it really one that the voters should like?

(I recognize that this is part of a short-term view of the situation. In the long term, I really don't think this initiative will do what it says. The idea that California lawmakers, who have all sorts of other options to govern - big-city and county Supervisor posts, the US Congress, Assembly-members who want to graduate to the State Senate - would bolt themselves to their chairs for 12 years is a stretch. I don't particularly think there should be term limits at all; this 12-year limit, where you have to decide whether to join the Senate or Assembly at the very beginning of your career, is kind of detrimental, in my view.

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