In the annals of California politics, rarely has anything been as incompetent as the run-up to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Nov. 8 special election. Another pearl of his "year of reform" turned to dust last week when a Sacramento Superior Court judge struck his redistricting initiative, Proposition 77, from the ballot. He should immediately move to cancel the election. . . .Damn, dude. That was good. And this guy is a Republican.
Mistake No. 1: Instead of carefully crafting an initiative on the complex and often arcane subject of redistricting, vetting it properly and building support, Team Arnold did nothing for months. Then realizing they needed a measure for the November special election they were dying to call, they made mistake No. 2 by embracing a slapdash initiative drafted by political activist Ted Costa.
The governor's lawyers then committed mistake No. 3 by rewriting the Costa measure to enhance its political viability, thus creating several confusing versions. Mistake No. 4 was placing Schwarzenegger's prestige and his agenda for reform in the hands of Costa's operation, where a low level clerk sent the wrong draft of the initiative to the printer.
That was followed by mistake No. 5: Schwarzenegger's political team and his allies in the business community qualified an initiative they apparently had never read. So, of course, nobody figured out it was the wrong version. . . .
Is it any wonder this hackneyed special election has all but destroyed Schwarzenegger's standing with the voters? He is facing virtually sure defeat this November with his few remaining ballot measures, and even if he runs for re-election in 2006, it is doubtful he can win.
That last graf I quote above makes me think, though, about the Schwarzenegger production company and what rhetoric will result if, as one would expect now, his Special Election gives him zero wins this November. I think it would go something like this:
"The special interests have done it again, subverting the will of the people and using their sans-consent provided union dues to tout lies and misrepresentations of these much needed reforms. Thus, the people were hoodwinked. You weren't, however, hoodwinked when you signed the measures. You knew your will then. But they got to you with their brain washing. The people haven't really spoken because the unions yelled louder than your votes would've if they hadn't spent all that money. So you should only listen to me from now on. My will - I mean, your will - through me will be done next time. But not their will, even though you seemed to vote on their side."
Nah, that doesn't seem to work. Wow, he really might be sunk.
Unless that perception turns out to be just entertainment since no Californian can preceive anything truthfully, right Mike Murphy?