Only two California governors in recent history have been able to carry out major tax increases: Reagan and Wilson. Schwarzenegger could very likely be the third. In a state Legislature chock-a-block with Neanderthal Republicans and liberal Democrats, only a GOP governor can peel off the handful of moderate Republican votes necessary to pass a rational budget with the required two-thirds majority.
Schwarzenegger could very well wind up being a bitterly disappointing cutout for the old Pete Wilson team. On the other hand, remember, it’s Arnold who hired them, not vice versa. It would have been much more satisfying if this recall election — which sparked the greatest wave of voter enthusiasm in modern state history — had ended offering us better choices. It hasn’t. But the world is not coming to an end next Tuesday, only the Davis administration. And that alone is worth the price of admission.
I was saddened to see the candidate whom the Weekly endorsed and my friend — Arianna — withdraw, thereby narrowing even further our ballot choices. Peter Camejo’s slow surrender to Bustamante — making his campaign only a symbolic showcase rather than a real option — has also been discouraging for many on the left.
In the end, however, it’s probably better that Huffington and Camejo both pulled back, taking the bogus spoiler issue off the table. This way, when Gray Davis loses next week, he and his supporters will have no one left to blame except Gray Davis.