Schwarzenegger terminated at polls

With something like 80% of the ballots counted, all the statewide propositions up for a vote in yesterday’s special election appear headed for defeat. I voted against the six supported by Schwarzenegger, and for propositions 79 and 80. I am pleasantly surprised that the Schwarzenegger six all seem headed for defeat, and unsurprised that 79 and 80 are also headed for defeat.

I remember Schwarzenegger brandishing a broom, promising to sweep the capitol clean. But the fact of the special election demonstrates a failure to work with the legislature. And the fact of his insistence on holding it–as election day headlines proclaimed it the most expensive in state history–despite a widespread feeling that none of these issues justified the expense of a special election, demonstrates miscalculation. Reinforcing the sense of poor judgment:

  • Proposition 73 would have required doctors to give parents 48 hours notice before performing abortions on minors, injecting a radical right wing issue, presumably with the hope of attracting the rabid right to the polls. But this is California, not the South. Evangelicals aren’t nearly so prominent here, and pro-choice groups pulled out all the stops to bring voters to the polls who are considerably less likely to support Schwarzenegger’s agenda. At this writing, however, the margin of defeat (51.5%) for this proposition is the narrowest of the lot, pitting the safety of teens–who will likely obtain abortions whether they are legal or not–against the seemingly sensible notion of parental control.
  • Proposition 74 would have extended new teachers’ probation from two years to five years. It was one of three propositions that prompted at least one teacher to ask, publicly, why the Governor had it in for them.
  • Proposition 75 sought to limit union influence in politics, while doing nothing about corporate influence. With reports of record oil company profits following new record gasoline prices, Schwarzenegger clearly targetted the wrong fat cats.
  • Proposition 76 was an obvious power grab. At least one editorial headlined that this proposition would have increased the powers of an already powerful Governor. Given his failure to work with the legislature, this seems positively undemocratic.
  • Proposition 77 would have changed the reapportionment procedure, presumably making some legislators’ seats less “safe.” But it reinforced the image of an imperial Governor, who apparently wants a more compliant legislature.
  • Proposition 78 illustrated Schwarzenegger’s preference for corporations, at the expense of everyone else. In this case, it was the pharmaceutical companies.

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