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Jan 18, 2008 - 04:30 PM

Eulogy for the people's governor

by Carmen Balber
Very interesting article in the LA Times today: The governor is calling himself a flip-flopper. But he thinks it's a good thing. He has a point, to some extent. A humble governor who can recognize a mistake and learn from it could be an asset in stagnant Sacramento.

Unfortunately for the people who elected Arnold the outsider as a different kind of governor, the changes in his political outlook have moved him closer to, not taken him away from, the political status quo:

Once a loud proponent of term limits, the governor endorsed Proposition 93 this week. The measure on the February 5 ballot would extend the terms of office of current legislative leaders and much of the rest of the legislature. These are the same guys Arnold used to revel in calling "girlie men." Now he can't bear to part with them.

The man who called for sunshine in the Capitol -- and claimed he would not sign a bill that didn't have a full, public hearing in both houses of the legislature -- quickly became the king of back room deals.

His first State of the State had the governor 'blowing up boxes' to abolish a host of boards and commissions that outsider Arnold viewed as Capitol waste. Now? It's A-OK with the gov that "people just love to hold on to those because it gives them a chance to appoint someone...".

And perhaps the biggest theme of Arnold's recall campaign was that when money goes in, favors go out, and the people lose. This biggest populist promise of all, to not take special interest money, was abandoned before he was even inaugurated, and Arnold quickly got on track to become the most prolific fundraiser in California history.

Schwarzenegger has changed his tune, but a lot of those 'mistakes' were the positions that endeared him to voters the most.

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