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More reasons why the Governator will win

By Bruce Walker
web posted September 19, 2005

Arnold SchwarzeneggerThe rumors of the political death of Arnold Schwarzenegger continue to be exaggerated. My recent articles have noted several reasons why he is likely to be re-elected in 2006. There are more and more reasons to be hopeful about his reelection.

Proposition 75, which would dramatically reduce the union political money flowing into the coffers of Democrats in state elections, is almost certain to pass, making it tougher for any Democrat to win state elections. All polls show that measure passing easily.

Arnold also has no organized opposition within the Republican Party, unlike Bill Simon when he ran with a divided Republican Party against Gray Davis in 2002, and the large percentage of conservative voters who express dissatisfaction with the Governor today will end up voting for him on Election Day.

Democrats, by contrast, are completely divided. The Recall Election itself was a perfect example of that. Cruz Bustamante sort of opposed recall, but then winked and said that if a Californian was going to support recall, then that voter should vote for him.

Polls, read by Leftists, lie. Democrats are also more unpopular than Republicans in California, though both are unpopular. The Democrat California Legislature rates lower in public opinion polls than the Republican California Governor. Today, polls show nothing running against something (Arnold), and when everything is unpopular, nothing wins, but how quickly people forget that Gray Davis was more unpopular than Arnold Schwarzenegger, and yet Davis won reelection against Bill Simon very easily.

Arnold is also a bigger than life character. He is a solid and successful professional actor who rose up from genuinely humble origins to genuine greatness. When he won the recall election, the waters were muddled, and that great skill in communicating directly with the people was by circumstances inhibited. Anyone who heard him speaks a year ago at the Republican Convention and who still believes that Governor Schwarzenegger is not an awesome orator and powerful campaigner is willfully ignorant.

And then there is another dimension to the Governor, one that becomes increasingly apparent as he governs. Arnold is very shrewd. He has political savvy, but more importantly, he knows how to hide that savvy, much like another Republican chief executive.

As one example, the multiple initiative reforms which he has supported all have to do with reforming education or ending gerrymandering. These all may lose, but that will not damage the Governor at all: he is taking a clear position of change on issues that most Californians feel need to be changed, and, moreover, he is willing to be courageous in championing real change. While Democrats will doubtless pile on after those particular initiatives fail in November, the hangover for Democrats will be dreadful. Having opposed everything and supported nothing, they will be perceived as simply Sacramento polls.

His veto of same sex marriages on the grounds that the people of California cannot be trumped by the California Legislature both appeals to those who resent the insider game of Sacramento politics, but also it will quietly win over more enthusiastic support from social conservatives who, based upon the initiative squarely on this issue, constitute a huge though silent majority of Californians.

And now he has vetoed a bill by the Legislature which would have allowed illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses. Conventional political wisdom is that this will offend Hispanic voters, but Governor Richardson, himself and Hispanic in New Mexico, obviously does not think so.

What Leftists in Hollywood and Manhattan do not grasp is that illegal immigrants take jobs away from legal immigrants and from Hispanic-Americans working their way up the economic ladder. Illegal immigration is scandalous and everyone knows it. What will the Democrat nominee say in 2006 about the veto of a bill which would allow illegal immigrants to get California driver's licenses? Will Westly or Angelides actually support illegal immigrants getting driver's licenses? No.

The impulse to hurt political competitors, the need to obstruct reform, and the itch to fight like savages to preserve "the system" plagues Democrats in California as much as it plagues Democrats nationally. Much of the problem is simply bigness.

The best hope for Democrats to regain power is in men like Bill Richardson, who has cut taxes, who has taken, at least symbolically, a stand against illegal immigration, and who is respectful and calm when he talks about political opponents. The worst chance for Democrats to regain power are shrill, insulated, "entitled" elites who are comic punching bags for wiser, better men like Schwarzenegger.

Bruce Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.

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