Immediately after President Bush indicated his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment in February 2004, I decided not to make a planned contribution to his campaign and decided as well not to give to the Republcan National Committee or any other GOP outfit. But, as the year progressed and the Democratic (and media) attacks became ever more shrill, especially with the release (and box office success) of Michael Moore‘s festival of deceits in June, I changed my mind and ended up giving money to my party and to various candidates. I thought my side needed resources to defend itself against mean-spirited and dishonest attacks.
My finances being tighter this year, I thought I couldn’t afford to contribute to Governor Schwarzenegger’s “California Recovery Team,” an effort to raise money to support four reform initiatives on this fall’s state ballot. But, it seemed that whenever I worked out at my gym and looked up at the TVs, I saw another commercial from some left-wing interest group attacking not only those proposed reforms but the Governor himself. The commercials were dishonest as well as mean. I wanted to support my governor’s efforts to clean up Sacramento.
When Log Cabin e-mailed me an invite to a fundraiser with that good man (which I will be heading right after I post this), I looked through my finances and found the means to make a donation. I may have to cut back in a few areas, but that seems entirely fitting since one of the propositions on the ballot, Prop. 76, would place a limit on state spending.
His political opponents decry the governor as a movie star who isn’t very bright, using similar terms to those Democrats and their media allies used to attack Ronald Reagan a generation ago, another California governor with an ambitious reform agenda. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s record shows both a man with command of the issues (and problems) facing the Golden State and a real commitment to reform. While George Will, a keen observer of politics observed that our Governor does not completely understand his own political problems, “he does understand a large part of the state’s.”
Indeed, almost since the moment Schwarzeneger was elected, he has worked to fix the state’s problems. Within four months of his inaugural, he put two constitutional amendments on the ballot, one to authorize $15 billion in debt to cover the state’s budget deficit and the other to require a balanced budget. The Governor campaigned for these measures and despite early polls indicating that they would be defeated, both passed overwhelmingly. Not only that. He ordered a performance review of state government and pressed the recalcitrant legislature to make changes in the state’s workmen’s compensation system, a program which was causing many businesses to flee the state.
These aren’t the only accomplishments of this supposedly charismatic doofus. In less than two years in office, he has repealed Governor Davis’ tripling of the state’s car tax, signed two state budgets without increasing taxes and repealed the law which gave driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. And he did all this while facing a state legislature which sees increased spending as the only solution to any problem facing the state (even those of their creation), a legislature which kowtows to a great variety of liberal special interest groups, particularly public employee unions.
Indeed, one reason the Governor’s approval is so low is because the teachers’ unions have taken money from their members in order to pay for a constant barrage of nasty ads attacking the Governor. Despite these ads and negative press — and polls which indicate that most, if not all, of his reform proposals will go down to defeat in November — Arnold Schwarzenegger has stood firm, campaigning for what he believes is best for the Golden State.
While State Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-Castro Street) has called his veto of the same-sex marriage bill as a failure of leadership, the Governor has made clear that he vetoed the bill because he does “not believe the Legislature can reverse an initiative approved by the people of California.” PrismWarden says that Governor did the responsible thing because the legislation is either “unconstitutional or presents . . . constitutional problems.”
California’s Governor added sexual orientation and marital status to the Unruh Civil Rights Act (AB 1400), signed legislation prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in health care plans (AB 1586), granted equal recognition for gay and lesbian couples under Proposition 13 for Property Tax appraisals, and granted pension benefits for gay and lesbian couples who retired before his predecessor finally signed a law recognizing Domestic Partnerships.
In short, despite the angry rhetoric of Democrats in Sacramento, a number of left-wing interest groups and public employee unions, my man Ahnuld has accomplished a good deal in his short term in office — and continues to put forward reforms to fix California’s dysfunctional political system. He has shown a great command of the issues and an understanding of the problems facing our state.
Even if this one-time box office star never made another movie, he could still live extremely well on the income he made from his flicks — as well as that he earned from a variety of business he has developed. At an age when some in the entertainment business consider retirement, Arnold Schwazenegger decided to turn his lifelong interest in politics into action and ran for office.
In his campaign — and now in office, he has been unfairly attacked by groups who would lose power if his reforms were enacted. Their power has maintained a status quo in which state government has wasted taxpayer money, penalized businesses, thwarted economic development and based education policy on serving teachers rather than students.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has shown tremendous energy and initiative as Govenor of the nation’s largest state. To be sure, he has, as George Will noted, made a “raft of rookie mistakes,” par for the course for a novice politician.
Despite these mistakes, like Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger has pressed on, more interested in serving the people who elected him than the special interests who have long dominated state politics. I may have to cut back a little to afford tonight’s fundraiser, but I am proud to support my Govenor and his agenda to reform my adopted home state.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com