Worst. governor. ever.

December 31, 2010

The media post-mortem on the legacy of soon-to-be-former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been unfolding all week and it has not been pretty.  The verdict seems to be that the Hollywood actor who rode into office on a wave of hollow promises may be California’s worst governor ever. [Calitics]

The Sacramento Bee’s readers agreed there was one word that encapsulated his misrule: failure.

George Skelton has recognized that the recall of Governor Gray Davis in the fall of 2003, which brought Schwarzenegger to office, was a major mistake. John Myers of KQED (and former KSBYnews anchor) offered a more in-depth assessment of Arnold’s signature failure, his inability to fix the state’s budget mess.

And Schwarzegger leaves office with approval ratings at record lows – at or below the numbers Gray Davis had when he was recalled.

The governor’s failures were ideological in nature. Arnold Schwarzenegger became the worst governor in California history through his unwavering commitment to a far-right economic agenda, his fealty to the large corporations who helped elect him back in 2003, and his pursuit of a shock doctrine attack on the state’s institutions and prosperity in the service of his ideology and of his wealthy backers.

Early in his tenure in office, Arnold rejected advice from Warren Buffet and others that he needed to raise taxes in 2004 to close the state’s budget gap. Instead of this responsible – and necessary – solution, Arnold stuck to his ideological guns. He pushed through a costly campaign promise to repeal the restoration of a higher Vehicle License Fee, costing the state $6 billion a year in expenditures to local government to make up the lost funds.

The governor’s “solution” to the structural revenue shortfall was to borrow our way out of the mess. A total of $25 billion in bonds were sold to help pay the operating costs of the state in 2004 and 2005. While deficit spending in a recession is sensible, California’s economy was in recovery during those years, and could have handled a tax increase.

In fact, critics argue, a tax increase, especially on property taxes, might have slowed the growth of the real estate bubble that eventually crippled the state’s economy. The debt service on those bonds takes away from other spending priorities, and lessens the state’s ability to borrow to build infrastructure.

Jerry Brown will be sworn in on Monday.

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Mad Hatter, thinkaboutit: I will continue to call this governor the worst ever, and no, I did not vote for him, ever. The recall of Gray Davis was a witch hunt, period, and never should have occurred. Schwarzenegger’s arrogance in thinking that he was going to go to Sacramento to bash some heads and make things happen was delusional at best. Politics is the art of compromise; if you have no intention of compromising, you will not go far in politics.

As for everyone “loving” Ronald Reagan; please. stop. it. California had the best, FREE college education before Reagan rode in on his high horse and decided that those students who were protesting did not deserve to go to college for free and as a result of his directives, our colleges now cost thousands upon thousands of dollars and most who graduate have debts that take years and years to pay off. Don’t even get me stated about Iran-Contra or his attacks on unions; no not every one thinks that Reagan is “beloved”.

Reagan wasn’t perfect; that is obvious. But he was a far cry from what currently passes for state governing and as leader of the free world. In these offices their most basic function is to protect its citizens. The current administrations have miserably failed to do even that. As for unions, even union members themselves are “over it” their arrogant strong-arm tactics. Enough.

“In these offices their most basic function is to protect its citizens. The current administrations have miserably failed to do even that.” Would your ire possibly be misdirected? As far as I can remember, the President in charge when we were attacked on our soil was George W. Bush. (remember September 11, 2001?) Has there been a terrorist attack on American soil that you know about since President Obama took office? I sure haven’t been aware of any, are you?

And “as for unions”; ever since Reagan took office, there has been a distinct correlation between the rapidly shrinking percentage of union workers to the wage gap that usually separates middle class from those in the lower wage earner category as well as those living in poverty. Unions are not the problem, IMO, it is the LACK of unions that has made our society weaker.

Point taken about 9/11, and yes, I “remember” this occurred. But to any continued safety in the aftermath goes to Bush’s efforts that were put into place. The present administration continues to facilitate the breaching of our borders, as Middle Easterners funnel into America through Mexico.

So if any president gets the onus for enabling 9/11, it’s Clinton. Osama’s financial and operational fingerprints have been evident since Somalia and who knows what! Clinton had plenty warning when our embassies were blown apart in Tanzania and Kenya, WTC had been bombed the FIRST time, and of course, the USS Cole in Yemen. So people died well before 9/11. Question is, do YOU remember this?

Even when Clinton was handed Obama on a platter, he balked, allowing a foothold for Osama to become established that was unconscionable.


I’ve got no beef with Bush and 9/11…and you won’t find him folding himself in half like Gumby to schmooze with questionable foreign dignitaries, either. So while you’re happy to pin 9/11 on Bush, which I consider appalling, please reconsider the context of your reasoning when lives were lost years on American soil before the towers fell in Manhattan. Osama’s ire against the United States on September 11 was nothing new; it was merely more fully developed.

As for labor unions, we’ll simply agree to disagree on their (present-day) usefulness.

For someone who uses the moniker “thinkaboutit”, you sure don’t seem to; case in point, your eagerness to paint Clinton has having “allowed” 9/11 to happen. Let’s see, Bush was finally appointed to the office of President in late November, 2000, takes the oath of office on January 20th, 2001, proceeds to take more “vacation time” in the eight months he is in office than any other president in history, gets a daily briefing memo delivered to him in person in Crawford Texas by a CIA liaison titled “Osama determined to use aircraft as missiles” in late August of 2001, his vice president, Cheney, is “in charge” of the terrorism task force that never held any meetings prior to 9/11, Richard Clarke (a Republican who served under Reagan, Bush I and Clinton) tries for months to get a meeting with either Cheney or Bush to explain how dangerous he considers Osama bin Laden to be but never gets the time of day from anyone in the administration, BUT, it is all Bill Clinton’s fault that Osama engineered an attack on 9/11? I really really don’t thing that you have “thought about it” at all. Nice job of keeping your head in the sand.

It’s no secret that the attacks of 9/11 were years in the making. Regardless of Clarke’s perspective of President Bush, Clinton dropped the ball as Commander-in-Chief. He could have dealt with Osama multiple times. His failure to do so resulted in documented loss of innocent lives on American soil, plain and simple. This isn’t opinion; it’s fact. Did Clinton have redeeming qualities? Absolutely. But his handling of Osama ruined his legacy for me far more than his fondling of Monica Lewinsky.

Bob, I can appreciate a discussion with disagreements, but your apparent need to be insulting in order to make point is more than a little perplexing.

If you are insulted by my assertion that your apparent “need” to blame Bill Clinton and Bill Clinton ONLY for the attacks of 9/11, then perhaps you need to re-access your thoughts; do you give ANY culpability to the Bush Administration for NOT preventing the 9/11 attack? In other words, in your world, does the Bush team bear any of the responsibility for 9/11 at all? If you can admit that the Bush team dropped the ball, even a little bit, then perhaps there is “hope” that you actually do “think about it”. However, if you do not believe that Bush has any responsibility at all for 9/11, then you are beyond redemption as a person who with whom I can have a rational discussion. Please “think about it” and give a response, thanks.

Ronald Reagan broke the air trafficontrollers union

, who were on strike over un safe conditions , Replaced by low wage scab labor, we got what we paid for, so who is more responsible? the guy who fired the union over safety issues or the guy who stole all the W keys from white house computers.?

Nah, Bob. I’m not buyin’ it. Rather than specifically respond to my comments about Clinton’s lack of action, you took the easy route toward deflection and instead went on and on about Bush.

I’ve no “need” over substance here and I’m not here to defend Bush all day. I made several points about Clinton’s ability to nip Osama in the bud. Tragically, they are factual.

What is your seemingly insatiable need to be snarky and even personally offensive does not interest me a bit. Instead, it lowers the bar for insightful discussion. What passes for free time in my 24 hours is much too valuable for traversing through that. Thanks, but no thanks.

May you have a great (and more cheerful) 2011.

– thinkaboutit

Wow. I am impressed; by not addressing my concern that you will not assign any blame for 9/11 on the Bush Administration, you not only deflect from my assertion that you cannot see anything Bush & Co. ever did wrong, but you then come up with the canard that my (in your words) refusal to address your concerns that Clinton passed on too many opportunities to capture bin Laden that I am the “hyper” partisan. Nice job! Do you remember a little movie that came out around the second term of Clinton called “Wag the Dog”? The fictional president in that movie started a war to deflect attention away from his “indiscretions” he was engaging in. Do you also remember the chant “No war for Monica”? This conservative cheer also came out during Clinton’s second term which was directed at the President to not try and deflect attention away from his sexual encounters with Monica by focusing on Osama bin Laden; is it any wonder that Clinton did not pursue bin Laden during that time? Yeah, he could have done more, he could have started a war, he could have sent in bombers or invaded Afghanistan to get bin Laden, but do you honestly believe that the Republicans in Congress would have stood by and not done anything about those actions?

So go ahead and “stand by your man” George W. Bush, keep on blaming Bill Clinton for the Bush Administration’s complete and utter failure to even address the possibility that bin Laden was determined to strike at America, even though the outgoing National Security Advisor of Clinton warned the incoming NSA Condi Rice that “Terrorism is going to be your number one concern”; as for my being personally offensive to you with my snark, if it means anything to you, I apologize for any insult I have visited upon you.

It is interesting how now all you people call this governor the worst ever. But it was you same people that couldn’t wait to get a movie star into office. That’s one reason California is so messed up cause they never use their brain to think things out.

If that be the case, why is President Reagan so beloved to this day?

There is a big difference between Reagan and Schwarzenegger’s arrogance in thinking. One thing is for sure, The governator will never be PREZ!

I’m in no way endorsing Arnold. My question was related to Mad Hatter’s comment about Reagan’s “movie star” as a disqualifying factor. For all of President Obama’s star quality, his carefully orchestrated trip to Brandenberg could in no way hold a candle to Reagan’s arrival in the ’80s. Movie star or not, President Reagan’s gutsy call-out of “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” was one of the most badass presidential moves in U.S. history.

America could use a few more “actors” like that.

President Reagan at Brandenburg, West Berlin:


Ronald Reagan had a kitchen cabinet of allies and friends from California who advised him during his terms. This group of ten to twelve rich businessmen were all strong proponents of the free enterprise system. His wealthy, conservative California backers included: Alfred Bloomingdale, Earl Brian, William French Smith, Charles Wick, auto dealer Holmes Tuttle, beer baron Joseph Coors, steel magnate and philanthropist Earle Jorgensen, and about four to six others. Coors was the major funder and most active participant. He also funded many think tanks and policy institutes at about this time, including the Heritage Foundation.

Little, if anything, that Reagan did would not have been orchestrated and certainly, approved, by the aforementioned extreme right wing group of men who decided he should be the President in the first place.

All presidential campaigns are orchestrated. President Obama not only broke the bank to get elected in (his favorite word) “unprecedented” fashion, he called out Hollywood to stage elaborate sets, lighting, and pen symphonic orchestrations. For all we know, Obama has amassed more press conferences in two years than every president combined since Kennedy. I think a lot of us would do over the previous elections in a heartbeat – whether for California governor or our nation’s President.

Meg Whitman’s campaign investments notwithstanding, what did those millions upon millions (and now, taxpayer TRILLIONS) get him? More importantly, what did it get America?

Obama Job Approval / Disapproval


THEN: The Anti-Reagan (June 9. 2009)


NOW: Spinning toward 2012:


You don’t get a do-over -so do your homework before voting.

Whitman epitomized a non-qualified candidate. Her history was rife with ‘entitled’ attitudes and actions and bad judgements. You really think someone who would blow 141+million on a campaign for Governor lives in your reality?

You’ve got an axe to grind with President Obama. That’s fine.

You’re entitled. But please come at it without the TeaBag talking points if you’re looking for a conversation.

Homework? No “TeaBag” talking points, only my own. Don’t like them? I’m all right with that. I agree with you with regard to Whitman, though, an opinion that plenty would consider Tea-scented. I don’t mind you criticizing what you think is my opinion, but at least follow your own advice when you dispense it in a porcelain cup.

“badass”? Running a country is not anything like running through the

neigborhood pretending the school yard is the OK Corall.

Your post is a prime example of an “image” over reality. As long as the

people choose nostalgia or hero worship over a person equipped to address the serious business of governing, the people lose.

if your image of “badass” is the stereotype of the OK Corral, so be it. Personally, I think badass comes in all shapes, sizes and vocations.

I think Reagan was a badass. Why? Because he didn’t need to consult a poll every ten minutes to decide his most politically correct opinion. He said exactly what he thought – without apology and for America’s best interests, not unto his own self-realization. I think Mother Teresa was a “badass” (no offense intended to the Christian sister) because of her humility and unrelenting devotion to the sick and outcasts that others would count as disposable.

My beef about President Obama is that he let his most devoted supporters down. How unfortunate to see good friends of mine defend him so wholeheartedly as he made campaign promise after promise and not make good on so many of them. Too many of Mr. Obama’s supporters were so filled with optimism, only to be thoroughly disillusioned before his first 100 days. I’d hoped to Heaven I would be wrong about him, and I was every bit willing to eat crow for not believing him, but proof says otherwise. Still, he is my elected Commander-in-Chief and fellow citizen, so I support every good effort that he is yet to make in the best interests of my neighbor. You won’t hear me cryin’ with those movie stars threatening to move to Europe ’cause their guy didn’t get elected, yet still they’re here.

Whoever fills the next governor’s or president’s seat, may it be someone who remembers who he or she works for and faithfully serve in such a way. It isn’t too much to ask.

I see America’s best days ahead…not even because of the next candidate I vote for, but because the people have awakened themselves to giving a rip again in earnest about their country. If you think the 2008 or 2010 was controversial, wait till 2012.

People are demanding to be united again and we want values evident in our public servants, such as integrity, responsible leadership and courage. Why? Because we love our country and want to see our children better off than ourselves – in spite of our mistakes and bad choices. Call want for a badass in office “TeaBag talking points,” call it “nostalgia,” “image over reality,” or whatever cutesy moniker you wish to ascribe it.

I simply call it “American.”

Oh what a tangled web government weaved,

When they put other interest to deceive,

Now they say the state (us people) have a budget problem.

Arnold and the Democrat controlled bodies of government were not able or willing to balance the budget. Brown and the Democrat controlled bodies of government will not be able to or have the will to balance the budget. The California budget has been out of balance for many, many years and just keeps getting worse every year. The only thing that is going to save California is a combination of massive tax increases and massive across the board spending cuts. It is evident that the California government leaders, and the people of California, do not have the fiscal discipline to do what needs to be done to save the state from total financial collapse. Unless strong measures are taken by California to control the spending and balance the budget, the state will lead the USA down the road to becoming a third rate nation in short order. Look around, all layers of government from the federal to many of the states and cities are carrying unsustainable debt. Eventually the interest on the debt alone will bring them down. I know that describes dire circumstances, and things most don’t want to talk about, much less do something about, but that is where we are at right now. When that happens we all lose.

It does appear to me to be gradually (but with more fluctuating corrections) following the similarities of the fall of the Roman Empire

I am hoping the newly elected big guns have something to offer in 2011

Happy New Years Everyone

Remember the auto-thief, Darrell Issa?

Issa must have one of the most ignorant constituencies in the State.

“Who ya gonna vote for, Jasper?”

“That auto thief looks good to me.”

Fading memory is rife. Issa spread the lube for a well planned ‘modification’ of Calif. by the big (R) players from DC. George Shultz (remember?) lead the Actor’s ‘economics’ team to make it all better. They knew that California needed to be put in it’s place. Too big and, at one time, actually capable of influencing national policy.

Ah, for some quality time, spend a few minutes reminiscing over Pete Wilson. Particularly the energy-dereg / Enron campaign donations lazy-susan. Oh, and he’s still in there making mud.


Naomi Klein wrote a book published in 2007 “The Shock Doctrine” about how very right wing economic policies can only be implemented into an economy when there has been a severe “shock” to that country (or state) in the form of a natural disaster, conditions of war, or severe economic contraction; California has suffered from the implementation of such policies, quoting the above linked Calitics article: “But the conclusion is clear and obvious. Arnold failed not because he couldn’t get his agenda through Sacramento – quite the opposite. He failed because so much of his right-wing shock doctrine did make it through Sacramento to become law.” which is followed up with this: “Arnold’s failure is the failure of his right-wing ideology. No wonder California voters soundly rejected Meg Whitman last month, who promised to continue Arnold’s right-wing policies.” Does Jerry Brown have all the answers? Not by a long shot, IMO, but he will hopefully not cling to brain dead ideology like Arnold did, and so he may find the needed answers by being open to the best ideas and actually work towards leading us out of the quagmire Arnold has left us in. Jerry Brown has my best wishes that he succeeds and does the job well, but my suspicion is that we are in for a few very painful years ahead in California.

Your funny,the dems have controlled Cali for the last couple of decades and their unions and social programs have BK’d the state,plane and simple.No single governor from a opposite party will be effective here in Cali. Get ready for a tax and spend government ran by democrats.

Wow. Your versus you’re, maybe? plane versus plain, maybe? As for tax and spend, is that really going to be worse than cut and borrow?

Until the special interests are no longer in charge of any government, we are doomed to fail.

danika, you have half the answer.

The other half involves the voters in this state becoming better informed and less subject to emotional manipulation. Too many people let carefully crafted appeals to fears and hatred determine how they vote. (This is in addition to promises of “pork” or appeals to NIMBY selfishness.)

As long as most people rely primarily on mass media to inform them of issues and the positions of politicians, we will continue to get short-sighted governance with emphasis on catering to special interests. Until advertising (particularly broadcast advertising) has less ability to affect elections, those with a political agenda (good or bad) will use/abuse it to get elected and compromise any noble intents they have to whatever extent necessary to stay in power.

I like this site because it provides perspectives that are often not given by mass media. I don’t think that it is always objective but at least the honesty seems to be unaffected by financial compromise (so far). Most of the people who comment regularly seem similarly honest although I think that passion sometimes clouds the judgment. (It can happen to me too — we’re all human.)

bobfromsanluis has read too much from the left and nothing from elsewhere! Imagine being so loopy that you think California’s democrat government put through a bunch of right wing ideology even though they were in total control of both houses. Bob has made sure that the good readers know that he does not know even what right wing ideology is. The California I lived in during Arnies term had him with a democrat chief of staff and no right wing measure of any substance to pass during Arnies term or the terms of the previous 4 governors

Most rational and informed people feel California’s problems have to do with pursuing too much , too often a LEFT wing ideological agenda and being ignorant of the economic principles that actually govern the economy and human affairs.

Jerry, is that you piping up from Arizona? In a serious reply to your assertion; the information that I posted was “in quotes” because it was from the linked article this thread was built from, not my words, but I suspect that you didn’t bother to read any of the linked articles. If you do bother to read the main article you will see how the implementation of far right policies was done through various budget cuts, and don’t forget the very first thing Arnold went for, rolling back the raise in DMV fees. I will debate you if you want about the failures of Arnold as Governor, but you need to do some reading first so you know who is saying what and what is a fact or just an assertion. Good day.

What the Governator proved by default is the fact that California is ungovernable due to it’s super majority voting rules and political boundary gerrymandering. Until the 40 state senate and 80 assembly districts are redrawn to reflect local geographical and existing county & city boundaries and not by majority voter party affiliation will our elected officials truly represent California Citizens and be held accountable to the expectations of the local populace. The legislators need to operate on the simple majority vote rule with the governor having the power of line item veto. If the legislators want to restore a vetoed item or overrule the governor they can counter with a 2/3 vote.

It is my opinion that a fractured government is much worse than a government run by a simple majority. If one party or the other gains control of the legislative branch and the Governors office without the advantage of gerrymandering political districts. Voters, at least could hold that party and their elected representatives accountable for their failures and successes.

The Governator proved that the Governor of California is basically powerless and just a figure head. The Governator proved that a intentionally fractured legislative system intended to keep both political parties in power is the biggest and most expensive failure in California history.

the best government is that which governs least. Our liberties and freedoms are best preserved with a divided government that does little. The more government does the overall worse it will be for all of us in the long run.

Bob likes the tyranny of the majority because he feels he is in the majority…he probably isn’t, but if he felt his issues would always lose with a simple majority he would probably like things to require a 2/3 majority.

A line item veto is a great idea at state, local and national levels!

Governor is not powerless, ours is a system of checks and balances and the fact that a republican can’t get much done with a democrat legislature is good and proper.

I always liked Gray Davis and thought his recall was a huge mistake. He was a victim of Texas energy barons (Enron etc) and the people of this state didn’t have the sense to stick with him. Though Arnold had some OK environmental and social justice issues right most of his act didn’t help us succeed in the difficult climate we all faced the past decade.

It’s time for Californians, and the rest of the country, to make it a point to know who they’re voting for. It requires a bit of digging, but there’s usually at least one candidate

better suited for an office than the others. Simply put, you wouldn’t hire someone who can’t swim to be a lifeguard, right?

Clearly, Ahnold was elected because too many voters liked his movie roles and never gave a second thought to whether or not he was capable of governing. Perhaps the price we’re paying will be a wake-up call.

Another problem specific to California are the Propositions that make their way onto

our ballots. Almost more important than understanding the ramifications, is to know

where the money behind them came from. Many are sponsored by special interests outside the state and are not concerned with the best interests of Californians at all.

I agree about voting for the name you know. While I like Arnie movies, I did not vote for him. I thought he had NOTHING that qualified him for the job. I went with McClintock the first time around. Most of my friends and family I was shocked would not go with McClintock because he wasn’t a name. It wasn’t that they didn’t like his policies.

It reminds me of the ’92 Presidential election. They interviewed a group of women who were going to vote for Clinton. They asked why. I.e. what policies etc. swayed them. NONE. They thought he had nice hair!! This is the SAD state of our politics on both sides of the aisle. We have a VAST group of MORONS voting the vanity vote and no substance. Then when they get the pile of shit they voted for, they walk around wondering why things are bad. DUH!

I gave you a thumbs up based on your observation about how or why “too many” citizens pick a candidate to support. I voted for Clinton because of his policies and he did a fantastic job. I would vote for him again in a heartbeat. Bush was one of the worse thing that ever happened to this country. I am a non partisan voter and do not discriminate between candidates based on affiliations.

Thank you for the thumbs up, Cindy.

One more thing that bothers me – something that never seems to enter most folks’ minds in a presidential election, is the composition of the Supreme Court.

We can thank that absence of thought for Roberts, Alito and Thomas.

At least Scalia’s literate. None of them above advancing their private

views in what should be decisions made for Justice and the greater good of all Americans. And we are saddled with them for life.

Like you, I consider myself non-partisan -which was easier before the Clinton impeachment and the ascension of Bush. Starr, Rove, Gingrich, The Swiftboaters, et al did so much to poison the political well it pretty much ruined my trust in the GOP and the way they are

acting in the lead-in to 2012, is not encouraging.

The power they wield affects us all – sometimes, adversely and considering the difficulty in challenging their decisions, it ought

to be a part of everyone’s voting process.

Sadly that’s the truth about our society, people vote based on image, not political platforms.

Yet another prime example is all the folks who voted for Obama based on his skin tone, not his politics.

I’m thrilled to have voted for our first black President, but only because his policies

were far better than the other guy’s. I’m sure he lost more votes due to color than he gained. Our culture is still riddled with discrimination against anyone of color, women, gays and non christians (whatever they are). Drop by your next tea party extravaganza to see amerikans at their worst.

Isn’t our President the first bi-racial President??? He is still half white, yes?

Good for you, danika. Certain segment of the population seem to have forgotten that. Doing so would make it somewhat more difficult to keep pushing the “He’s a muslim” meme.

Happy New Year folks.

Even those special interests inside the State are not in the best interest of Californians. It’s gotta stop.

I’LL BE BACK……………………………..MWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!