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CA: Arnold’s Abyss - Can Dick Morris save the spiraling governor?
LA Weekly ^ | MAY 6 - 12, 2005 | BILL BRADLEY

Posted on 05/05/2005 3:04:09 AM PDT by calcowgirl

Too bad there’s never an egg timer around when you need one. Arnold Schwarzenegger cooked his political future some more this week, recklessly endorsing the anti-illegal-immigrant Minuteman Project vigilantes and helplessly watching as a public poll showed him losing a third of his popularity in three months. Maria Shriver was on the warpath about her husband’s downward spiral, urging wholesale firings at the top of Team Arnold and consulting such unlikely counselors about saving her husband’s career as Dick Morris, the Republican who engineered Bill Clinton’s revival before becoming Fox’s favorite Clinton hater.

The wily Morris made his national reputation advising Clinton to find his way back to the "creative center" of American politics before Morris’ resentment of Hillary Clinton’s primus inter pares role (note to Maria) destroyed his relationship with Bill Clinton. Unsurprisingly, Morris thinks that Schwarzenegger needs to re-seize the center he formerly held in this mostly blue state before he got off on his image-shredding tangent.

"I never thought anyone would compare this governor to Jesse Ventura," says a chastened Arnold friend.

While he postures for a special election around his shrinking Year of Reform agenda, insiders say Schwarzenegger has said privately he never really wanted one, but merely hoped to force Democrats to engage his issues. Instead, his careening operation has emboldened Democrats. His own private polling shows his centerpiece budget initiative in deep trouble even as his business allies at Citizens To Save California struggle to qualify it for the ballot. And top Schwarzenegger strategist Mike Murphy is reportedly saying, "I’m not in control and haven’t been for some time."

Schwarzenegger, according to an insider, asked to go on KFI’s John & Ken Show just a few hours before it aired on April 28. His purpose? To get a quick boost in the L.A. area — where his private polling has him dropping the furthest — by criticizing the "Los Angeles, Mexico" freeway billboard promoting Channel 62’s Spanish-language newscast. Cheap news-flow politics, perhaps, but not unusual.

Schwarzenegger aides say he was merely responding to questions about the Minutemen, but — having received an e-mail tip from an insider, who described the KFI appearance as "potentially suicidal" — I heard the governor bring up the Minutemen favorably himself before being asked about them.

So was the Minuteman move planned? Insiders have two versions: "Spontaneous Arnold" or a decision reached after a brainstorming session with his staff. Fingers point to Communications Director Rob Stutzman. When former Governor Pete Wilson got freshly minted candidate Arnold in hot water a few days after his 2003 announcement to run by revealing that he had voted for Proposition 187 — which eliminated education and services for illegals before being thrown out by the courts — the veteran conservative Stutzman ventured forth to say that Schwarzenegger might well push another Prop. 187. Unbenownst to Stutzman, Schwarzenegger had already publicly reversed his position on Prop. 187.

Stutzman did not respond to questions about the Minuteman move, or about his plans. He is expected to leave the Governor’s Office and move to an Arnold political committee.

The Minuteman flap totally obscured a smart move, the naming of former Clinton appointee Alan Bersin as education secretary. Bersin replaced former L.A. Mayor Dick Riordan, who I reported last month would be leaving. Back then, the Governor’s Office had dismissed it as a "rumor," but within a few days Riordan was out, with the new story being that he had "secretly resigned" a month earlier.

Meanwhile, Citizens To Save California is struggling to qualify the troubled spending-control initiative. At the beginning of last week, it was broke, needing a loan from Schwarzenegger’s California Recovery Team to keep going. Signature gathering is behind schedule, but may barely make it, though Schwarzenegger should hope it doesn’t. The initiative starts out with only 43 percent support in public polling. Unlike last year, when he had the Democratic all-stars helping with his initially fiscal initiatives, all those folks will be campaigning against him this time.

Worse still, Schwarzenegger’s own polling shows only 29 percent support when those surveyed are read the ballot title and summary.

The merit-pay-for-teachers initiative won’t make it; teacher tenure will, but it’s too minor an issue to warrant a special election. As I predicted, Schwarzenegger has announced that he will accept a reapportionment reform after the 2010 Census. That deal, however, is not currently on the table. Now Democrats think they can just beat him.

Democrats are worried about the so-called paycheck-protection initiative (requiring public employees to sign off on dues used for politics), which has enough signatures. Contrary to the official line, there is coordination between Arnold’s official representatives and sponsor Lew Uhler. The governor hasn’t committed to it, but it may be the only big thing on his side that can pass. It would do little for Schwarzenegger’s central problem, his slumping popularity. Unlike the budget and education, it is an inside-baseball "reform" aimed at the core of the Democratic Party.

Arnold better find a way to turn down the heat — if, in fact, he really wants to stay in the kitchen after 2006.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Politics/Elections; US: California
KEYWORDS: abyss; alanbersin; arnoldlegacy; bersin; billbradley; california; calinititives; calreform; dickmorris; reform; robstutzman; schwarzenegger; shriver; spendingcap; stutzman

1 posted on 05/05/2005 3:04:09 AM PDT by calcowgirl
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To: calcowgirl

Dick Morris is a Republican?


2 posted on 05/05/2005 3:16:40 AM PDT by Loyal Buckeye
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To: calcowgirl
top Schwarzenegger strategist Mike Murphy

If this is the Mike Murphy I'm thinking of, wasn't he Dole's campaign strategist in 1996? I'm pretty sure he was. It's a miracle he is still considered a Republican, much less able to get work as a campaign strategist.

3 posted on 05/05/2005 3:39:56 AM PDT by Hardastarboard
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To: Hardastarboard

Advertising for Dole. Strategist for McCain.


4 posted on 05/05/2005 3:54:33 AM PDT by MARTIAL MONK
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To: Loyal Buckeye

Arnie was Kali's last chance for sanity. Say goodbye to the left coast.


5 posted on 05/05/2005 4:16:41 AM PDT by Arkie2
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To: calcowgirl

1. Arnold must not really be conservative, and that's what California needed.
2. Our legislature needs serious work.

Arnold's helmet could still sprout horns and really become the hero we had hoped we were getting. It might require a divorce from the Kennedy family first, though.

His horns are still green because he keeps apologizing when he gets near to doing the right thing.


6 posted on 05/05/2005 4:21:35 AM PDT by risk
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To: risk
His horns are still green because he keeps apologizing when he gets near to doing the right thing.

And isn't that the trouble with the whole Republican party.

7 posted on 05/05/2005 4:27:24 AM PDT by johnb838 (Free Republicans... To Arms!)
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To: calcowgirl
Arnold could make a lot of points in green California if he passed a law mandating a 5 year phase in of E-85 ethanol. California's leadership being 10% of Americas population could go a long way towards removing Americas dependence on the Arabian tit and loose canon Arnold may be just the man to pull it off.

Citizens For A Freer America
&
The Upper Valley Free Press

Daryl L. Hunter - Editor

8 posted on 05/05/2005 4:42:44 AM PDT by Daryl L.Hunter (The Eco-tally-ban must be stopped)
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To: calcowgirl

Dick Morris helped Trent Lott get re-elected. I would say he's good with getting moderate Republicans to triangulate.


9 posted on 05/05/2005 4:45:19 AM PDT by dennisw (2˘ plain)
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To: calcowgirl
Arnold Schwarzenegger cooked his political future some more this week, recklessly endorsing the anti-illegal-immigrant Minuteman Project vigilantes

In a state that has the worse illegal problem anywhere why would this statement "cook his career"???
I support Republicans who support anti-illegal!

It wasn't being anti-illegal that caused his demise there were plenty other things he did and said. Unfortunately he just cooked the Republican party as well, just as President Bush did with his reckless social security win-at-all-costs attitude. Now this is what should concern all of us, what they are doing to our party's image.

10 posted on 05/05/2005 4:58:54 AM PDT by stopem
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To: calcowgirl

The really big scandal is that Arnold is too "conservative" for California.


11 posted on 05/05/2005 5:15:02 AM PDT by Brilliant
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: LogicalMs

>>His initial response to the Swift Boat Vets had a lingering effect on me.

His initial response AND his continued dismissal of he SBV turned me against him forever.
O'Reilly looks out for himself, no one else. But he's laughing all the way to the bank.


13 posted on 05/05/2005 5:34:40 AM PDT by calcowgirl
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To: calcowgirl

Nothing like using Clinton mouthpieces to prop up a REpublican Gub...

First Chris LaHane and the Bay Bridge brouhaha, now Dick Morris and save the Reforms.. even the CAL/EPA is safe for another year becuz the GReens say there is a lot of work needed to fix that mess.

Maria & RFK Jr are so quick and decisive with decisions these days. Whatever it takes to keep the masses snowed as to who is really running California.


14 posted on 05/05/2005 8:31:35 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ...... The War on Terrorism is the ultimate 'faith-based' initiative.)
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To: NormsRevenge

>>Nothing like using Clinton mouthpieces to prop up a REpublican Gub...

Too many of those guys running around. I wonder how Panetta is doing on his special assignment.


15 posted on 05/05/2005 8:59:46 AM PDT by calcowgirl
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