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From One Extreme to Another - Schwarzenegger’s Strategy of Capitulation
CaliforniaRepublic.org ^ | 12/6/05 | Carol Platt Liebau

Posted on 12/08/2005 3:42:01 PM PST by NormsRevenge

In the wake of the voters’ stinging repudiation of all four ballot measures he backed in the costly and contentious Nov. 8 special election, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is working feverishly to regain his political footing. In a recent staff shake-up, the Governor’s chief of staff, Republican Pat Clarey, announced her resignation.

But in choosing her successor, Governor Schwarzenegger has made one of the biggest mistakes of his political career. He has selected Susan Kennedy, a former top aide to recalled Governor Gray Davis and former executive director of the California Democratic Party and of the California Abortion Rights Action League, as Clarey’s replacement.

No doubt “reaching out” to the Democrats who dominate the state legislature is the motive behind Kennedy’s hiring. Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata seems delighted with the choice, asserting that it’s a “statement to the people the governor feels he most needs to work with to move an agenda.”

But the choice is an ominous sign that Schwarzenegger has decided that moving an agenda – any agenda – is more important than fighting for the platform on which he was elected. It smacks of political cowardice – a calculation that virtual surrender to his political enemies is the only way that Schwarzenegger can salvage his credibility and popularity, while earning “bragging rights” for legislative “accomplishments,” whatever their content.

Schwarzenegger’s strategy is doomed to fail. Democrats and special interests destroyed his popularity in the run-up to the special election through a relentlessly negative and inaccurate advertising campaign. Then they handed him a humiliating defeat on Election Day. There’s no reason to believe that the Democrats will call a truce now – no matter who Schwarzenegger chooses as his chief of staff. They want a Democrat in the Governor’s chair – someone who shares their philosophy of bigger government, higher taxes and unlimited giveaways to the unions and other special interests that subsidize the party. Even if the Governor offers them 90%, there’s no reason for them not to prefer the candidate that will offer them 100%.

By rolling over for the Democrats like a well-trained puppy, Schwarzenegger loses much more than the respect and support of his Republican base. Susan Kennedy isn't just an liberal Democrat activist – she’s also an emblem of the administration of the reviled Gray Davis. By choosing her as his chief of staff, Schwarzenegger has not only symbolically embraced the unpopular man he defeated, he has also eroded the distinctions between himself and the corrupt and sclerotic Democratic political establishment of California – squandering the “outsider status” that has been one of his chief assets.

He thereby forfeits his best strategy for regaining the confidence and political support of California’s voters. Rather than simply capitulating to the Democrats, Schwarzenegger would be better served by choosing a few simple but popular issues and speaking directly to voters with simple, unscripted messages, educating them about his positions and helping them understand just how out of touch, unreasonable (and greedy) the Democrats and special interests really are.

Schwarzenegger should begin by resisting calls from the predictable left-wing interest groups to commute four-time murderer and Crips founder Stanley “Tookie” Williams’ death sentence, and then explain why justice requires it. He should make sure Californians know that he recently vetoed legislation that would have given drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants – a law passed in defiance of Californians’ explicit wishes. He should continue to denounce the excessive benefits flowing to state government employees – and point out how those dollars could make a difference in financing infrastructure repair and paying down California’s debt. And he should emphasize his support for party-blind, color-blind redistricting reform – contrasting his position with an emerging Democratic plan requiring special recognition for “communities of interest,” an infinitely elastic term that would allow boundary drawers to use any arbitrary classification (from race to geographic similarity) as a guiding principle in creating legislative districts.

Taking an incremental approach to showing Californians why his policies are superior to the Democrats’ lacks the drama of the bold political strokes the Governor apparently prefers. But the strategy can be effective over time. The Governor has more weapons in his political arsenal than he apparently believes he does – chiefly, the fame and charisma that allow him to speak to voters over legislators’ heads, especially now, with the election season over and done.

But it seems that Schwarzenegger has veered from one extreme to another. Having lost with a strategy of aggressive confrontation toward Democrats, he appears to have adopted an approach calling for abject capitulation to them. The sad facts are that his new plan won’t work any better than his old one did – and that his new chief of staff is hardly likely to confront him with this tough but unavoidable truth.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Politics/Elections; US: California
KEYWORDS: another; capitulation; capitulator; extreme; liebau; schwarzenegger; strategy; susankennedy; tookie; welltrainedpuppy
Carol Platt Liebau is editorial director and a senior member of tOR and CRO editorial boards. She is an attorney, political analyst and commentator based in San Marino, CA, and has appeared on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN, Orange County News Channel, Cox Cable and a variety of radio programs throughout the United States. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Carol Platt Liebau also served as the first female managing editor of the Harvard Law Review.
1 posted on 12/08/2005 3:42:03 PM PST by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge

Maybe Arnie should have cut his political teeth on a school board or two first. Anyone still up for "President Arnie"?


2 posted on 12/08/2005 3:45:24 PM PST by randog (What the....?!)
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To: NormsRevenge
Bingo.
3 posted on 12/08/2005 3:48:15 PM PST by CounterCounterCulture (Tagline: (optional, printed after your name on post))
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To: NormsRevenge
Democrats want a Democrat in the Governor’s chair – someone who shares their philosophy of bigger government, higher taxes and unlimited giveaways to the unions and other special interests that subsidize the party. Even if the Governor offers them 90%, there’s no reason for them not to prefer the candidate that will offer them 100%.

This is the heart of the article. The rest is just one person's opinion of coulda, woulda, shoulda.

Libeau is insightful in her assessment that Schwarzenegger is for bigger government, higher taxes and unlimited giveaways to unions. She's also correct that Schwarzenegger has steadfastly withheld that 10% to keep up his appearances with the Republican Party.

Taken in this light and analyzing the Austrian's past performances savvy political observers will note that Schwarzenegger's whole agenda has focused on emphasizing that 10% to maintain his base while actively giving away 90% of the store.

4 posted on 12/08/2005 3:55:22 PM PST by Amerigomag
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To: NormsRevenge
Even if the Governor offers them 90%, there’s no reason for them not to prefer the candidate that will offer them 100%.

Or if they find a new Gray Davis, 125%.

5 posted on 12/08/2005 3:57:55 PM PST by John Jorsett (scam never sleeps)
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To: NormsRevenge

If he grants clemency, stick a fork in him, he's done.


6 posted on 12/08/2005 4:01:54 PM PST by jrp
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To: John Jorsett
They're real close to a Gray Davis at 125%

$15B in bonds on a $111B budget is almost 115%. Closer than Libeau's 90%

7 posted on 12/08/2005 4:04:04 PM PST by Amerigomag
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To: randog
Anyone still up for "President Arnie"?

Now that's funny.

8 posted on 12/08/2005 4:04:11 PM PST by Ol' Dan Tucker (Karen Ryan reporting...)
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To: jrp
If he grants clemency, stick a fork in him, he's done.

Whatever Schwarzenegger's decision in the William's case it should not be part of your political equation unless you are reasonably certain that his decision was motivated by political gain.

9 posted on 12/08/2005 4:07:39 PM PST by Amerigomag
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To: jrp

He's done either way. Arnold was never anything but a semi-amusing distraction for California politics. There was never any chance of him going any further and, at this point, not much chance of a second term. Phony Catholic, phony Republican movie actor. Finis.


10 posted on 12/08/2005 4:13:11 PM PST by Emmett McCarthy
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To: SierraWasp; Carry_Okie; ElkGroveDan; FOG724; Czar

PING.

If you folks didn't catch this, it is worth a read.


11 posted on 12/08/2005 11:34:43 PM PST by calcowgirl
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To: NormsRevenge; Carry_Okie; SierraWasp; calcowgirl; Czar; ElkGroveDan
It smacks of political cowardice

Sometimes there is the one phrase that just says it all!!!

12 posted on 12/08/2005 11:38:29 PM PST by FOG724 (http://gravenimagemusic.com/)
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To: NormsRevenge

Why is it I so rarely hear about Democrats "reaching out" to Republicans? Is it because they have the strength of their convictions?


13 posted on 12/08/2005 11:39:13 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: jrp
If he grants clemency, stick a fork in him, he's done. ....well done!
14 posted on 12/08/2005 11:45:30 PM PST by SweetCaroline ( "It's Because I Love You.....That I Make Your Life So Miserable")
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To: NormsRevenge

Spot on I couldn't have said it better myself. Only Frank Duclos has said it so well.


15 posted on 12/08/2005 11:51:55 PM PST by ElkGroveDan (California bashers will be called out)
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To: NormsRevenge

If you sleep with pigs, you'll wind up smelling like one.


16 posted on 12/09/2005 12:27:22 AM PST by ZULU (Non nobis, non nobis, Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. God, guts, and guns made America great.)
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To: NormsRevenge

It's not a "mistake". He's just stupid.


17 posted on 12/09/2005 12:30:19 AM PST by Hank Rearden (Never allow anyone who could only get a government job attempt to tell you how to run your life.)
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To: calcowgirl

Thank you! I've become Ping dependent!!! (grin)


18 posted on 12/09/2005 8:14:29 AM PST by SierraWasp (The only thing that can save CA is making eastern CA the 51st state called Sierra Republic!!!)
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To: jrp
"If he grants clemency, stick a fork in him, he's done."

He's "done" anyway! Or haven't you noticed? It's sayanora Scwartzie!!!

19 posted on 12/09/2005 8:21:22 AM PST by SierraWasp (The only thing that can save CA is making eastern CA the 51st state called Sierra Republic!!!)
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To: calcowgirl
"But it seems that Schwarzenegger has veered from one extreme to another. Having lost with a strategy of aggressive confrontation toward Democrats, he appears to have adopted an approach calling for abject capitulation to them."

Suspicions confirmed. If only it were "Party above principle", but it's far worse--"No principles at all".

And some on FR were advocating a special amendment to let this phony foreigner run for president. Somehow, I think the chances of that happening have plunged to record lows.

20 posted on 12/09/2005 10:55:58 AM PST by Czar (StillFedUptotheTeeth@Washington)
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To: FOG724

And this jackass ran on conservative issues...what a phony SOB.


21 posted on 12/09/2005 11:01:12 AM PST by Czar (StillFedUptotheTeeth@Washington)
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To: Czar
And this jackass ran on conservative issues...

Worse yet, there are still those who think he has not only done good things but would have done more if evil conservatives had just backed his propositions with votes.

22 posted on 12/09/2005 11:03:40 AM PST by FOG724 (http://gravenimagemusic.com/)
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To: FOG724
"Worse yet, there are still those who think he has not only done good things but would have done more if evil conservatives had just backed his propositions with votes."

Yes, this is of course the GOP Big Tent/New Majority RINOs, liberals and moderates. As you may have noticed, we have a few around here. They sometimes masquerade as "conservatives".

23 posted on 12/09/2005 11:08:40 AM PST by Czar (StillFedUptotheTeeth@Washington)
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To: Czar
They sometimes masquerade as "conservatives".

Yes but they are easily spotted by the Kool_Aide mustache.

24 posted on 12/09/2005 11:11:16 AM PST by FOG724 (http://gravenimagemusic.com/)
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