Let the show go on

first_imgIn his brief, three-year political career, Arnold Schwarzenegger has played a wide range of roles: The brash outsider, the unstoppable reformer, the arrogant over-reacher, and the sensible statesman. It’s been quite a show. But beyond merely entertaining us, Schwarzenegger has brought a pragmatic flair to bureaucratic and partisan Sacramento. And he’s engineered real solutions to some of the state’s most pressing problems. This act deserves a sequel, and Schwarzenegger deserves another term in office. Of all the governor’s political accomplishments, perhaps none is more remarkable than the way he’s rehabilitated his political career since last year’s “Year of Reform” debacle. Schwarzenegger’s transformation has been a powerful testament to his leadership. Realizing that he can no longer steamroll his agenda through Sacramento, Schwarzenegger has opted for a more collaborative tone. He’s dropped the antagonistic rhetoric, and sought out areas of compromise with legislative Democrats. The results have been impressive. Working together, Schwarzenegger and the Democrats passed a balanced budget on time. They put together the infrastructure-bond package that will appear on November’s ballot. They worked out their differences and enacted a minimum-wage hike. And to top it all off, they took on global warming and reforming the Los Angeles Unified School District. Not bad for a year’s work. To be sure, there are other critical, more contentious issues that remain unresolved, such as redistricting, budget reform and public-employee pensions. But through their cooperation, Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders have provided a blueprint for how sensible reform can be achieved. It’s a refreshing change from Sacramento’s old style of pig-headed, partisan politics — a style that Schwarzenegger’s opponent, Treasurer Phil Angelides, has come to embody. Ever since the launch of the recall drive against Gray Davis three years ago, Angelides has set out to be Sacramento’s chief obstructionist. Even when Schwarzenegger and Democrats worked together during his first year in office, Angelides refused to play along, opting instead to stoke partisan passions. As a candidate for governor, Angelides has staked his campaign on an economically destructive call for tax hikes. Rhetorically, he likes to talk about President Bush and the Iraq war — grist for the base, to be sure, but irrelevant to the needs of California and the responsibilities of its governor. The distinction couldn’t be more clear: Angelides, the partisan and ideologue, vs. Schwarzenegger, the centrist and pragmatist. The governor has held firm in some areas, such as his refusal to raise taxes, while making compromises in others, such as in boosting education spending, with the goal of making California more stable, healthy and prosperous. No, Arnold hasn’t been the superhero we might have hoped for, but he has been far more of a statesman than anyone ever imagined. It’s a role he ought to keep playing for four more years. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe Christmas Truce of 1914 proved that peace is possible160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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