November 9, 2005


Voters Reject Schwarzenegger's Bid to Remake State Government: The governor's four ballot proposals, the foundation of his sweeping plans for change in Sacramento, are halted at the polls. (Michael Finnegan and Robert Salladay, November 9, 2005, LA Times)

In a sharp repudiation of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Californians rejected all four of his ballot proposals Tuesday in an election that shattered his image as an agent of the popular will.

Voters turned down his plans to curb state spending, redraw California's political map, restrain union politics and lengthen the time it takes teachers to get tenure.

The Republican governor had cast the four initiatives as central to his larger vision for restoring fiscal discipline to California and reforming its notoriously dysfunctional politics.

The failure of Proposition 76, his spending restraints, and Proposition 77, his election district overhaul, represented a particularly sharp snub of the governor by California voters.

Like the French and Germans they rejected the Anglo-American model.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 9, 2005 2:28 PM

Without the spending resolution, how are they going to pay back Arnold's bonds without raising taxes? As OJ noted, CA just voted like France and Germany, but they probably don't even know it.

Posted by: ratbert at November 9, 2005 3:11 PM

It's a mistake to contest anti-public-employee propositions in an off-year, when public employees make up a high fraction of the voters. Arnold needs to come back with new and better propositions for next year's governor's election.

Posted by: pj at November 9, 2005 3:16 PM

Herein a weighty instruction for the econocons and libertines who dream that they can go it alone.

Your simple wish to hang on to a little bit more of your own money cannot stand up to the desparate need of public school teachers, other government workers and all on the dole to hang on to their daily bread.

Only when you appreciate what's right with Kansas do you have a prayer (sic) of taking on the tax-spend-elect machine. You are lost, lost without the muscle of the non-economic components of the VRWC. It is necessary to wake up and smell the incense and the gunpowder.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 9, 2005 6:27 PM

Seems a bit strange when someone who complains about the existence of public initiatives also complains when the voters turn down every single one that's offered to them.

Posted by: James DeBenedetti at November 9, 2005 7:07 PM


Only fanatics make the better the enemy of the best.

Posted by: oj at November 9, 2005 7:45 PM

California is turning into New York, in that local Republican candidates at the state and city level are only elected when the Democrats have screwed things up too much to point the finger of blame elsewhere. Once the Republican is in office, and the crisis has passed, voters return to their regular patterns until the next governing disaster looms (New York would have done this in 2001 at the city level, electing Mark Green in place of Bloomberg, had Sept. 11 not occurred. That set the timetable back four years, and Bloomy's cash pushed it back to 2009, but odds are heavy that some far left Looney Tune will win the mayoral race then, after Chuck Schumer-wannabe Elliot Spitzer wins the governor's race next November).

The '06 gubernatorial race in California may show if the state's voters really have gone New York, especially if Rob Reiner decides to challenge Arnold. A lesser-known Democratic Party name might try to hide his or her liberalism from state voters, but if Reiner runs, he'll revel in it and expect the voters will, too.

Posted by: John at November 9, 2005 8:20 PM

Or it could be that Schwarzeneggar cleaned things up enough that it wasn't worth passing initiatives. I think he should have pushed just the redistricting - get that and the rest will straighten itself out.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at November 9, 2005 9:26 PM

it's all a groove. arnold just had a lesson in big league ball. he's a quick study and will be back in '06 ready to rock. let the lefties revel in their ersatz victories, poor buggers.

Posted by: cali boy at November 9, 2005 10:05 PM

AOG: Ah-nuld hasn't been able to clean up anything--that was the whole point of the initiatives.

pj is right on--the fact that this is an off-year meant that the unions had nothing else to spend their money on. They say that the unions outspent Arnold 2-1, but based on TV time it must have been much, much higher than that. They've been running ads since spring.

Also, the ads in the past week in support of the initiatives heavily featured oj's hero McCain. Obviously he doesn't draw folks to the polls the way his admirers think...

Posted by: b at November 9, 2005 10:25 PM

This election was stupid in many ways. For example, state spending is not only lower than existing limits, it's lower than the limit set by Schwarzenegger's initiative. Why then spend money on a special election in November 2005 rather than wait for the normal one in March 2006?

I received postcards from Republicans (eg, Dick Armey) urging me to pass all of Schwarzenegger's initiatives EXCEPT the redistricting one.

The drug industry was fighting with the socialists over who could create the best government-run drug program for the poor.

It was easy to just vote no on everything.

Now Arnold is pushing infrastructure investments. Good idea, except for the fact that it's local developer / Democratic Treasurer Angelides' shtick.

Posted by: James DeBenedetti at November 10, 2005 12:11 AM