Arnold: time to ape Reagan

08 July 2009 |permalink | email article

California’s failure to pass a timely budget and reliance on IOUs – aside from the gap increasing to 26.3 billion from $24.3 billion within days – has hit another critical fiscal barrier. Fitch Ratings downgraded the state’s long-term bond rating to BBB from A-, the worst since between December 2003 and September 2004.

Questions now intensify about how serious Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger really is about resolving the state’s cash deficits should the IOU’s band-aid gimmick extend past September. Democratic Assembly Speaker Karen Bass said his proposals are not likely to erase the state’s multi-billion shortfall through June.

Instead, the celebrity governor told The Los Angeles Times that to create transparency in the face of evidence that Californians don’t trust their government he’d like his office to be a “glass house” so visitors could see inside. How original!

The Terminator sees everything through the prism of show business, not politics, which may explain why his preposterous idea about televising or webcasting some of the talks with lawmakers on the state’s fiscal crisis is DOA.

Calbuzz, the influential new blog, explains why current state leaders are incapable of making a deal. The constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote to pass a budget is why Sacramento is in near permanent political gridlock. “Power. Nobody’s got it.”

In an interview with Lou Cannon, Ronald Reagan’s biographer who covered him from the time he was governor to the White House, the veteran journalist recalled that in 1971 the Gipper and Democratic Speaker Bob Moretti negotiated “for 10 straight days “over a budget that eventually included the largest tax increase for any state in history at that time.

Cannon said that now there’s “an awful lot of posturing and not much negotiating…these guys are negotiating in the newspapers, the ones that are left anyway, and it doesn’t seem like a real negotiating.”

Schwarzenegger should begin acting like a governor, end his reality TV show fantasy and reprise the powerful Reagan-Moretti model to help salvage a tattered legacy.

Read ‘em and weep

If she were in the White House, Sarah Palin told ABC News, “the department of law” would protect her from baseless ethical allegations. Her problem is no such department exists.

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