An open letter to Gov. Schwarzenegger: When you return home from China, you
will find that the same special interests that had a stranglehold on the
Legislature before the special election have now tightened their grip. They
will be more emboldened than ever. Not only will they maintain the current
dysfunctional status quo, but they will actual have set an aggressive
program into play, once again putting their narrow agendas ahead of the best
interests of the people of California.
The first thing that I would suggest you do as you re-engage with the
Legislature is meet with the full membership of both the state Senate and
Assembly Republican Caucuses. They are filled with great, capable and
innovative thinkers. Empower them by telling them you will veto any bill
that reaches your desk without majority support from each of their caucuses.
This will immediately and significantly empower these dozens of legislators
to be able to work with their Democrat colleagues, instead of being
relegated to the sidelines. Tell your Republican legislators that you
expect great things of them, but that you have two simple rules – you will
not allow a tax or fee increase, and you will not allow any increase in
spending in one area of state government unless they are accompanied with an
equal or greater decrease in spending in another area. Challenge them to be
creative, and responsible.
I admire you because you had the courage to take important structural
reforms to the voters for a reason-California is in dire need of a fiscal
makeover. The premise of the “Live Within Our Means” Initiative is as sound
now as it was then-how can we expect to have a thriving, world-class economy
in the Golden State when we have structural deficits in the billions of
On Election Day, your ideas were not “repudiated” or “overwhelmingly
opposed” by the electorate. The reality is that, after being significantly
outspent (remember, the CTA even mortgaged their headquarters to raise
capital), and after enduring a six-month barrage of negative ads attacking
you, and the most outrageous and misleading ad campaigns against
Propositions 74, 75, 76 and 77, nearly half of voters agreed with you and
voted yes on these reforms.
This is a base to build upon, not to walk away from. Millions of
Californians agree with you that state government is too big and is spending
too much. Countless others were duped by the negative campaign tactics of
the public employee unions, and voted ‘no’ because they were misled.
Governor, trust your instincts. They have served you well. Over the
Thanksgiving Holiday, re-read Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom and
reflect upon the reasons why you have been called into public service.
Some advisors will tell you that you need to embrace more spending as a way
to create ‘bipartisan cooperation’ with the Democrats in the legislature who
are controlled by the special interests. Don’t listen to them. This is the
path to further problems for our state, and counter to the message you have
brought to the electorate.
The strategy to both public policy victories, as well as to your re-election
comes from adding to your base of support. For you, that base is made up of
Republicans and ‘pocketbook’ voters that are concerned about the fiscal
well-being of California (and voters who have seen T3 at least four times).
Pick up more swing voters by identifying major issues in need of resolution
(the illegal immigration nightmare comes immediately to mind as an example)
and showing bold leadership.
Use the power of your office, and your notoriety as a celebrity-Governor to
continue to make the case to the California voters that you are committed to
bringing fiscal sanity to an insane process – and that you are the leader
that they expect you to be.
At the same time, empower Republicans in the legislature by making their
involvement with and support of legislation a mandatory requirement for your
eventual support. The best quarterback still needs a strong team to score
big touchdowns. And we are fourth and long.