When I offered to write this column for Capitol Weekly, I must admit I was hoping for a much different outcome on this Election Day, which clearly was a big day for the party of Hilary Clinton–especially when you look at the results of the midterm elections around the country.
The GOP loss of the House, and most likely the Senate, is bad news for all of those who believe that our federal government is too fat and spends too much. Republican leaders need to make the case to voters in 2008 as to why the GOP should be given back the reigns of leadership. The impact of the national GOP losses in Congress was given an emphatic exclamation point with the defeat of House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo in California’s 11th Congressional District.
In the Golden State, the election results were mixed. There was good news to be had for Republicans and Democrats alike. For Republicans, there’s nothing more satisfying than re-electing the governor of your Party. His election margin was so large that he enters his second term with both a mandate to never raise taxes, and to ‘be Arnold’–his own unique type of governor. It was very satisfying for Republicans to watch Cruz Bustamante crushed by Republican Steve Poizner, our new insurance commissioner. Conservatives can take great pleasure out of the ‘no new taxes’ message that was clearly made by the governor’s large margin of victory and the defeat of Propositions 86, 87, 88 and 89, the tax increases on the ballot. Assembly Republicans held their own despite strong attacks on two districts, and it would appear that GOP Assemblywoman Lynn Daucher is poised to actually pick up the Senate seat of Democrat Joe Dunn, increasing the GOP ranks in upper-house by one.
Let me try to cram the bad news into one paragraph: There are no words to express my personal disappointment at the losses of senators Tom McClintock and Chuck Poochigian, former Assemblyman Tony Strickland and Secretary of State Bruce McPherson. These are all fine Republicans, and they presented a strong contrast to the liberal politicians who will now run much of our state’s bureaucracy. The failures of both Propositions 85 and 90 were a travesty and the passage of the bond measures were bad news for taxpayers, and will serve to exacerbate the financial woes of a state budget that is out of balance by billions, before these new bonds are even issued.
Gov. Schwarzenegger clearly has the starring role in the next four years in California government, and he is going to set the tone, both in terms of politics and policy, going forward. The governor’s favorite word these days is ‘bipartisanship.’ As the governor approaches using the ‘tool’ of bipartisanship in his second term, he should be cautious that Democrats will be happy to give him aide and political help whenever he is willing to advance their agenda of increasing the role of government.
The governor has stated that he wants to make dealing with the lack of health insurance by many Californians a major focus of his public policy agenda next year. Of course, the long-term solution to this problem is reining back the modern welfare state and increasing the economic engine of California, raising the standard of living of more Californians, enabling them to purchase insurance. Senator Don Perata and Assembly Speaker Fabian N