The Case For Arnold

by Steven F. Hayward

Let me provide the other side of the cogent case Tim Graham makes against Gov. Arnold. (But let me first add the full disclosure that I am committed to Sen. Tom McClintock, who is the best and smartest conservative in the race, which I would say even if he weren’t a friend).

Because of his enormous celebrity status and the fact that he can command huge media attention (which is a big problem in state politics in California–easterners are always astounded to learn that not one TV station in LA, SF, or San Diego keeps a bureau, reporter, or camera crew in Sacramento to report on state politics, which is why governors travel to those cities to make news as often as they can), he is perhaps the one person who could seriously intimidate the Democrats in the state legislature to back down on some things. Arnold is absolutely right that the legislature is a wholly-own subsidiary of the liberal interest groups (especially the public employee unions and the trial lawyers). This stranglehold is much worse than anything from the railroad robber baron days. The big question is whether Arnold is serious about breaking this stranglehold; if he is not he shouldn’t bother running. The fear is that even though a nominal Republican, he will end up more like the feckless Jesse Ventura, who found the limits of celebrity fairly quickly. So far in the first 24 hours, Arnold has made the right noises, and he has around him the very experienced and savvy Pete Wilson team, which, say what you will about Gov. Wilson, knew how to win elections and govern effectively.

I place the odds at about once chance in three that Arnold would turn out to be the serious reformer I envision here, but if so, he has a better chance of succeeding than the other Republicans. Any other Republican is going to face all-out war from the Democrats and special interest groups.

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