Cartoon October 14, 2014

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GOP simmers as governor touts accord

first_img“We’re all holding hands and singing `Kumbaya,’ but I doubt that partisanship is over here,” said Assemblyman Bob Huff, a Southern California Republican. Right after Schwarzenegger’s re-election in November, Republicans in the state Assembly dumped their pragmatic leader for cutting deals with the governor and replaced him with a more doctrinaire conservative. Ignoring their distress, Schwarzenegger continued moving to the left. He reversed himself on a campaign pledge to reform health care by cutting costs rather than increasing spending and introduced a $12 billion universal coverage plan. It relies on $4.5 billion in new fees on doctors, hospitals and employers; Republicans say the plan violates his promise not to raise taxes. They also are balking at Schwarzenegger’s budget and a new round of borrowing he has proposed, which require Republican votes to reach the needed two-thirds majority. At the recent statewide GOP convention, Huff joked that it was the influence of medications for a broken leg suffered during a skiing accident that had Schwarzenegger leaning so far to the left. “Some of his close advisers, and you know who they are, we believe they have switched out some of his pain medication,” Huff said. “And when he comes back, we’ll have the governor we once had.” But Huff and the rest of California’s hard-line GOP legislators may have to keep waiting. During the ill-fated 2005 special election, Schwarzenegger learned the perils of leaning too far to the right in a state dominated by Democrats. He failed in an effort to push through a series of measures that, among other things, would have diminished the influence of California’s public employee unions. His approval ratings plummeted. He recovered politically by cutting deals with the Democrats – to curb global warming, provide low-cost prescription drugs and a higher minimum wage – with hardly any Republican votes. Not content to be seen as bipartisan, he crowned himself a “post-partisan,” a phrase he first tried out at his inauguration and repeated on Monday in a speech to the National Press Club in Washington. He lectured politicians inside the Beltway for their partisanship without mentioning the political divisions lingering back home. Schwarzenegger waged a slashing campaign for re-election run by highly partisan operatives from the Bush White House, trashing his Democratic opponent, Phil Angelides, as a compulsive tax-raiser whose ideas were “dead wrong and a recipe for disaster.” But on the national stage, Schwarzenegger styled himself a peacemaker. He dropped names like Mahatma Gandhi, Edmund Burke and John F. Kennedy and said he learned his lesson in 2005 that “dividing people does not work.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made a splash in Washington this week by talking up “post-partisanship” and instructing the president to schmooze his political opponents over cigars. But the happy world of political cooperation he urged is not the one he has created at home. If it is bipartisanship, then it is of a very different sort. In California, Schwarzenegger is single-handedly striking deals with the Democratic majority, often leaving his own party on the sidelines and increasingly dejected. That may cause him serious problems this year as he seeks to pass legislation, notably health care reform, with the help of Republicans. last_img