The Reform Bid Stumbled
...and leadership for tomorrow...
[Thomas G. Del Beccaro] 11/11//05
Election is now in the books. Given the results, there will
be a temptation to second guess and lay blame. In my view,
as a tactical matter, there were mistakes. But as a strategic
matter, there were successes.
if you were for reform, there is no reason to hang your head.
Success is not far off provided certain lessons are understood,
adjustments are made and perseverance becomes your mantra.
Thomas G. Del Beccaro
G. Del Beccaro is publisher of the website Political
Vanguard. [go to Del Beccaro index]
What Went Wrong.
I believe that historians will look back
at 2005 and judge Arnold and President Bush in much the same
light: They were too ambitious. Both leaders threw down the gauntlet,
openly described the breadth of our governmental problems and
proposed an agenda to deal with those problems. For Bush, that
meant addressing social security as well as other reforms.
For Arnold, that meant
that he took on the education lobby (Prop 74), unions (Prop
75 & 76), and politicians (prop 77). By
any fair analysis, that was an ambitious agenda. It was intellectually
honest and the reforms are needed. Tactically, however, it was
too much to take on all at once – especially given the
unions’ ability to spend money.
For future leaders, the lesson of 2005 may well be that they
should not chase too many rabbits at once lest they catch none
2. Union Spending/Democrat
Make no mistake
about this, the Democrat leaders and Union money bought this
By doing so, they openly proved Arnold's point that the Unions
have the single largest influence in California policy. Beyond
that, the level of distortions practiced by the Unions and
the Dems was perhaps unprecedented. Frankly, I believe that
went too far and liken their victory to Davis' victory over
Simon – it
was the result of a terribly negative campaign and the voters
saw it for the cynical victory that it was.
In the end, Davis' tactics paved the way to his Recall. The
blatant purchase of this election and the Union tactics may well
do the same for them.
Morover, their victory may well prove pyrrhic because they
have not won something, they avoided losing. In the years to
come, the pension crisis facing the state will baloon. Since
Unions have nothing to offer California voters in that regard,
the mood of the voters will likely swing away from them.
3. 2005: A Difficult Year.
be no question that 2005 proved to be a difficult year to hold
this election. The reasons
include (1) the poor performance of the Congressional Republicans
on spending (see article below), (2) the poor performance of
the Bush Administration on controlling the national agenda
(see article below), (3) donor fatigue and (4) election fatigue.
of those factors conspired to make this Special Election an
Frankly, if these had been brought in 2003, I believe they all
would have passed. In other words, outside factors played a great
role in this election. They likely will not be there in the future.
4. What Went Right.
Election was fought on our agenda: Reform. To defeat that,
the Democrats and the Unions
mortgaged their future and frayed their credibility. Recall
that Reform does not occur overnight. Remember that welfare
initially was offered by the Republicans and then eventually
adopted later by a Democrat President. These reforms are not
dead. Sooner or later they will be back.
For perspective it
is interesting to note that none other than Machiavelli wrote
that: "The reformer has enemies in all
those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders
in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness
arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws
in their favor; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who
do not truly believe in anything new until they have actual experience
California voters are beginning to understand the issues now.
That is a victory in and of itself. Another election under the
old system will make the problems more evident not less. As time
goes on, the Democrats lack of ideas will also become more evident.
Now is not the time to cede control of the agenda. In each election
going forward, Republicans must put forth common sense reforms.
Each ballot should give voters something to vote for and the
unions something to be against. By controlling the agenda and
by providing meaningful reform, this fight can and will be won.
I will leave you with a quote by Conrad Hilton the legendary
to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving.
They make mistakes, but they don't quit.”
And so it will be for us. CRO
2005 Thomas G. Del Beccaro