Doug Gamble- Contributor
Gamble is a former writer for President Ronald Reagan and
in Carmel. [go to Gamble index]
Snuffing out the state’s conservatism...
[Doug Gamble] 10/27/04
Does Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger think that
democracy is for girlie men, or does he have more pragmatic reasons
for supporting Proposition 62, the so-called open primary initiative?
passed next Tuesday it would eliminate party primaries, except
at the presidential level, with California
voters supporting a candidate of any party in a preliminary election,
and the top two vote-getters appearing on the ballot in the general
election. Both the state Democratic and Republican parties
oppose the measure, but Schwarzenegger supports it, saying, “I
didn’t come to Sacramento to make political parties happy.”
No, he came to Sacramento to make his ego happy
in the wake of a fading movie career, and on a quest for power
so ambitious it includes support for amending the Constitution
so he can run for president.
Schwarzenegger’s support for Proposition 62
would benefit him at the expense of voter choice. He knows
he may well not have survived a Republican primary, had it been
necessary to fight one, and was elected in the fluke 2003 gubernatorial
recall in what was essentially an open primary type of election.
sees passage of Proposition 62 as a way of thwarting a potential
Republican primary opponent
in 2006. And with the possibility he will move further
to the left between now and then, a challenge from some disgruntled
conservative would not be out of the question.
started becoming leery of the governor when San Francisco Mayor
Gavin Newsom opened the door
to gay marriage and Schwarzenegger did nothing to stop it. He
later said it would be fine with him if Californians decided
to vote in favor of legalizing such unions.
signed a bill mandating that health insurance companies offer
equal benefits to same-sex domestic partners
as to a married man and woman. He also put his autograph
on a bill expanding the definition of hate crimes to include
people who are transgender and one allowing drug addicts to get
syringes without a prescription. These bills received virtually
no support from Republicans in the Legislature.
crime, he has riled some conservatives by appearing soft on
paroles in comparison to Governor Gray Davis. While
Davis was loathe to OK state parole board recommendations, Schwarzenegger
has approved 60 paroles for convicts guilty of serious crimes. And
he recently broke further with conservatives by favoring stem
Schwarzenegger remaining enormously popular with a California
electorate still swooning over his charisma
and celebrity, the possibility he will not be reelected is remote. But
by backing Proposition 62, which could push it into the win column,
he is not taking any chances. If it becomes law he avoids
any GOP primary he would probably win but emerge from with his
hair mussed up
from Proposition 62 being a virtual “Schwarzenegger
Reelection Act,” it is an assault on choice, shutting out such
parties as the Libertarians and Greens from having their voices
heard during a general election campaign. It could also
result in voters having to decide between candidates from the
same party with Cruz Bustamante, say, facing a fellow Democrat
in the treasurer’s race and Jerry Brown taking on another Democrat
for attorney general. Some options.
in both of the major parties deserve the ability to vote for
either a Democrat or a Republican in
a general election. And supporters of minority parties
should be able to send a message with their votes.
idea that what’s good for Schwarzenegger
is good for California is not good for democracy. CRO
California-based Doug Gamble contributed speech material to
Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and writes a twice-monthly
column for the Orange County Register and CaliforniaRepublic.org.
2004 Doug Gamble