Will to Fight Terror
by Shawn Steel [attorney,
Taking the unions on in an all-out war for the special election...
[Shawn Steel] 10/7/05
on the capital of the Aztec empire in 1519, Spanish conquistador
Hernan Cortes burned his ships – cutting
off the possibility of retreat and ensuring that his tiny army
would either prevail or perish.
It’s no great exaggeration to say Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
faces a similar situation. For most of his brief governorship,
he has been locked in mortal combat with the powerful public-employee
unions over the direction of state government – a conflict
of increasing in intensity as the Nov. 8 special election approaches.
last month, Schwarzenegger figuratively burned his ships by endorsing
75, the paycheck-protection initiative
that would force those unions to obtain prior permission from
members before spending dues for political purposes. A few days
prior, he announced his intention to seek re-election next year – something
he could easily have delayed until after the special election.
Around the same time, three of his top advisers took leaves to
take the reins of the governor’s disjointed campaign apparatus.
Steel is Director California Club for Growth, the immediate
past president of the California Republican Party,
activist, commentator, conservative stalwart and a
co-founder of the Davis Recall. He is an attorney practicing
in Palos Verdes, California.
past several months, as the unions hammered the Governator
with tens of millions of dollars in attack ads, a sinking feeling
took hold among Schwarzenegger supporters that the unions were
the only ones who understood that the governor was in a fight
to the finish.
has erased that doubt. The governor clearly understands
he has crossed the Rubicon and has no option but to decisively
settle the question of who governs California: the taxpaying
middle and entrepreneurial classes, or their nominal servants
in state and local government employee unions.
that has been the issue at the heart of the political upheaval
began with the Gray Davis recall and Schwarzenegger’s
election, and continues with the special election and next year’s
The stakes Nov. 8 are enormous for both sides.
If voters reject his reform package, Schwarzenegger is weakened
going into 2006,
when he grapples again with the unions and the Democrat-controlled
Legislature over the chronic budget deficit while running for
On the other
hand, victory for his reform package entails dire consequences
for the Democrat-union axis, because
Props. 75 and
77 pose a very real threat to their power.
politicians freely admit that requiring public-employee unions
prior permission before spending members’ dues
for political purposes is a "dagger aimed at the heart" of
their party. Furthermore, by replacing the current gerrymandered
legislative districts with fair and balanced lines drawn by a
panel of retired judges – as happened after the 1990 Census – Prop.
77 will likely result in a much more moderate Legislature than
our current one – whose leadership is far-left.
would enter the 2006 elections and budget negotiations with a
voter mandate for change and the prospect
of a Legislature more amenable to his structural reforms.
refreshing to hear Democrat politicians admit they utterly depend
on involuntary political contributions from government
employees, and fears are well-founded. Passage of either one
of these initiatives is bad news for them – passage of
both is a disaster.
Only a handful
of California’s 80 Assembly
districts and 40 Senate districts are competitive, allowing the
unions to concentrate
their 2006 campaign spending in just a few districts. Prop. 77
would vastly increase the number of districts in play for 2006
elections and force the unions cover far more campaigns with
the same prodigious, but finite, war chests.
At the same
time, Prop. 75 bound to reduce their war chest. As a result,
will have less money to spend on more campaigns.
This simultaneously dilutes the unions’ influence while
constricting a primary source of Democratic campaign finances.
unions realized for months that this election is for all the
marbles. By announcing for re-election and endorsing paycheck
protection, Schwarzenegger signaled that he, too, realizes
the special election is not just another campaign, but a case
back with your shield, or on it." CRO
2005 Shawn Steel