Los Angeles -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger found his box office appeal and rhetoric as a reformer couldn't convince California voters that his special election initiatives were critical to the state's future...

The resounding defeat of the governor's self-styled reform effort leaves him weakened as he heads into his 2006 re-election campaign and forced to deal with a Democratic majority in the Legislature pumped up by Tuesday's victories.

"He's now carried out his thermonuclear threat to go to the ballot box,'' said Garry South, a veteran Democratic strategist. "Guess who's going to get nuked -- and it's not the Democratic Legislature...''

"That could be his huge loss -- his ability to work with the Legislature,'' said Bruce Cain, a political science professor at UC Berkeley.

Even before Tuesday night, Schwarzenegger had hinted that his new strategy would be a back-to-the-future flick, reaching out to the Democrats and independent voters who deserted him in droves Tuesday night.

"If you want to fix the broken system, let us do it together, Democrats and Republicans,'' Schwarzenegger told reporters aboard his "Rebuild to Reform Express'' bus this past weekend. "I'm looking much more at the next step, bringing both parties together.''

But "bipartisanship is like virginity,'' warned Cain. "Once lost, it's never recovered.''

Many of the problems were of Schwarzenegger's own making, from talking about "kicking the butts" of California nurses to letting his opponents make the election a referendum on the governor, rather than on the ideas embodied in his ballot initiatives.

---RIGHT, NOW he wants to work together with the OTHER people we elected to take care of the state's business. Am I a little cynical about why he NOW wants to be a Uniter and not a Divider?


I watched him on TV late night, saw that rictus of an attempt to smile while Maria, all angles and glare was watching him like a female Praying Mantis, looking him over, thinking, "You promised me you were a winner ... and I told my family they could count on him ... oh well, a lot of good eating on a loser that big."

Funny, in his conservatism, he's actually much closer to Adlai Stevenson, historical hero of the left, than George Bush.

Of course in style and rhetoric, even aside from the Austrian accent, he's much closer to Hitler and Goerring. Bullying, shouting down opponents and threatening them, trying to deny them any input, trying to make disagreement and discourse a thing of woosy pussycat girlie men.

(He could be more like Milosevicz or Ceausescu, but I never saw them in action enough to know their style. And Arnie DOES have that Teutonic thuggishness in his delivery.)

To his credit -- he may be a bully, but unlike his sometimes pal, George W Bush, at least Arnie gets out there and picks on the weaker smaller kids by himself, instead of hiding out like a craven little rich kid and having other people -- like the Swift Kick Mercenaries -- having other people do it for him.

Still, he spent millions of dollars to hold a SPECIAL election, i.e., one with a normally small, i.e., Republican, turnout... and even that didn't work.

So what does that mean? Lots of analysis going on:

1) The people do NOT like the kind of programs he sponsored.

2) The people MAY like some of the programs but don't believe they should be imposed by Initiative.

3) The people don't like Arnie because of all the above nastiness and bullying he perpetrated.

4) The people like Arnie but they think he cheated on his citizenship test, and never actually read The Constitution.

5)It doesn't matter whether people like Arnie or not because they they think he's just full of shit.

6) None of the above.

Doesn't matter -- he said it right out loud:

"I still want to do what's best for the people of California"



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