Monday, March 28, 2005

A New Era of Progressive Republicans...

I've always argued that, despite not voting for him in the 2000 election, President George Bush has turned out to be a surprisingly progressive politician. Along those same lines, the San Diego Union-Tribune has an excellent examination of the parallels between the progressive policies of early 20th century Governor of California, Hiram Johnson, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A century ago, California marked a brief but historically eventful period when a reform-minded governor, Hiram Johnson, pushed through a flurry of constitutional amendments. Today, the state stands at the gate of a comparable era of political ferment as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pursues an agenda of change nearly as sweeping as that accomplished by Johnson and his Progressive allies during his first term in Sacramento, 1911-1915.

The parallels between Johnson, a moderate to liberal Republican, and Schwarzenegger, a moderate to liberal Republican, are striking.

I voted for Governor Gray Davis in 1998 but quickly came to realize what a poor choice that had been. I thought the California Recall Election was one of the most democratic experiences in my life, and I wonder whether or not all state elections shouldn't be conducted in such a fashion. I voted for Schwarzenegger in the Recall Election but support for him was not universal in this household. I think he is fulfilling the purpose for which he was sent to Sacramento and hope he continues with his reforms to the California State government.

UPDATE: Joe Klein has an editorial about Schwarzenegger's war on special interests in the Time Online Edition. Klein seems to agree with the Governor's push for reforms but thinks he is missing the opportunity to propose "real reform in exchange for new revenues". He even asserts to do otherwise makes Schwarzenegger appear like "an animatronic action figure" for not proposing additional tax increases.

Dan Balz also has an article about the Governor's reforms in the Washington Post.

I think it would be worth keeping in mind while reading these articles that California State Budget revenues have increased by almost one billion dollars since Schwarzenegger took office, but once again, spending will outpace those revenue increases again in the 2005-06 budget.


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