“You can judge a man by the quality of his enemies,” a wise political mentor of mine once told me – the theory being that an even better barometer of someone’s worth than if the good guy’s like him, is if the bad guys are after him…because if the bad guys are in hot pursuit, that means they’re really doing something right.
If judged by that and that alone – my tune about our fair Stalinist Governor might be changing a bit.
Last week, Arnie delivered his State of the State address. I expected to hear a few nuggets of mild-conservatism out of his mouth, laced heavily with things so wacky they’d make Ted Kennedy blush.
Much to my surprise though, the Governator declared war on union-thuggery up and down the state. He pissed off the CSEA by announcing pension reform. He irritated the CCPOA by announcing reform of the prison system. He infuriated the CTA by using the two little magic words, “merit pay,” and announcing his distaste with the tenure system. He didn’t get any applause from a good number of Assembly and Senate Democrats by coming out in favor of a mid-decade redistricting plan, and while he verbally placaded them, he upset some tree huggers by talking about the need to build more power plants and transmission lines throughout the state.
If you really can judge someone by the quality of their enemies – well, Arnold’s looking better all the time.
But that’s not it. In his speech, he “borrowed” text from some great conservative heroes, as well.
He “borrowed” language from Reagan, announcing that California’s fiscal crossroads was “a time for choosing,” echoing Reagan’s legendary Goldwater speech.
He “borrowed” language from Tom McClintock, making it clear that “we don’t have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem.”
This even brought someone, and I’m guessing it was Tom, to shout “Here! Here!” from the back of the Assembly chambers.
Arnold’s speech was also a stroke in political savvy. Figuring presumably that some voters may be tiring of his broken-record pleas that if the Legislature won’t pass his bills, he’ll take them to the people, instead he turned that concept on its head. In announcing a Special Session of the Legislature, Arnold basically said that instead of taking his ideas to the people, if the Legislature (ie, the Democrats) fail to act on his ideas…THE PEOPLE will rise up to put those ideas on the ballot, and he’ll be there standing right beside them…cute imagery, smart politics. I’m sure Frommer and Perata were thrilled!
After hearing his speech, it’s not like I’m saying Arnold is all of a sudden one of us. Far from it. Socially, he’s still a commie. But, if the saying is true and you can judge a man by the quality of his enemies, then I might be willing to move Arnold from the “Bolshevik” column to the “Jacobin” column…he’s getting better, day by day!