Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

« Previous Post | Opinion L.A. Home | Next Post »

Blowback: Arnold failed at marriage, not governing

John A. Saylor, a medical doctor living in Long Beach, responds to Times columns evaluating Arnold Schwarzenegger's tenure as governor in the context of recent revelations that he fathered a child out of wedlock. If you would like to write a full-length response to a recent Times article, editorial or Op-Ed, here are our FAQs and submission policy

Schwarzeneggercar
Yes, the chickens have come back to roost. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has little to crow about, and his only association with crow is to eat it. We all knew he had the lust to compare with his biceps. That Schwarzenegger could keep his paternal exploits secret from his wife for more than 10 years is as remarkable as the fact that Osama bin Laden was secretly housed within the Pakistani military community of Abbottabad for five years.

Schwarzenegger's fall from grace has intensified the flood of condemnation of his governance of California, including columns last week by Steve Lopez and George Skelton. Lost in the crowing of Arnold's enemies is the fact that they are largely responsible for much of California's grief thanks to the defeat of the former governor's four ballot measures in November 2005.

Those enemies -- the Democratic legislators, the liberal pundits and the powerful public worker unions -- launched the intensive campaigns in the media that ensured the defeat of the ballot measures that would have had a powerful beneficial influence on California's economy and education system. Let's review them.

Proposition 74 would have increased tenure from two to five years for public school teachers, thus reducing the possibility of undesirable or ineffective teachers from becoming prematurely permanent.

Proposition 75 would have prohibited public employee labor organizations from using dues or fees for political contributions unless the employee provided prior consent each year. That might have been extremely effective in preventing the prevalent but economically unsound excessive salaries and pensions.

Proposition 76 was designed to slow state spending. Among other requirements, it would have limited state spending to that of the prior year's total plus revenue growth. What a difference that would have made.

Proposition 77 would have handed redistricting duties to retired judges and taken it away from elected -- and partisan -- legislators.

Schwarzenegger deserves all the derision he is receiving for his moral shortcomings. However, he has surely had a bum rap regarding his tenure as governor. The onus belongs on the liberal pundits and Democratic legislators who successfully killed the propositions that would have helped transform California's government, schools and the economy.

-- John A. Saylor

RELATED:

Editorial: Arnold Schwarzenegger's failings

What makes politicians stray?

Gregory Rodriguez: The old taboos, back in the news

George Skelton: Arnold Schwarzenegger was unfaithful to Californians

Steve Lopez: Arnold Schwarzenegger's lies have a familiar ring

Photo: Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger leaves his Santa Monica office on May 17. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press.

 

Comments () | Archives (47)

The comments to this entry are closed.

l.bolard

This must be the best joke I have heard today.

All those "killed" propositions are deadly for workers, cut labor's wages, security and health care-that means destruction of middle class.
Add to this the five times more in fees for state parks, that now have no portable toilets or services, triple for university education, resulting in fewer classes and amazing growth of politically appointed administration that uses 75% of funds to fund itself, the failed 10times higher fee per class at community colleges (students stopped signing up), the hike in car registration, now called fees, the "investment" of pension funds into failed derivatives, the destruction of social net for the poorest, sicked and the disabled Californians and the acres of crumbling cement that remains from the "development" taxpayers paid for but only developers profited from using redevelopment agency.

The taxes lost to oil extraction , corporations, banks and rich.

Arnold was as bad as they come, almost as bad as he was in his first films. You know, brain is not a muscle.

Ahem

I agree with the doctor and commend him for writing what I did not have time to write.

AS tried to set this state on the path to fiscal sanity. He was predictably attacked by the Unions,in a rush of well-done and totally misleading ads.

What I did not expect was the stunning neutrality or oppsoition of the state's media--the LA Times in particular.

The Times opposed them all if I recall, stating that there was no need to worry about any of the dire predictions made by AS at the time.

Well AS was right and the Times and other media in the state were 100% wrong. We live with the consequences: swollen pensions and benefits are consuming the state's revenue and will consume far more if not stopped.

We cannot maintain our roads. Our schools suffer from administrative and benefit bloat: the teachers demonstrating to "Save Our Kids" are represented by Unions that will not budge an inch for the kids.

UC Professors retire at age 50-does it sound like the UC has a revenue problem? Now UC wants to raise tuition even higher and admit more out of state kids to pay the tab for the 50ish professors retiring and touring the world, while the rest of us toil.

We have state employees retiring with grotesquely inflated pensions while most taxpayers don't have a pension and many don't have a job.

All this could have been contained if those Propositions had been passed. But I suppose news articles about fondling were more important than fiscal soundness.

AS also appointed some great judges and vetoed a lot of bills that never should have been proposed. He leaves with my disdain for his personal life but my absolute gratitude for what he tried to do as governor.

Dick Diamond

Good at governing? What state are you in? The state of denial or as a California resident said to me recently, "We don't live in California, we live in the state of Dysfunction."
This sounds like to L.A. Time of the 1920's and 1930's. Whose running the paper?

Patricia

I just think Arnold needs to think of something professionally entertaining as his personal life is for people at the moment. He was better off when people were paying for the entertainment rather than it costing him... ?Maybe the french attitude is the best concerning Arnold's personal life. Considering the statistics on cheating, I suspect there are many with their own cheat baggage laughing and talking about Arnold, not that a sex with the maid story doesn't provoke a laugh or two. It is great that this article tries to point out that one area of human weakness is not an indication of overall failure. In fact, Arnold has been able to successfully accomplish much more than the average person. Possibly the only way for some to compete with him is by taking a truth in one area and attempting to disqualify him in other areas. Arnold could have been relaxing in luxury yet, if I am correct, Arnold didn't take a governor salary, probably devoted a lot of time to the job, the choice possibly aged him considerably... with lack of appreciation the reward. Maybe the maid showed more appreciation? Many married people have children from unnplanned pregnancy. There is a cute nice and innocent boy out there who may have been unplanned but his life is not a joke.

Angela Birch

Proposition 77 is the only one that makes sense. I live in a state where parties are not allowed to create strange shaped districts in an effort to manage "safe seats" the other ones hopeless. Increasing the period of time before tenure. Wouldn't make any difference, the rotton teachers are usually burned out teachers of long experience who are just exhaursted at being blamed for everything, and getting no support from parents or the school district.Prop 75? Yes it is a GOP wet dream to make sure union personnel cannot contribute politically. But it doesn't change the fact the Pensions are funded by employee contributions almost entirely, except when political appointess put on the retirement board gamble away billions forcing government to pick up the difference as required by law. Salaries. For the same jobs, public employee gat paid less than the private sector. State spending to last year plus revenue growth sounds spiffy but then there is the unexpected. A freeway bridge collapses, a big fire, earthquake or a spike in unemployment they cost money, not every year a but a lot of money when it happens, so we just leave paople to burn bacause it would be expensive to save them?

Mike

Hear, hear!

I hate the piling on that happens after events like this. It's especially unseemly when it comes from the editorial board of a major newspaper, rather than from the HuffPost. California is ungovernable, but Schwarzenegger managed to accomplish more than expected. Give him credit for that.

Ken

His first act in office was to eliminate a car tax that provided California with $4 billion dollars. And what was the deficit in his first year as Governor: about $4 billion. Take that $4 billion and multiply it by his years in office, calculate the yearly interest on that deficit (don't forget to compound the interest), and you have more than half (possibly up to 2/3) of California's total debt. Anyone still believe his tenure was a success?

Brian Grossman

Dr. Saylor,

If your premise is correct, why did former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger only try once for his reforms? Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger promised to work with the legislature. Instead, he became adversarial immediately. Both the legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger deserve blame.

California needs a Governor who will work with legislators that will work for the common good of all Californians. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger promised reform and cooperation, and delivered a California worse than when he took over.
While the legislature deserves blame, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger came in on a recall election and was a failure in leadership. Perhaps the people of California will help keep the legislature and Gov. Brown accountable.

jopsjennings

Is that all it takes to be a good governor over 7 years? Put 4 reasonably good initiatives on the ballot? Are you sure you want to set such high standards?

Mark

I believe the steroids had a direct impact on Arnold's ability to think clearly. Too much juice, he should be put before congress and get grilled.
I think the situation he has found himself has smacked him right between the eyes!
What a burro!

John Lepire

As has been said many times to California citizens attempting to defend the indefensible Arnold Schwarzenegger, surely you jest. Point in fact, Arnold effectively ran his recall campaign on bold faced lies. That, unlike Gray Davis, he would run the state on a balanced budget and "tear up the states credit card". To begin with, shortly after being elected Arnold drastically reduced the auto tax, immedately increasing the states indebtedness by a whopping $5 billion in one swell swoop. As Steve Lopez pointed out, no governor in the history of California has been more eager to float bonds, exponentially increasing the states net indebtedness. The point being made is that by any objective standard Arnold has proven himself to be a total fraud as governor and a flop as a husband.

djon

Sounds like sour grapes coming from bitter reporter. "If this, if that..." Truth is Arnold was a horrible governor and ran the state deep into a hole as he played his endless PR games. "Clean House"??? Little did we know. Wake up CA and quit electing actors.

Information Exchange

Inherent in the word governor is the concept of regulating.

Having successfully recalled an incumbent governor because of his inability to manage the state coffers, the immediate past holder of the office proceeded to run up a budget imbalance much higher.

The inaction speaks for itself.

No morals, no skills.

Lakers-17

The problem with California is that it's become a complete socialist state. It has one of the highest state tax rates and one of the poorest state services in the US. Try starting a business in California. High taxes, long delays, endless paperwork and regulations. All you liberals who want to regulate and tax businesses to death? Good work, you won. Everyone left for states like Nevada and Texas. If not for silicon valley and tourism, California would have nothing, and would have gone bankrupt a decade ago. All you liberals who want to free prisoners? Good work, you won again. What a disgrace!

Bob

Uh, Dr. Saylor, please tell us you know more about medicine than you do about economics, because you know zilch when it comes to California's economic problems. This state has given break after break to the rich, and you morons still won't be satisfied until ALL the benefits you gain won't cost you a cent. It isn't enough that you greedheads basically raped California after Prop 13. You just can't bear the thought of actually having to pay anything at all for the infrastructure that citizens like the rest of us have put in place for you: roads, police, fire, the best colleges in the world, and other public works.

Need another yacht to keep up with the dermatologists, doc?

timelimit

To cover up this EX-Gov. is B S . His job as Gov. was from the start a cover up. Was he Blackmail during this time?The people of california should know. Newpaper deversion from this issue is unamerican and leads american Goverment to corruption path.Blackmail is the issue,so stop the B S about maid and off spring. FBI should look into this California Governor for 8 yr. was was dealing with bond money loans. Exposer would make him OBEY to special interest.

Cedar

Schwartzenwhatsis was without doubt the most ineffective, inept governor in California history, and ranks very high in American history with such luminaries as Warren G Harding, another former governor who briefly became President, who was also corrupt and equally inept to the core. Both pandered to the interests of corporate greed. Both increased prison populations. Both left huge deficits. Fortunately Arnold's own misbehavior derailed future ambition. It is a shame that Dr. Saylor is so bizarrely partisan, but then blindness and ignorance of facts is part and parcel of Republicanism.

hf2hvit

John Saylor is just another right-wing whack job. I have worked with him at Long Beach's largest hospital. He's no better there than he is writing his "protect MY money" right-wing letters he writes in the LB Press-Telegram

Nikolay Velinov, EU, Sofia

Finally good word.

Steve

Correct and nicely said. The personal thing is a riot, but it isn't connected to California's financial mess.

Nova yos Galen

Mr. Diamond - If you read the article carefully, you would have noted that Dr. Saylor's piece is in response to a Los Angeles Times article, not originating with the LA Times.

Jim

Uh, he also failed at governing.

eahostudio

"lead" by proposition?

what we really need is a Prop.UP

Wombat

Arnold was elected to balance the state budget after two terms the state budget was in even worse shape: FAILURE, MASSIVE FAILURE. Arnold was never able to rally Republicans to raise revenues: FAILURE, MASSIVE FAILURE.

Now, the Republicans are re-running their 2000 playbook with a fake plan to fix the budget by eliminating waste, they have suddenly found. Why didn't they bring their budget plan up when Arnold was governor? Because it's a fake political ploy.

The Time's has a lot of gall to blame "liberal pundits" for our bad governance. It's just another right wing attempt to distract people from the simple truth that the radical right wing newspaper owners of this paper want to destroy the social safety net and turn back the clock to the bad old days before the New Deal. Why is it fashionable to hate the middle class? Why is it considered thougtful to throw seniors under the bus after they have worked their whole lives producing trillions in wealth for ths country? Since 1980 US productivity has doubled but those of us who actually do the work are bearing all the hardships and making less money, while fat cat newspaper owners sling mud at us.

Whoever wrote this op-ed should resign in disgrace. I'm tired of your anti-American rants.

Silverlake Mike

Dr. Saylor, stop apologizing for this FAILURE! Arnold is a terrible father and husband, but an even worse governor!

Jeff Burns

The LA Times opinion piece on Arnold is the most ridiculous article I have ever read. What the author is basically saying is that Arnold was a good Governor because he tried to get some things done. Good Governors don't TRY to get things done; they actually GET things done. The fact that he couldn't get anything he wanted passed through the legislature is proof that he was a horrible negotiator and a bad Governor. He chose to pick fights instead of compromising, and that is what cost him his legacy. In the end, I'm sure that he would have enjoyed having 50% of his agenda pushed through instead of 0%. Loser.

Read more: http://blogs.sacbee.com/the_state_worker/2011/05/am-reading-prison-ruling-uc-co.html#ixzz1NHld6d6X

Jeff Burns

The LA Times opinion piece on Arnold is the most ridiculous article I have ever read. What the author is basically saying is that Arnold was a good Governor because he tried to get some things done. Good Governors don't TRY to get things done; they actually GET things done. The fact that he couldn't get anything he wanted passed through the legislature is proof that he was a horrible negotiator and a bad Governor. He chose to pick fights instead of compromising, and that is what cost him his legacy. In the end, I'm sure that he would have enjoyed having 50% of his agenda pushed through instead of 0%. Loser.

bill

yeah, more or less true - but he will never escape the nunez scandal - that will and should put a blemish on his tenure that will never be taken away. its amazing that here Arnold was a halfway decent gov (considering how he only had big libs to deal with in the legislature) and was rather sophisticated only to throw it away with the terrible pardon for a convict who willfully participated in stabbing people resulting in one dead during the event. the arrogance and stupidity of the nunez son where he said in effect, "my dad will take care of us should we get caught" is breathtaking and shows no remorse. these were real bad guys. therefore, its largly justified to me that history will judge Arnold negitivley for such a miscarrable of justice. thats where the main critizism of the guy should lie.

lothiansot

No doubt Doctor Saylor is as effective and unselfish a physician
as Schwarzenegger was as Governor.

chris brandow

you get credit for a) what you actually accomplish and b) for what happens under your watch. You don't get credit for a) things you propose but couldn't get done b) things that you would have done if all these other bad things hadn't happened.

Arnold's biggest problem was that he had no clue how to get the other parts of the government to do what he wanted.

Opusthedog

Arnold doomed himself almost from the very first day of his first administration. Campaigning on getting California back of its fiscal feet, and that he could manage the growing budget deficit faced even back then, his very first act was to roll back the excise tax on automobiles.

Here was a governor who was clueless, address a growing budget deficit by reducing state income. Huh???

Arnold then went on for 8 more years trying to run the State of California on the basis of polls; perhaps he should have been running on American Idol instead.

  JOHN R. ARENAS

i think he married the kennedy girl for political and financial reasons.
he would never become governor of california without her name and political contacts. opportunist actor or politician?
maybe i am wrong, but i don't think so.

Danny

My insight is that although I'm generally in favor of unions a traditional union is limited by the fact that there business has to remain profitable for them to stay employed. In other words they don't want to destroy themselves. A union auto worker for example at GM makes GM less profitable as well as less competitive compared to a non union worker at other companies. So there's a tug of war between management and share holders with the workers who mostly assemble vehicles. Since alot of manufacturing is done over seize in places like Mexico etc.. to save money." Cut overhead". But the Government unlike a private business does not turn a profit and never "cuts overhead". As a matter a fact there are automatic increases to every government program every year. Because the Government can either raise taxes or simply print more money at the federal level. So therefor Gov unions do not have the aforementioned limitation on wages and benefits (pensions) because the State Gov can always just raise more and more taxes and the Federal Gov can print more with the printing press causing inflation. Which devalues our savings, and stunts economic growth.

Danny

My insight is that although I'm generally in favor of unions a traditional union is limited by the fact that there business has to remain profitable for them to stay employed. In other words they don't want to destroy themselves. A union auto worker for example at GM makes GM less profitable as well as less competitive compared to a non union worker at other companies. So there's a tug of war between management and share holders with the workers who mostly assemble vehicles. Since alot of manufacturing is done over seize in places like Mexico etc.. to save money." Cut overhead". But the Government unlike a private business does not turn a profit and never "cuts overhead". As a matter a fact there are automatic increases to every government program every year. Because the Government can either raise taxes or simply print more money at the federal level. So therefor Gov unions do not have the aforementioned limitation on wages and benefits (pensions) because the State Gov can always just raise more and more taxes and the Federal Gov can print more with the printing press causing inflation. Which devalues our savings, and stunts economic growth.

Danny

My insight is that although I'm generally in favor of unions a traditional union is limited by the fact that there business has to remain profitable for them to stay employed. In other words they don't want to destroy themselves. A union auto worker for example at GM makes GM less profitable as well as less competitive compared to a non union worker at other companies. So there's a tug of war between management and share holders with the workers who mostly assemble vehicles. Since alot of manufacturing is done over seize in places like Mexico etc.. to save money." Cut overhead". But the Government unlike a private business does not turn a profit and never "cuts overhead". As a matter a fact there are automatic increases to every government program every year. Because the Government can either raise taxes or simply print more money at the federal level. So therefor Gov unions do not have the aforementioned limitation on wages and benefits (pensions) because the State Gov can always just raise more and more taxes and the Federal Gov can print more with the printing press causing inflation. Which devalues our savings, and stunts economic growth.

Danny

My insight is that although I'm generally in favor of unions a traditional union is limited by the fact that there business has to remain profitable for them to stay employed. In other words they don't want to destroy themselves. A union auto worker for example at GM makes GM less profitable as well as less competitive compared to a non union worker at other companies. So there's a tug of war between management and share holders with the workers who mostly assemble vehicles. Since alot of manufacturing is done over seize in places like Mexico etc.. to save money." Cut overhead". But the Government unlike a private business does not turn a profit and never "cuts overhead". As a matter a fact there are automatic increases to every government program every year. Because the Government can either raise taxes or simply print more money at the federal level. So therefor Gov unions do not have the aforementioned limitation on wages and benefits (pensions) because the State Gov can always just raise more and more taxes and the Federal Gov can print more with the printing press causing inflation. Which devalues our savings, and stunts economic growth.

Laurie Wiegler

You are forgetting to add his incredible work on behalf of the environment, including the hydrogen highway in California -- putting the state on the world stage's eco-map -- and promoting safer auto emissions standards and the dictate for 33% renewable energy by 2020. I don't recall thinking of my home state in quite such environmental terms prior to his taking office.

I was so sad to hear about his personal situation -- not just for Maria and the children she had, but for Arnold's son with the staffer. This boy deserves a full life and one of love and respect. I hope that Schwarzenegger is carving out some room for the boy amidst this chaos, and that all the haters realize an innocent life should be respected - no matter how fowl the morals, how clay-like the feet of its makers.

jk

And what? No one remembers the first thing Arnold did after the recall and his "selection" by Lord Rothschild, Warren Buffet and Michael Milken was abandon the lawsuit against Enron for defrauding California rate payers of billions of dollars of which the lawsuit sought damages of $9 billion and was considered a slam dunk. Think we could use that $9 billion now? Yeah, Arnold did exactly what he was "selected" to do and that is bankrupt the State of California.

Fabian

Fabian Nunez. Arnold is a scummy politician like the rest of them.

wg2k

How would Prop 75 have prevented excessive salaries? The unions generally represent the lower-paid, front-line workers, like janitors and librarians. The best paid people in government are the upper management, and they aren't unionized. The excessive salaries are rhetorically justified by the argument that the public sector needs to be competitive with the private sector. Whether these justifications hold water is debatable -- but unions are not part of the debate.

Proposition 77 was a terrible idea. Three judges deciding how to redistrict everything? Please. These judges would have become "kingmakers" and subject to a lot of external influences. The process would have been made more political than ever.

At an abstract level, distancing redistricting from the overall political process is just a bad idea. Reform has been sold to us as a way to depoliticize an inherently political process. If you look at the current redistricting system that's been created -- the number of people involved in the process is less than it was when the politicians haggled with each other to draw their own districts.
Less participation equals less democracy; it's simple math.


And anyone who thinks AS did a good job is deluded. His enthusiasm for bond issuances actually turned the P&F party, the socialists, against government debt. It takes something crazy to turn self-described socialists into fiscal conservatives, and it seems like AS was that crazy something.

The GOP didn't help AS any either by going against him and calling him a RINO because he didn't share the hate-gays, love-guns, hate-immigrants, and hate-women agenda of the far right. That's partly why he ended up horse-trading with Democrats. The GOP right-wing hardline is responsible for the demise of the party, and its decline in numbers to the point where they're almost a permanent minority. I've been told they're behind this redistricting nonsense, and it's just a strategy to try and get some GOP seats where there aren't any.

RwH

Arnold never claimed to be a saint and walk on water like so many other politicians (Coburn comes to mind).

TMAC

Oh please. While I do agree that his marital infidelity has nothing to do with his governance, he certainly was not a good executive. Just to take the line that the passing of all the propositions listed above seems a bit of a stretch. But that is just my opinion. Good legislators and executives get things done in spite of the political divide that is always present at the federal, state and local governments. Taking an ideological and biased stand haven't been very productive most times. Compromise has to be part of the equation.

JSully

Give the doctor a break. He is still practicing. I hope he is more practiced in medicine then he is in short term memory of California politics. Another right wing quack….

Maria

So the Governor puts initiatives on the ballot...to let the people decide. They decide and now its unions, newspapers, Democratic legislators and liberal pundits who are at fault?
If you are angry with the initiative results blame the voters. The same voters recalled Davis and elected Arnold. Where were the unions, newspapers, Democratic legislators and liberal pundits then? I guess that time it was the corporations, Fox News, right wing talk show hosts and conservative bloggers who were at fault.
Dear doctor, its always been the voters. It was then, it is now and it will always be.

Macdoodle

He failed at both.

The controller gave advice to cut interest and help early on. Arnold instead plunged CA farther into debt.

Robert

Arnold has sad, stressed-out eyes in this picture. He looks like a man in a pressure cooker, not a big powerful politician and star.

Jim

It's good to hear, finally, the truth, that Arnold balanced the budget and paid off the debt left to him by those evil "Libs."

I had to look twice to make sure this idiotic article wasn't written by Jonah Goldberg.


Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video


Categories


Recent Posts
Reading Supreme Court tea leaves on 'Obamacare' |  March 27, 2012, 5:47 pm »
Candidates go PG-13 on the press |  March 27, 2012, 5:45 am »
Santorum's faulty premise on healthcare reform |  March 26, 2012, 5:20 pm »

Archives
 


About the Bloggers
The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



In Case You Missed It...