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