The conversation: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's legacy
As Arnold Schwarzenegger's days as California Governor wind down, let's take a moment to reflect. Are we better off for his service?
Los Angeles Times editorial:
Throughout his tenure, Schwarzenegger has held on to his generally progressive social policies while maintaining a concern for fiscal responsibility. In that sense, he has mirrored the mindset of early 21st century California: skeptical of partisan politics, unwilling to sever links with our historic commitment to growth and environmental and social responsibility, and sometimes at loose ends when confronting the depth of our budget problems. He leaves office having failed to "blow up the boxes of government," as he vowed to do, and with a budget in desperate shape. But he set a new political course for California. The state, if not better off for the recall, appears no worse for it either -- in large part because Schwarzenegger grew beyond the action hero who ran in 2003.
From the Mercury News:
He leaves a legacy of landmark environmental laws, public works spending and the first steps of significant political reform. Yet Schwarzenegger also leaves California a financial basket case, with the nation's lowest credit rating and a staggering $25.4 billion budget deficit -- far larger than the $10.2 billion deficit he inherited from Davis.
From the Washington Post:
[T]he world's best known action star, Schwarzenegger conveyed an image of invincibility, persuading Californians that anything was possible if only they had the right mindset. "I know how to sell something," he said then. As he would come to learn, selling a political idea is one thing. Delivering on it is quite another.
From a "Viewpoints" column in the Sacramento Bee:
A big part of the governor's legacy also was his willingness to be bold. He did not always succeed, but he tackled problems like prison and government reform, rebuilding infrastructure and health care, that had been ducked for decades.
It's easy to criticize when big ideas don't pan out or take years to achieve. But I want leaders willing to get bloodied for the right cause. In times of crisis, incremental change doesn't cut it. The big Schwarzenegger reforms have helped create momentum and a public appetite to fix what's broken in Sacramento.