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Stateside: The Man On The White Horse

Stateside with Rosalea

The Man On The White Horse

One of the comments that caught my ear during the Governor-elect's ride on a white steed to save California from itself was Schwarzenegger's comment as he left his polling place. Asked how he felt, he said he felt fine and that now everything was in God's hands.

Excuse me? I don't recall during the campaign that he was planning to be appointed by God - wasn't it going to be the people's choice? Mind you, I did hear tell of others praying for divine intervention as they watched the results come in. I wasn't able to follow the results until around midnight, when I logged into the secretary of state's website.

Lest you think Down Under that everyone in California has taken leave of their senses, please do take a look at the voting map at http://vote2003.ss.ca.gov. Eight of the nine Bay Area counties voted against the recall, as did all the coastal counties from Big Sur northwards. The exceptions were the northernmost county, which voted for the recall, and LA county in Southern California, which voted against it.

Many of those counties "only just" voted either way, with San Francisco City and County being the exception - a whopping 80 percent of the voters there said no on the recall. SF's mayor, Willie Brown, is one of the people tapped for Schwarzenegger's transition team and on PBS the next day he made a comment that reminded me of something. "This is not a parliamentary system," Brown said as he warned other states with recall provisions to get rid of them.

Brown was Speaker in the California Assembly from 1982 until 1995. His point was further underscored in an article in the Oakland Tribune this morning, where another former Speaker on the transition team, Bob Hertzberg, was quoted as saying he "bet the entire Legislature would have been recalled if the voters could have done that." Which, of course, is just exactly what happens in a parliamentary system when the government loses a vote of confidence or can't get an appropriation for the budget.

Under the type of electoral system here in the US, elections happen at fixed times, and the only means of changing their results are impeachment proceedings, recalls (if that is an option in the state's constitution), or death. The president (in the case of the federal government) or the governor (in the case of states) submits a budget and it has to get approved by the Congress/legislature within a certain timeframe. If it doesn't, then federal creditors and employees (as happened during Clinton's term) or state creditors and employees (as has happened twice during Gray Davis's time as California's governor) don't get paid. But the government does not fall.

And that, my dears, is the single most self-defeating aspect of this recall. The expectation of Governor Schwarzenegger getting a budget passed easily in a legislature that is dominated by Democrats is somewhat faint. In the meantime, businesses and residents of California will be squirrelling their money away instead of spending it, and the economy will sink further in the mire of gloomy outlooks. Well, I guess that means more Republicans will get elected.

Oh, by the way. Did you remember that October 7 was the second anniversary of the Bush administration bombing Afghanistan? Three regime changes in two years - these guys are smokin'!

**** ENDS ****

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