Governor, Beware the Ides of March...
3-15-2007 8:11 am
Today Governor Schwarzenegger will sign legislation that was put on his desk, without the vote of a single Republican in the State Assembly, to move the date of the Presidential primary to Tuesday, February 5, 2007.
The merits, pro and con, to moving the date of the primary up have been discussed pretty thoroughly here on this website, and in many other public forums.
While I can think of a few reasons to veto this legislation, the one that comes most readily to mind is one that doesn't seem to factor into the Governor's bill-signing methodology -- and that is backing up the other players on what is supposed to be his Republican team.
I have had an opportunity to speak with many Republican members of the Assembly, to talk about their concerns. Some are concerned about playing into the hands of the Democrats on their plot to try and extend their terms in office. Others are concerned about the national implications of furthering in a large way a shift to a 'national primary' -- precluding tier two candidates from having a real shot. Others are unhappy with the additional costs of creating an extra, third election in California next year. Many believe that the Governor should not sign this bill without getting a companion measure on a fair redistricting method (to appear on that February 5 ballot) being placed on his desk at the same time.
That said, all of the Assembly GOPers are very concerned that, despite their efforts, Democrats refused to place language in the bill that would reimburse the counties for the additional costs incurred in having to administer this third election.
The Governor should veto this bill because Assembly Republicans were united in their opposition, and by signing this bill, he signals for the first time this year that he is willing to be dismissive of unanimous Assembly GOP opposition to key legislation.
For a Governor who is rhetorically encouraging politicians under the building to "work together" and to "compromise" -- it is signing bills like this with lopsided support from the Democrats that have the greatest chilling effect on his goals.
You see, by continuing to be the ONLY Republican at the Democrats' ball, there is only the Governor's "Bi-Partisan, Party of One" dance taking place.
If the Governor were to veto this bill, and ask that the next bill to move the Presidential primary to come to his desk have the votes of a majority of the Assemblymembers of his own party, he would create the opportunity for cooperation. It would give Speaker Fabian Nunez a reason to sit at the table with Republican Leader Mike Villines and take GOP input seriously.
Instead, the Speaker is doing exactly what I would do if I were him -- ignoring his Republican counterparts, and putting legislation on the Governor's desk that represented no compromise at all.
The Governor, in signing this bill, may very well come to rue this day. When he wonders why his GOP brethren roll their eyes at him, and when he wonders at his inability to garner needed GOP votes for this issues, like the budget, that require a 2/3rds vote... He can look back to this day, when he took the opposition of his own team for granted.
Beware the Ides of March, as it appears to be the day that the Governor indicates that he is not a team player...
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