NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 23, 2005

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, during his 19-month career, has easily had the most visionary and strongest gubernatorial leadership performance in modern American history, says Pete du Pont, a former governor of Delaware.

Schwarzenegger replaced incumbent Gray Davis in a recall election in 2003, and then proceeded to offer real change and a broad opportunity vision to California residents.

For example, a week ago the governor called a special election for Nov. 8 to vote on three policy changes that the Democrat-controlled legislature has refused to consider:

  • The most economically important would put additional controls on state spending, limiting spending increases to average revenue growth over the previous three years and give the governor the power to reduce spending if revenue decreases and the legislature fails to act to correct the deficit.
  • The governor also seeks to improve the quality of California public school teachers' skills by requiring five instead of three years of work before they gain tenure and making two consecutive unsatisfactory evaluations sufficient reason to fire a teacher.
  • The most politically explosive of the proposals mandates the drawing of legislative district lines by retired judges; no doubt three bipartisan, retired judges selected by lot from a pool will do better than partisan, self-interested pols.

Gov. Schwarzenegger has no illusion that California's liberal Democratic Party will support his individualistic vision; it has always advocated higher taxes, greater spending, and more expansive government regulation. So his strategy is a straight-up challenge, says du Pont.

Source: Pete du Pont, "Measure for Measure: Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to remake California's government," Opinion Journal, June 22, 2005.

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