“Schwarzenegger declined to take a stand”

That was a quote in this San Francisco Chronicle story today about the Governor’s refusal to take a position on a death with dignity bill making its way through the Legislature.
The death with dignity issue is just the latest in a string of issues that Schwarzenegger, despite being the top elected leader in the largest state in the country, won’t touch. I suppose people have gotten to the point where politicians not taking a stand is the norm, but as someone who fights for the ideal, I can’t really let this point go.
Schwarzenegger’s attitude boils down to cowardice. He says that the death with dignity issue, and the death penalty, and gay marriage, and any other important issue that takes a modicum of political courage to discuss, should be taken to the people. But when does he get held accountable for not giving the people the opportunity to weigh in? He has been in office for almost three years now, and he hasn’t brought these issues to the ballot. Hhe took the opportunity to call a special election to decide a series of issues that no one but his deep-pocketed corporate donor class cared about.
If he thinks that the death penalty issue should be decided by the people, and meanwhile innocent people are still being tried and convicted on death penalty sentences, where is the urgency for putting that question on the ballot? The point here is that if Schwarzenegger felt these were important issues, and felt they should be decided by the people, he should take them to the people. Otherwise, it’s just empty rhetoric. And sadly that is something the press has not called him out on.
Also, this kills me:

On other topics, Schwarzenegger appeared disinclined to support an initiative on the June ballot that would raise taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents to pay for preschool programs. Although he declined to officially endorse or oppose the measure, the governor said the idea of universal preschool is fantastic but he opposes a tax increase to pay for it.

That is in a nutshell the problem with Schwarzenegger’s approach, and it’s one we have said from the beginning. Empty rhetoric. All style, no substance. Governors don’t just sit around and think something is fantastic. They show the leadership that is required to actually make things happen.
The Chronicle article is full of hilarious Schwarzenegger quotes, but I think this one is my favorite:

“I did not go to school to become governor — I never thought about it,” he said.

Yeah. We know.