The Work We Have To Do

Cross-posted on Governor Phil
Tuesday’s election results were not what we wanted. And electing Arnold Schwarzenegger over Phil Angelides will not move this state forward as a leader for the nation. This we know. What is less clear, and what we must sort through now, is why we got the results we did.
There will be a lot of theories as to what caused Phil’s loss. Certainly there were a variety of factors, not the least of which is going up against a celebrity incumbent Governor who can summon an admiring gaggle of print and tv journalists with the snap of his fingers. But we also must confront the brutal facts of our own weaknesses, and the weaknesses of this campaign, if we want to learn anything from this experience and prepare for the fights ahead on the road to 2010.
At the top of the list for California progressives is figuring out the language and the narrative around taxes. We tried to push this on Governor Phil, but Phil’s own website still invoked conservative frames of “tax relief” when discussing his economic plans. As this race showed, relentless anti-tax attacks are about the only thing left for Schwarzenegger-style Republicans to beat us on. It is very easy for them to steal all of our other progressive issues and win over Democrats (minimum wage, environment, education.) We can expect the next moderate Republican candidate, who I predict will be newly elected Insurance Commissioner Poizner, to follow this formula in the future.

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What does it all mean?

As far as we can tell, it means: run progressive.
It seems as though running lame just isn’t going to get you anywhere.
Phil Angelides won the Democratic Primary. His campaign was not the most innovative when it came to online tactics. And toward the end, it degenerated into a predictable mudslinging war with Steve Westly. But in the end, his campaign spoke to progressives. He got most of the progressive endorsements, and distinguished himself from the pack by being the only major statewide candidate in God knows how long to actually try to make a case for tax increases on coporations and the ultra-wealthy in order to pay for the things we need to get our state back on track.
I for one am convinced that Phil will be an excellent candidate to go up against Schwarznegger in the fall. He is a clear choice, and will be presenting a clear vision that is positive and that is nowhere anywhere near anything Schwarzenegger will touch, in spite of his fancy new marketing.
Francine Busby lost in her race for Congress. Kos has a great analysis of how her Republican opponent actually ran to her left, and WON.
Meanwhile, the fall campaign has already begun, and it looks like Schwarzenegger will be playing the duck and cover game when it comes to him being associated with President Bush, whose approval numbers have hit a record low in the Golden State. No more than 28% of Californians approve of the job Bush is doing.
In Schwarzenegger’s first election where he will only face *gasp* ONE opponent, those numbers aren’t looking so hot.

Today is the day – Vote!

It’s election day, so if you haven’t already, please get out and vote today!
If you are still deciding, chek out our one-stop source of election information, the 2006 Primary Voter’s Guide.
And if you need to be motivated, read our good friend Frank Russo’s analysis of why this election is important.
Don’t let this be an historic low-turnout election! Go vote and remind your friends, family members and coworkers to do the same.

Sign the Progressive Pledge

Make a statement about the future of California by joining the hundreds of Californians who have already signed Speak Out California’s Progressive Values Pledge.
After gathering thousands of signatures from around the state, we will deliver this petition to Gov. Schwarzenegger and our other elected leaders in Sacramento to demand they focus on and commit to a broad and positive vision for California by crafting and implementing solutions to the real problems we face: poverty, the economic squeeze on the middle class, a crumbling health care system and struggling public schools and universities.
This is a positive way to channel your frustration with Governor Schwarzenegger, President Bush and their right-wing agenda. Sign the Progressive Pledge now, and please forward the link to everyone you know in California who shares this vision for our state.


State elections officials sued over voting machines

Good for them. From the Sac Bee:

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, requests that a judge quickly rescind certifications of the Diebold touchscreen and optical scan voting systems that were conditionally granted a month ago by Secretary of State Bruce McPherson.
If a court agrees, the systems would be decertified for use in November’s elections. They could still be used in June balloting, however.

I like this quote from Voter Action:

“Quite simply, we can’t have trustworthy elections with Diebold’s touchscreen voting machines,” said Lowell Finley, a co-director of Voter Action, a nonprofit advocacy organization that is assisting with the lawsuit. “Without trustworthy elections, we don’t have a democracy.”

It’s kind of amazing how simple it is! I can’t wait until we get a new Secretary of State.

A day late and a bond dollar short

As Assemblymembers and Senators try to rush to put the largest bond measure in state history on the June ballot days after the legal deadline, the question on everyone’s minds should be: where was the Governor on this earlier?
There is no reason why this rush should be happening. The Governor was fine with this proposal being on the November ballot — why wouldn’t he, after all? The infrastructure bond is very popular with voters and it would give him the opportunity to talk about it at every campaign stop if it was on the ballot at the same time as he was up for re-election. So why this last-ditch effort to rush for June?
My guess is it’s more smoke and mirrors — what we’ve come to expect from the Schwarzenegger administration. And with the mainstream press as clueless as it is, it’s not difficult to sell the storyline of the “incompetent Legislature” that can’t get it together to pass this bond. But this, of course, is not the true story.
There are two main things to remember here — things you will not read about in the mainstream media. One, no matter how hard the Democrats work to come up with a plan that would benefit most Californians, the Republicans in the Legislature will always stonewall them. The Republicans in the California Legislature are some of the most right-wing, Neanderthal, outside-of-the-mainstream people in politics. They have seats only because seats have been rigged for them — not because these kinds of Republicans could ever win in a competitive district in California, the most progressive state in the nation.
Two, stop for a second to think about the level of negotiation and compromise that must go into a $50 BILLION bond for massive infrastructure projects all across the state (in every Legislator’s district). That’s a lot of money. Those are a lot of projects. Furthermore, it has to pass by a two-thirds vote in both the Assembly and Senate, something that rarely happens anytime ever (see above comment about Republicans), as well as the Governor’s office, when the Governor is banking his re-election on this plan.
The chances of something like this being hashed out in a week are slim, and they should be. In fact, if they do manage to squeeze something out in the middle of the night when everyone is at wits-end, it will be the people of California who lose. It’s not possible for a bond package being executed in this rushed and thrown together way to be the best bond package for the people of this state. You can thank Gov. Schwarzenegger for another example of failed leadership amid opportunity.

Ms. President

A new Field Poll shows that 69% of Californians support a woman in the Oval Office, although they are still divided as to whether Hillary Rodham Clinton is the right woman to blaze the trail. The margin of people who think the U.S. is ready for a woman to lead the free world is higher here than nationally — a February CBS poll found only 55% of Americans think so.
Interestingly, though, that same poll found that 92% of American adults said they would vote for a woman candidate for president from their party if she were qualified. That number has increased steadily since 1955, when 52% of Americans said they would support a woman president.
I had the opportunity last night to attend an event put on by Emily’s List, where I saw four women candidates who are running for offices ranging from Governor to U.S. Senate from all across the country. All of these women were smart, articulate, engaging, funny, and emphatically progressive. They spoke clearly and eloquently about the most pressing issues facing Americans. They were all very committed, having worked hard to raise the money they need to be competetive in their very hotly contested races. Watching and listening to them, I felt like I saw the future, speaking to me today.
I saw glimpses of a time when a woman candidate for president will be the norm, not a poll question.

Help fix the Gov.’s bond proposal

California’s elected leaders are currently considering multi-billion-dollar bond proposals to invest in our state’s infrastructure.

A growing coalition of more than 43 environmental, social justice and public-health groups, led by the Planning and Conservation League, is urging Gov. Schwarzenegger and members of the Legislature to adopt a set of principles that will guide decision-making so that the right kind of bond package is passed.

As constituents, you can help by making it clear to the Governor and your legislative leaders that you agree with this approach and urge them to sign on to the 10-Point Program that has been put forth by this environmental coalition. Send a letter to your elected leaders today!


Give me a break

The Governor’s advisors are divided about Prop 82, the preschool for all initiative.

Richard Riordan, the governor’s former secretary of education, and his wife, Nancy Daly Riordan, are among Proposition 82’s leading supporters. Some of the big donors to the governor’s campaigns – Robert and Elizabeth Lowe and Warren Hellman – are also lending their names to the campaign to tax high earners to pay for universal preschool.
On the other side, the campaign against Proposition 82 is relying on advice from some consultants who have worked for Schwarzenegger’s political committees or Citizens to Save California, a coalition of business groups that supported Schwarzenegger’s November 2005 initiatives. Two of the governor’s staunchest allies are heading up the campaign against Proposition 82: California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg and Small Business Action Committee President Joel Fox.

Hence the Governor can’t take a position. Nevermind that very prominent pro-business groups, such as the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, have given him perfect cover by endorsing it. This guy just has no set of values guiding him when it comes to anything that’s fundamental or important. He has very strong convictions about exercise programs. That’s about all we’ve seen so far. He can’t take a stand if any of his crony corporate contributors or right-wing advisors behind the scenes have a problem. That is not the kind of person who deserves to lead a state like California.