** Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger again vetoed LA state Senator Gil Cedillo’s perennial drivers licenses for illegal immigrants bill. Signing this bill was one of the nails in former Governor Gray Davis’s political coffin in the 2003 recall election.
** Embattled Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee who lost a close Democratic primary to super-rich anti-Iraq War candidate Ned Lamont, darling of the “netroots,” has a big lead in the general election now running as an independent.
Some California Democratic strategists, including those around the Angelides for Governor campaign, had predicted that Lamont’s primary win presaged a surge for Angelides in the California governor’s race.
** Being very fatigued and, ah, distracted, while reviewing the video footage I discovered a few things I missed in my recounting of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides’ anti-war rally earlier today at a Sacramento community college.
The state treasurer said that there is more torture going on now in Iraq than under Saddam Hussein. He cited an unnamed UN report for that particular nugget. He said that Schwarzenegger has repeatedly said that the Iraq policy is good and that he had today called Angelides “irresponsible” for focusing his campaign now on bringing the California National Guard back from Iraq. Actually, I don’t think Schwarzenegger has repeatedly called the Iraq policy a good thing, and I can hear Angelides’ longtime advisor Bob Mulholland hoping against hope that the governor is foolish enough to straighten that out. Schwarzenegger himself, to my knowledge, said nothing about Angelides today, although a campaign surrogate attacked the treasurer.
Questioned repeatedly by reporters during his brief press availability about the efficacy and relevance of Angelides’ focus on bringing guard members back from Iraq, which NWN readers have known from the beginning a governor has no power to do, Angelides seemed to say Schwarzenegger was the one who introduced the issue into the campaign, and not him. “Governor Schwarzenegger has repeatedly spoken out on this war,” the candidate claimed. “He has for the past one thousand days defended George W. Bush’s failed war policy. It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger who’s gone on national radio and TV shows to say Bush’s folly in Iraq is the right thing to do.”
Hmm. Anyone else recall all that about Schwarzenegger going so far out of his way to promote the Iraq policy?
** Democratic gubernatorial challenger held his final anti-Iraq War rally of the week during the lunch hour just passed at Sacramento City College. About 200 students attended the event, held in a semi-enclosed area between three buildings. I arrived early and shot 45 minutes of video footage of the set-up of the event, the event itself, and its aftermath, including Angelides’ brief press availability. Although students were enticed to the event by leafleters talking up an anti-war rally and free lunch (it looked very tasty, but I decided not to partake while waiting around), much of the crowd did get into the spirit of things once the candidate showed around 12:40 PM.
I’m going to review the video and update if something new occurs to me — and I will have a full report later on the event, as well as a video documentary — but the message was by now familiar. The spirited candidate, accompanied by his family and introduced by a Sacramento city councilman and a decorated Vietnam veteran (not Bob Mulholland), dropped any pretense that the governor has power over California National Guard troops on active duty service in the Iraq War. He said that, on his first day as governor, he would formally request that President George W. Bush return California guard members from Iraq. And that he would seek to organize other governors to do the same and perhaps pursue a court case against the administration.
NOTE: The area in which the Angelides event was held was fairly BlackBerry unfriendly. Voice and e-mail worked, but the web did not, so I was unable to approve any comments during the lengthy period of waiting and the event itself.
** The Big Bang Bonds infrastructure package on California’s November ballot still looks winnable, according to the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll. But it will take a major campaign to make it happen. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hits the trail next week with Democratic and Republican leaders to push for the bonds. Schwarzenegger has recovered the standing to do it.
According to PPIC, Schwarzenegger’s job approval rating among likely voters is back up to a healthy 53%.
** The Clean Money initiative, Proposition 89 on California’s November ballot, has fallen into a deep pit according to the new PPIC poll. It trails, 25% yes to 61% no. A majority of likely voters in the poll are opposed to public financing of elections, which is the core of the measure. The fact that it would be funded by a tax increase, albeit a slight hike in corporate taxes, seems problematic as well.
** Track global and national energy prices in near real time via Bloomberg. Crude oil prices have bounced back up to the low sixties in dollars per barrel on concern about continued recalcitrance by Iran in refusing international efforts to curtail its nuclear program.