The Daily News of Los Angeles
Welcome to the world of California politics, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. In what might be one of the shortest political honeymoons in history, Schwarzenegger has managed to tick off women’s groups, trial lawyers, Democrats and environmentalists.
And that was in his first week in office.
Much of the criticism was expected and came from groups that had opposed his election during the recall. The National Organization for Women, for instance, dismissed his appointment of women to high-ranking posts as window-dressing. Of course, if he hadn’t appointed any women, he would have been criticized for that.
Democrats, as expected, belittled his initial budget plans and even blamed him for complaining about the deficit inherited from former Gov. Gray Davis.
Democratic Party consultant Bob Mulholland dismissed the complaints about the deficit as just so much whining – saying former Gov. Pete Wilson had to deal with a $14 billion deficit in his first year through a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes.
Then there is the new Web page, arnoldwatch.org, formed by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a consumer-advocate group that has taken on both parties. It’s Web page includes a blog, a list of major Schwarzenegger contributors and those whom the new governor appoints to various jobs and a list of issues on which it disagrees.
And then there are the trial lawyers, who are upset with his proposals to cut costs of workers’ compensation.
“The governor’s proposal adds insult to injury for workers injured on the job,” said Art Azevedo, president of the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association. “This proposal tries to hide the real agenda of big insurance companies.”
And the real insult came Thursday.
Schwarzenegger’s team had carefully planned a rally at the car dealership of supporter Bert Boeckmann to celebrate the repeal of the vehicle license fee increase, and scheduled the event in time for midday newscasts.
The arrest of Michael Jackson pre-empted the coverage.
If there was good news for the governor, it came from an expected source: the SUV owners of America.
Last Monday, when he took the oath of office, Schwarzenegger – who takes credit for introducing the Hummer to Americans – was saluted in a full-page Sacramento newspaper advertisement for his support of the vehicles. The ad was in the style of a movie poster, congratulating him on his election and using SUV model names to salute him.
Staff Writers Beth Barrett and Lisa Friedman contributed to this column.
Rick Orlov is a Daily News staff writer. Write to him at PO Box 4200, Woodland
Hills, CA 91365-4200 or by e-mail at rick.orlov(at)dailynews.com or phone at (213) 978-0390.