Hasta la vista special interests? Not quite.

Published on

Marketplace Radio Program (NPR)

The following commentary by Jamie Court was broadcast on the Marketplace radio program on Monday, November 7th, 2005. Click here to listen to the audio of the commentary:

Kai Ryssdal (Host) — The $250 million being spent on ballot measures in California’s special election makes it one of the most expensive elections of its kind in US history. Consumer advocate Jamie Court reflects on what’s at stake.

Jamie Court (FTCR) — Governor Schwarzenegger’s special election is about two words: SPECIAL INTERESTS. From the moment he ran for the Governor’s office he pledged the only thing he’d be saying to them is ‘hasta la vista baby.’

But, Schwarzenegger defined special interests only as the labor unions that oppose him, not the moneyed corporations and rich guys who’ve given him more than 70 million in campaign cash.

For Governor Schwarzenegger, special interests became working people like you and me. They’re the teachers, firefighters, cops, and nurses.

Tomorrow’s election is all about Schwarzenegger doing a “Conan the Barbarian” on the labor movement.

Proposition 74 takes tenure protections from teachers that opposed the Gov for education funding cuts. Proposition 75 curbs public employee unions from giving political contributions without explicit permission from their members. But it doesn’t stop corporations from contributing to whomever they please without asking anybody.

Proposition 76 gives Schwarzenegger dictatorial budget powers to cut education and public safety programs and the teachers, firefights, cops and nurses behind them.

The only catch is, polls show Californians aren’t buyin’ Schwarzenegger’s schtick.

If Arnold fails, how working people beat Mr. Universe will be a national example for a labor movement in need of a unified voice.

California labor unions will have survived Conan Inc.’s assault by displaying the humanity of their members on TV.

It turns out the only special interests nurses represent are those of their patients. The real action heroes are the teachers who train, the police who protect, and the firefighters who put their life on the line.

Hollywood stars like Schwarzenegger are used to getting big pay for their lines. But if California voters just say no to Arnold tomorrow, after a 250 million dollar barrage of ads, there are two words you can bet Arnold will never utter back at them again. Special Interests.

Consumer Watchdog
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Providing an effective voice for American consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Non-partisan.

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