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September 07, 2005

Someone Needs a New Catch Phrase

The other day, I was searching beneath my couch for the remote and I found Arnold's approval rating.

Get it? I'm such a card!

And now, wielding an impressive 36% reelect rating, Arnold's got the toughest choice of his political career. The California legislature approved a gay marriage bill, which he's either got to sign or veto. Last week, he tried to dodge by begging us to leave it up to the Courts -- yes, those Courts, the unaccountable, unelected judiciary that Tom DeLay keeps blasting for deciding things like gay marriage -- but that's a transparently poor ploy that won't do him any good. So what does Arnold do?

God knows. He can't sign the bill because the nationwide Republican establishment would push him off a bridge -- it'd be the end of his higher office hopes. On the other hand, vetoing the bill, when he's lost all support among Democrats and Independents, is no better an option -- there's no higher office if he can't keep this one.

Governating is hard.

September 7, 2005 in California | Permalink

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» Process or results? from The Unrepentant Individual
For this to stand would call into question the entire California ballot initiative process, and would set a precedent that the voters’ wishes are subservient to those of the legislators. While I support the results the legislature is trying to achi... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 8, 2005 1:17:02 PM

» Process or results? from The Unrepentant Individual
For this to stand would call into question the entire California ballot initiative process, and would set a precedent that the voters’ wishes are subservient to those of the legislators. While I support the results the legislature is trying to achi... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 8, 2005 1:26:33 PM

Comments

Leave us not forget how Ahnuld financed his bodybuilding career.

Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 7, 2005 12:53:12 PM

Arnold will veto the law saying it is unconstitional, even though Prop 22 covered recognition of out-of-state same sex marriage, not in-state, and that Prop 22 clearly indicated the public will on this issue - ...and maybe it does.

Whatever the reason, he simply can't sign the law and retain the backing of California Republicans (as crazy on this issue as it is possible to be), not to mention national Republicans. Rove will make sure the horse-head for Arnold's bed is delivered.

One wonders however if Arnold still has any illusions that he has any chance of national office (for instance in a US Senate race - the Presidency is clearly not in the cards on Constitutional grounds).

I suppose that if the Dems REALLY wanted to pass this and made it clear that all further cooperation from the legislature was dependent on the governator signing the bill, possibly they'd make him sweat. But the Dems won't do that, so.... good that the law passed the Legislature, but very improbable that it will become law with his signature.

The best feature of the Legislature's action may be that it is a strong point indicating political will in favor of same-sex marriage when arguing before the CA courts. Prop 22 however is a point against this view. Ultimately the CA Supreme Court is going to have to wrestle with this issue even if they don't want to.

Finally, the passage of this law, even if not signed, is a very good message to the rest of the country. It certainly disarms some of the anti-judge-made law arguments that the rightists always deploy.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Sep 7, 2005 1:03:44 PM

Very interesting. This is healthy that this is going through the legislative process. Arnold will surely veto this bill....that is a no-brainer.

The interesting part is not that queer California legislature would pass this...the interesting part is how will it affect the marriage amendment movement that has languished? Will it breathe new life into it?

Posted by: Fred Jones | Sep 7, 2005 1:07:57 PM

Actually, I think he could sign it and retain the support of the national GOP. Arnold isn't at all popular in California and on the leftward side of the blogosphere, but I get the feeling (judging from discussions with my less politically-minded relatives) that there are a lot of people who still think of him as Heap-Big Macho Action Star Terminator Governor. I get the feeling he could pass it, and the GOP wouldn't dare toss him overboard, because he's still one of the most popular Republican figures in the country (if not in his home state)...

Posted by: Scooter | Sep 7, 2005 1:13:02 PM

Of course he will veto it. It's a total no-brainer. Do you think he's afraid of the electorate, the same one that approved Prop 22 by 60-40% in 2000? Vetoing the gay marriage bill is probably the best way for him to regain his flagging popularity.

Posted by: neil | Sep 7, 2005 1:24:33 PM

Fred this week:
"Very interesting. This is healthy that this is going through the legislative process."

Fred last week:
"Arnold is right not to want to sign this bill. This issue is already before the CA courts. He wants some guidance from the courts. The real problem is Ezra and the left 'don need no steenkin' GUIDANCE!!'. Instead, they have an agenda to promote."

C;mon guys, we need to get the talking points straight...

Posted by: Ezra | Sep 7, 2005 1:51:48 PM

I voted for Arnold in the recall, largely because the other options were nauseating and because I felt he was not a Christian Conservative type. If he vetoes this bill, I'll feel very betrayed (read fooled) that he was not the social moderate I thought him to be, and I'd be very unlikely to vote for him next time around. However, I'm among those who support him currently. The California budget is a mess, and something had to be done about it. He's doing something, and that's good, and I don't really care terribly much how many people get ticked off by it.

Posted by: Larry | Sep 7, 2005 2:12:24 PM

As another poster pointed out, the only higher office realistically open to him is the Senate. And one could debate whether it's 'better' to be a Senator or a Governor.

I think he will veto it, but not because of his aspirations to other offices. He will veto it so that once he leaves the Governor's office, he can be appointed to a cushy series of government and corporate sinecures. You can't stay on the gravy train if you piss off your fellow Republicans.

Oh, and no, I did not vote for him.

Posted by: fiat lux | Sep 7, 2005 2:39:22 PM

C;mon guys, we need to get the talking points straight...

What Arnold will do now after the bill is on his desk...
"Very interesting. This is healthy that this is going through the legislative process."

And what might have been best for Arnold's political career...
Arnold is right not to want to sign this bill.

Arnold didn't want to be put in this position. So what? Speculating on not wanting to sign this bill when only one house had approved it is now the same as stating that large social issues should be put through the legislative process?

Grab some honesty here.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Sep 7, 2005 4:55:48 PM

Fred, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Posted by: verplanck colvin | Sep 7, 2005 8:57:39 PM

Arnold has a political future?

Posted by: Dustbin Of History | Sep 7, 2005 10:41:06 PM

Shorter verplank colvin : I'll attack Fred. If it's loud enough, I won't have to address the issues. Ezra will give me a pass...it's Fred.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Sep 8, 2005 9:17:55 AM

Quick point. This already went through the legislative process. California is one of those states that does everything they can to approximate direct democracy with their ballot initiative process. Arnold is right that it is not correct for the legislature to override the will of the people, as already expressed by their direct vote.

I'm a libertarian/republican, who voted for Arnold in the recall (and have since fled CA). I also support gay marriage. I find it troubling to have to be on "wrong" side on this issue, as I would support the work of the legislature if Prop 22 didn't exist. But I don't see any justification for the legislature overriding a proposition. In California, ballot initiatives exist as a check on the legislature. They exist for the people to directly decide issues that they believe are too important to be left to representatives. And they made their choice in this matter, even though I think it is the wrong choice.

To allow this bill to pass would throw the entire Californian system of ballot initiatives out the window. It would set a precedent that the California legislature is not bound by the expressed will of the people. That I simply cannot support.

Posted by: Brad Warbiany | Sep 8, 2005 12:24:19 PM

No more waiting. Here is the answer.

"The Legislature's action trampled over Proposition 22, an overwhelmingly popular 2000 initiative that banned same-sex marriage in California", said a spokeswoman for the governor. "We cannot have a system where the people vote and the Legislature derails the vote," said Margita Thompson, Schwarzenegger's press secretary. "Out of respect for the will of the people, the governor will veto AB 849."

Posted by: Fred Jones | Sep 8, 2005 12:30:27 PM

I wasn't here 5 years ago. I am now. Doesn't my opinion now count for more than someone who voted for Prop 22 and then moved out of the state? Isn't that opinion expressed in my state legislators (In theory anyway, in CA based on gerrymandering it probably isn't)? At any rate, if "allow[ing] this bill to pass would throw the entire Californian system of ballot initiatives out the window" I wouldn't exactly cry myself to sleep tonight, you know. The initiative process is a mess and allows the public to make decisions with no balancing of larger priorities.

Posted by: Larry | Sep 8, 2005 1:00:51 PM

Larry,
I'm not always a fan of the initiative process either. Frequently the voters make the wrong decision, as they have here. But per California law, initiatives can only be overturned by the courts, not the legislature. In fact, it is illegal for the legislature to overturn them. They would need to, as a legislature, submit the measure again to the voters directly:

See here.

"Unless the text of an initiative measure states otherwise, an approved initiative goes into effect the day after the election and is not subject to a Governor’s veto, nor may it be amended or repealed by the Legislature without a vote of approval of the electors. Should two conflicting measures be approved by voters in a given election, the measure receiving the largest affirmative vote will prevail."

The only way to reverse Prop 22, short of the voters repealing it in another ballot initiative, is through the courts. If this is contrary to the CA Constitution, the CA Supreme Court can overturn Prop 22. If it is contrary to the US Constitution, the US Supreme Court can do it. But the legislature cannot.

Currently this is sitting in the CA court system. A lesser judge declared Prop 22 unconstitutional, but the CA Supreme Court hasn't yet taken up the issue.

Posted by: Brad Warbiany | Sep 8, 2005 1:26:22 PM

Well, I don't dispute the legal principle. But the argument that legally it is innapropriate to overturn the initiative is different from the argument that the initiative is the permanent and irrevocable will of the people. One is a process argument, but the other is more of a philosophical/moral argument and the governor is making the latter argument in the quote cited by Fred above. I object to that for the reasons I laid out above.

Posted by: Larry | Sep 8, 2005 2:30:29 PM

Larry,
Also allow me to apologize. I am actually wrong on this issue. At fault, I consider lousy reporting by the MSM. Prop 22 is not at issue here. I've posted a longer version of my retraction here.

The bill before the legislature doesn't touch Prop 22, and so it is legitimately their football to toss around. In my retraction, I call on Schwarzenegger to sign this. Of course, it will get him tossed out of office come election time, and the voters of Cali are likely to then invalidate the bill in a separate referendum, but I can't see any procedural justification for Schwarzenegger to hide behind.

Posted by: Brad Warbiany | Sep 8, 2005 2:52:12 PM

The legal details don't seem as clear cut as you'd make it, Brad, as we now somewhat reverse positions. Over on volokh.com, they've been debating this as well, and I haven't seen anything I find definitively pursuasive either way. Also, if Prop 22 wanted to do what you are saying it doesn't do, how would that have been done, if there was no need to amend Section 300? I suppose they could have found a way, but the idea of needing to 'initiative protect' already established law seems to be a way to get the process to spin even more out of control than it already is. Have I mentioned I don't like the initiative process?

We can agree MSM reporting on the issue has been hopelessly poor. It is clear there is some ambiguity here, and responsible reporting would try to address that.

Posted by: Larry | Sep 8, 2005 4:37:30 PM

Larry,
One of my main bases for the belief that 308.5 is intended to restrict out-of-state marriages is simply the fact that it is numbered 308.5, where 308 is the statute that says that out-of-state marriages are recognized if they meet the granting state's guidelines. It seems to me that it is a specific exception, in that California will recognize all valid marriages from other states except same-sex marriages. This, coupled with the fact that same-sex marriage within California was already illegal (sec 300), and it seems superfluous to add 308.5.

I think "initiative-protecting" the statute in Sec 300 is not likely to be the preferred aim, because I would think the proponents of Prop 22 would have been much more likely to add it as an amendment to the CA Constitution if their goal was to simply strengthen the existing legislation.

And you're right, it's not 100% clear cut. Nor am I a lawyer. But it is unclear enough that I think the proper role would be to sign the bill and let the courts sort it out.

Posted by: Brad Warbiany | Sep 8, 2005 5:11:57 PM

The interesting part is not that queer California legislature would pass this...

The California legislature: a bunch of fucking fags!

Posted by: Adrock | Sep 8, 2005 5:14:28 PM

Brad,

I'd move this to your site, but the discussion there seems to be proceeding along different lines.

In context, your reading makes sense, but I'm not a lawyer, either, so I don't really know. As to making it a constitutional amendment, why didn't they? Is that harder to get on the ballot and/or pass? Also, I think it is appropriate for the governor to refuse signing it if he thinks that the bill violates the legislative process as set out by the state. But, again, my feeling is that isn't the rationale he stated. Perhaps I'm trying to fit myself in a very narrow spot here, but that's how i read the cards.

Posted by: Larry | Sep 8, 2005 7:56:18 PM

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