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August 31, 2006

Popularity Through Progressivism

Let's just take a moment to enjoy this rarest of all passages describing the aftermath of a major piece of legislation expected to win passage in the glorious Golden State:

Business interests, especially oil companies, were irate and said they felt abandoned by the Republican governor, who had pledged to work for a bill they could support. They accused Schwarzenegger and Democrats of cobbling together behind closed doors a haphazard bill that could create unintended economic chaos.

Ahhh. What a difference a few years makes. Remember when it was Cheney and the Big Business interests working behind closed doors to cobble together an energy bill to pad their pockets and accelerate our ecological decline? Yeah, me too..

Anyway, this a Schwarzenegger film top to bottom. Conscious of the perils running for reelection in California, he's playing up the issue area where his progressive impulses appear genuine: environmentalism. In recent weeks he's sought a compact with Tony Blair on global warming, and in recent days he's crossed California's extractive industry's to mandate a 25 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. It should be said here that California is actually rather green already, with our vehicle requirements often rendering the exhaust out my auto's tail pipe cleaner than the LA air it mingles with, and so our state, with the sixth largest economy in the world, accounts for a mere two percent of carbon emissions.

Nevertheless, this is a model for what other states can do, and if, as looks likely, it sinks the final nail into the incompetent campaign of Phil Angelides, it'll serve as a template for other governors seeking to burnish the popular aspects of their progressivism. If the federal government insists on ignoring emissions, the states needn't emulate its irresponsibility. Schwarzenegger, who I've no particular love for, deserves credit for getting this done.

Crossposted at Tapped

August 31, 2006 | Permalink


"our vehicle requirements . . . "

"my auto's tail pipe . . ."

Ezra, don't you live in DC now? I know the adjustment can be difficult, but DC is home now. I'm not trying to be snotty. I'm just sensitive to people treating DC (my home) like a rental.

Posted by: Deedle | Aug 31, 2006 11:09:31 AM

Schwarzeneggar is a fine example of what to do when you're unpopular - change course. He apologized for his mistakes and set about correcting them by working with some of the people he had been actively pissing off for quite a while. He looked like a fluke flash-in-the-pan initially, but he's demonstrated (shock! horror!) soem ability to actually play politics and effectively govern at the same time.

If more Republicans thought like him, we wouldn't be looking at a significant D pickup this fall.

Posted by: Kylroy | Aug 31, 2006 11:25:16 AM

Deedle.. a lot of people's cars have california emissions, even those that don't actually live in the state itself.

..another stat, reported by abcnews.. 2% may sound small but california state is the 7th largest economy and the 12th largest co2 emitter in the world. Certainly its not the war, but thats a significant battle to win.

Posted by: david b | Aug 31, 2006 11:40:11 AM

This is all very nice, but it is a small spit in the environmental bucket to the kinds of hard choices we are all going to have to make in the next couple of decades.

Posted by: sprocket | Aug 31, 2006 11:43:07 AM

With respect, david b, I think you miss the point of my comment to Ezra.

Posted by: Deedle | Aug 31, 2006 12:02:54 PM

Don't forget that invasion of Iraq was part of Cheney's task force's points of discussion too..

Posted by: Mudge | Aug 31, 2006 2:10:22 PM

Deedle.. a lot of people's cars have california emissions, even those that don't actually live in the state itself.

Yeah, but the emissions of those cars don't mingle with the L.A. air when they leave the tailpipe.

Posted by: Vladi G | Aug 31, 2006 4:01:39 PM

You can take the boy out of California, but you can't take the California out of the boy...

Posted by: modus potus | Aug 31, 2006 5:18:55 PM

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