Debra J. Saunders

On ABC Sunday, Torres charged that "Schwarzenegger is keeping friends with (former Gov.) Pete Wilson." And: "What happens when Arnold becomes governor? Is he going to try to implement (Proposition) 187, which the courts have partially overturned?" Somehow, experience prompted Torres to fault Schwarzenegger for supporting a measure that 59 percent of California voters approved -- not because the measure was hard on immigrants, as Torres has implied, but because the measure promised to curb benefits for i-l-l-e-g-a-l immigrants. That's why the Austrian American supported it.

Would Schwarzenegger be a leader?

Ah-nold has the germ of greatness -- he could turn into a great candidate, or a great failure of a candidate. Only time will tell.

On the downside, Ah-nold voted in a mere five of the last 11 statewide elections. Last year, Schwarzenegger authored Proposition 49, an ill-conceived measure that mandated spending for after-school programs; it passed, and added another budgeting mandate that makes it harder for Sacramento to pass good budgets.

On the upside, Ah-nold's support for government programs is tempered with his core belief in individual enterprise. The savvy businessman should know what to do to keep businesses from leaving the state.

Some have suggested that Schwarzenegger should pledge to not raise taxes in order to cinch the GOP vote. That is, he should act like other "experienced" politicians by promising more something for more nothing. He should parrot "experienced" pols who promise to cut a deal with left-leaning legislators -- which can only happen by papering over costly debt.

If Schwarzenegger wants to show that he can be a leader, however, he won't take such a pledge. Instead, he'll explain how he wants to reform the workers' comp system, eliminate business-hostile regulations and cut the best deal he can cut on the budget, given the fact that the Legislature, alas, is packed with liberal Democrats.

If Schwarzenegger wants to lead, he should start by treating voters like adults. In so doing, Ah-nold could demonstrate the clear advantage of electing a governor who is not "experienced."

Debra J. Saunders

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