Debra J. Saunders

Indeed, in this election season, Schwarzenegger put his name behind bond measures, also supported by Democratic leaders, to rebuild the state's infrastructure -- measures voters ultimately approved.

Tuesday's vote also was a rejection of the GOP House leadership. As Republican pollster Ed Goeas said Wednesday, voters made it clear they want elected office to be about "public service," and "not personal enrichment or personal power."

While U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., was hardly the biggest offender, he did treat his campaign, district and the House Resources Committee he chaired as personal fiefdoms. Pombo's wife and brother were on the campaign payroll, while Pombo's committee chief of staff made money on the side running political campaigns. Pombo didn't break any laws, but he strayed from his Tracy, Calif., roots in thinking he and his could have it all. They did -- until they lost it all.

No doubt many Republicans would rather stay conservative and pure than reach across the aisle. They don't want moderates to pollute the party base. These hardliners ought to look at what is best for America -- and U.S. troops abroad -- than what best suits their sensibilities.

Schwarzenegger showed that an elected official can come back from the dead. Now Bush needs to show that he sees this election as a chance to roll up his proverbial sleeves and make the federal government work the way it is supposed to. A good start would be to cut spending to eliminate the deficit.

Debra J. Saunders

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