Thomas Sowell

Everyone seems to be agreed that Arnold is no Ronald Reagan. Schwarzenegger is a social liberal on things like abortion but a fiscal conservative in the sense of knowing that you can't drive businesses and productive citizens out of the state without seeing the taxes they pay leave with them. This is not rocket science but it might as well be as far as left coast politicians are concerned.

The big problem is that, even if Arnold Schwarzenegger becomes governor, the state legislature will still be in the hands of liberal-left Democrats, who think that they can impose all sorts of regulations, red tape and ever higher taxes on businesses and productive citizens without worrying about who will leave the state.

What could a Governor Schwarzenegger do about that? He could veto reckless spending bills and -- more important -- use the bully pulpit of his veto messages to educate the public to what is going on and to the fact that there is no free lunch.

Although he would be stuck with filling out the remaining years of Gray Davis' term, he would not be stuck with the current state legislature for all that time, since there will be legislative elections during the governor's term. Educating the voter might affect those elections.

Some Republicans worry that California is in such a mess that there is little that anyone can do in three short years to turn things around, least of all a Republican governor with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. Those Republicans who think like this would prefer to leave the Democrats in charge, to stew in their own juices and be left totally discredited when the next elections come around.

It may be too close to call but I will vote for Arnold and hope for the best.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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