| Worst governor ever:
More Californians disapprove of the job performance of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger than any governor in modern state history including Gray Davis, who was ousted by Schwarzenegger in a popular uprising, according to a Field Poll released today.
Seventy-one percent of California voters surveyed said they disapprove of Schwarzenegger's handling of the job, while 23 percent approve. The low ratings are shared across all demographics including party affiliation, region of the state, age and race or ethnicity.
The Field Poll shows Arnold has seen an 11 point swing against him since January, with his unfavorables rising from 64% to 71%.
As Calitics alum David Dayen noted, Californians figured this out all on their own, with no help from the media, who have continued to treat Arnold as a formidable power in state politics instead of explaining how his policies over the last seven years are largely responsible for the state's current budget crisis.
Schwarzenegger ignored advice from folks like Warren Buffett that a tax increase was needed in 2003-04, and instead did nothing to address the state's ongoing inability to raise enough money to fund its core services. When the bubble economy burst in 2007, the state immediately was thrown into recession. Arnold's massively unpopular response was to embrace destructive cuts to services Californians need, and the only taxes he's embraced have been the most regressive kind - sales taxes and fee increases for higher education students.
This appears to have been part of a very deliberate plan to turn the state over to the wealthy and the large corporations and implementing a shock doctrine attack on the poor and the middle class by seeking to privatize or eliminate the services they need.
Here's an example. In February 2009, Arnold demanded and won a massive $9 billion cut to K-12 education. Federal stimulus funds helped blunt some of the impact of that cut, as 16,000 of the 30,000 laid off teachers were rehired. But as the stimulus funds are stupidly expiring this year, 20,000 more teachers are going to be fired. More and more schools are closing across the state.
What's one result of these cuts? A much greater movement across the state for charter schools. That gives private companies the "in" they've long desired to our public education system. Through his budget cuts, Arnold has set the state for the mass privatization of public education in this state.
Finally, it is absolutely worth noting that Meg Whitman plans to continue almost all of Arnold Schwarzenegger's policies, but will be even further to the right than he was. That might be something Jerry Brown would want to repeat early and often.