Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Joel Kotkin is Not Impressed

As they used to say, put him down as "doubtful:"
[Arnold] Schwarzenegger’s soon-to-be-ended seven-year reign as California’s governor can be best described in just that one simple world: failure.  It has been so bad that one even looks forward to having a pro, the eccentric Machiavellian master, Jerry Brown, replace him.
Schwarzenegger never grew beyond the role of a clueless political narcissist. As the state sunk into an ever deeper fiscal crisis, he continued to expend his energy on the grandiose and beyond the point: establishing a Californian policy for combating climate change, boosting an unaffordable High-Speed Rail system, and even eliminating plastic bags. These may be great issues of import, but they are far less pressing than a state’s descent into insolvency.

The Terminator came into office ostensibly to reform California politics, reduce taxation and “blow up the boxes” of the state’s bureaucracy. He failed on all three counts.
You think that's bitter?  Go and read the whole of it.  There's actually not a whole lot to disagree with here, although I think Kotkin's rage is driven by one important offstage factor: disappointment.  I can't say I have followed Kotkin closely, but he sounds like a guy who expected better.

That's a charge on which I think I can plead not guilty.  I certainly wasn't impressed by Grey Davis, but I don't think I expected tht-all much from Arnold to begin with, so I suppose you could say my expectations were gratified.  And quick as I am to brandish the charge of "narcissism," in the case of Arnold, I'm more inclined to write it off as simple laziness: the first couple of years, he pretty much faxed it in, trusting (as it seemed) that he could coast on his reputation without ever having to leave Malibu.  He blew a lot of opportunities them; I don't know what would have happened if he had tried to use them, but then, none of us ever will now, will we?

I've actually been more charitably disposed to Arnie lately but mainly for the enemies he has made.  He's said a lot of good things; shame he didn't say them years ago

And while Kotkin sees us as more captive than ever to the bloated unions and such, my guess is that weird old Jerry Brown might be the one guy with enough independence and savvy actually to elude their grip.  At least in part.  At least for a while.  Just let's not expect to much of him, okay?


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