O California, What Have You Done To Us? (IV)

Well well well. What appeared at first to be a remark Ahnud was probably going to have to walk away from has turned out to be the cornerstone of his economic plan for CA:

White House and national Republican leaders hope that Mr. Schwarzenegger’s victory in last week’s race for governor will be a tectonic shift in the party’s fortunes in California, perhaps even making the state a competitive battleground in next year’s presidential race. Party leaders see Mr. Schwarzenegger as a megastar who could broaden the party’s base and attract moderate independents and even some Democratic voters.Mr. Schwarzenegger is looking to the White House and the Republican-led Congress to help the state out of its fiscal morass, both with direct aid and by reversing the drain of tax payments from the state. The day after he was elected, Mr. Schwarzenegger said he would be asking the president for “a lot, a lot of favors.”

So the battle-lines are drawn and the arguments are being marshalled: You help me solve this budget crisis without having to raise taxes, and I’ll give you a shot at winning CA in 2004.

I said it was a good move, but I assumed that, like the good little obedient Republican soldier I expected he was, Ahnud would back off when the WH reminded him that patriots support the Prez, they don’t get supported by him. See the difference?

Maybe I was wrong. Ahnud’s aides are out there putting the deal on the table as unambiguously as possible–a good idea given Junior’s inability to master, or even recognize, subtlety:

Gerald Parsky, a member of Mr. Schwarzenegger’s transition team and the state Republican Party’s chief liaison to the White House, said Mr. Schwarzenegger’s capturing of the governor’s office carried the potential of transforming the state’s politics, at least for a time….”With Arnold, we have to show we can appeal to independents and minorities who haven’t voted Republican in the past,” Mr. Parsky said.He referred to that as the Bush-Schwarzenegger coalition and suggested that it was a powerful enough force to make any Democratic presidential nominee spend considerable time and money in a state that Al Gore won by more than a million votes in 2000.

Got it, Karl? With the combined total of votes to the Republicans (Ahnud and McClintock) in this recall reaching into the 60th percentile (yes, kiddies, the 2 of them got more than half the votes cast), you might not just be talking about making the Dems waste money they don’t have in a previously safe state, you might actually get the state itself. And wouldn’t that be cool?

Tempting, isn’t it, Karl? Oooo, but the price tag:

More immediately, California will be looking for whatever federal assistance may be available to help balance a budget that Mr. Schwarzenegger has warned could be $20 billion in the red. Rob Stutzman, a spokesman for the governor-elect, said Sacramento would be looking for help from Washington on the cost of immigration, including a bill now before Congress that would provide California with $100 million to help cover the costs of incarcerating illegal immigrants.

Well, $$100MIL$$ isn’t so bad….

Mr. Schwarzenegger would also like the White House to reach settlements with holders of offshore oil leases, allowing him to fulfill a campaign promise to work to end such drilling.

Oops, whoa there, Governator, let’s not lose our heads. Not gonna happen. What, stop my buddies from drilling? OK, I did it in FLA, but Jeb’s my brother, for gawd’s-sake. You’re not even a second cousin on my father’s side.

So what will Junior do? If you’ve been paying attention to the Bushies’ commitment to appearance over substance, the answer won’t come as a surprise: they’re going to pretend to help.

Although officials in Washington have made no public commitments to additional aid for California, a request has been sent to federal agencies to scour the books for payments that California is eligible for but has not yet claimed. These would provide a no-cost way for the White House to claim credit for opening the spigot to California. (emphasis added–m)

“No-cost” is right since the chances that Davis left unclaimed CA money in the Federal coffers is about the same as me winning 3 state lotteries and the Nobel Prize for Literature on the same day. But that’s OK, because an (anonymous) Bush aide actually admitted that the offer wasn’t real:

“The president would like to do something and this is an opportunity for the White House to fight the perception that it doesn’t care about California,” said a senior adviser to Mr. Schwarzenegger who insisted on anonymity. “He could do a lot of good — and do himself a lot of good by seeming to be helpful. (emphasis added–m)

So there you have it, right out in the open: Junior is concerned not about the reality that he doesn’t give a damn about CA’s fiscal slide into bankruptcy court and would just as soon see the whole wholly-unholy, godless, Democratic mess slide into the sea; he’s concerned that people might finally figure it out and perceive that he doesn’t. And his answer is Bush SOP: seem to be helpful without actually helping.

Between the Plame Affair (which we have SO not heard the last of) and the Ahnud Squeeze, it looks like we may all have a front-row seat at the impending GWB Melt-Down Show, and I for one am not afraid to admit that after everything he has done and is trying to do to ruin this country, undercut democracy, and destroy the economy for everybody who isn’t already rich, I’m going to enjoy it.

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