John Myers analyzes the gov's latest Prop. 76 ad here. He focuses on the question of whether Prop. 76 would make a tax increase less likely or not. His factual analysis is accurate as far as it goes, but I think it misses the broader purpose of the ad, which is political and aimed at the future as much as at next week's election. The more the governor campaigns on the tax issue, the more he can claim, if the measure is defeated, that the voters have effectively released him from any no-tax pledge he made in the past. I actually think it is highly unlikely that Schwarzenegger will raise taxes next year. He won't need to. He's facing a projected $6 billion gap in the operating budget, but he'll have a year-end surplus approaching $3 billion plus $3 billion still in the bank from his bond measure. Thus, unless there is a terrorist attack, an earthquake or a pandemic, the 2006 budget should be the easiest in years. But the use of that borrowed money will mean the problem has not gone away. So January of 2007 will be the crunch time on taxes, if it ever comes. I suspect in his reelection campaign Schwarzenegger will shy away from any new pledges on taxes. So whether Schwarzenegger is reelected or defeated, by the time 2007 rolls around, whoever is governor will have a relatively free hand to propose whatever he or she wants in terms of revenue. Getting it through the Legislature would be another matter.
Posted by dweintraub at 4:38 PM
Election Law blogger Rick Hasen predicts that Alito will not be confirmed. He says Democrats will threaten a fillibuster and pro-choice Republicans will balk at breaking it. I disagree. I think the Miers debacle put a premium on qualifications over ideology, and gave Bush the public-opinion opening he needed to appoint another highly qualified if very conservative justice. Most voters will be getting Supreme Court fatigue about now and will say, hey, this guy is smart, experienced and can do the job, and Bush promised when he ran to appoint conservatives, so let him go. Maybe not most voters in my state. But most voters in the country. Barring the disclosure of some unknown skeleton in his closet, he'll be confirmed.
Posted by dweintraub at 4:25 PM
Schwarzenegger's people have called a press conference for later today to complain about this assault on one of their supporters at a union rally against the governor's agenda in Los Angeles on Friday. The harassment of the woman -- including the actions of union security guard who took the woman's sign and tore it to pieces -- is abhorent. I'd hope that union organizers would condemn it as well. Emotions run high and these things do happen as individuals fail to exercise self-restraint. They need not be a symbol of the entire movement if the leadership steps up and apologizes for the behavior. Otherwise, the kind of thugish behavior exhibited on the video will come to be seen as an extension of the political brutishness the public employee unions all too often exercise inside the Capitol.
Posted by dweintraub at 10:26 AM
With each Bush nominee to the Supreme Court, Sen. Feinstein's reactions seem to be getting shorter and shorter. In her latest, on today's choice of Judge Samuel Alito, she even urges others to refrain from commenting:
"I would hope that people on both sides would hold their fire, allow the Judiciary Committee to do its work, and not take a position until that work is completed.
UPDATE: Apparently, Nancy Pelosi didn't get the memo.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:12 AM