Lots of people thought the California Governor recall was a farce. But Schwarzenegger has actually turned out to be quite a good governor.
Here is his latest speech, the State of the State address
, and it's a good one, talking about four areas of reform, filled with populist and direct speech.
The shadow of 22 billion dollars in inherited debt loomed over us. The great state of California, the sixth largest economy in the world, the symbol of the American dream, faced economic ruin.
The most important thing that we did last year - we grabbed California by the collar just before it slipped into a financial black hole. We slowed the growth in spending, renegotiated contracts, and secured more than a billion dollars in new federal financial support. We should feel good about what we have accomplished together.
Yet the greatest rescuers of the state are not those of us in this room, but the people of California. They are the ones who passed Prop. 57, which issued the bonds to prevent the state's collapse. They are the ones who passed Prop. 58, which prevented the state from borrowing money to cover future deficits.
I want to thank my fellow Californians for their confidence that together we can turn this government and its finances around.
The people saved the state from bankruptcy, but they were very clear about one thing. They said, "We will do this once to clean up the past, but do not let it ever happen again."
Last year we stopped the bleeding. This year we must heal the patient.
He then talks about cutting spending to fix the budget, and maybe he's lying through his big Austrian teeth, but the stuff sure sounds
He talks about reforming the education system:
Let me say this to every California teacher who is opening the minds of our children and nurturing their lives: I want to reward you for your hard work. I want to reward you for the sacrifices that you make. I want to reward you for the learning that you instill.
But I cannot do so under the current system. So help me change it.
We must reward, we must financially reward, good teachers and expel those who are not.
The more we reward excellent teachers, the more our teachers will be excellent. The more we tolerate ineffective teachers, the more our teachers will be ineffective.
That sounds good, too. Though presumably rewards would be based on student performance, probably measured through standardized testing, which has its problems.
Still, as at least projecting the right balance of reformism, populism, and patriotism, he looks like he's turning out to be a fairly strong leader.