This LA Times article comparing Spitzer and Schwarzenegger
for me keeps the Give Up dream alive. In the face of a federal government that is still frozen in place by Republicans, a president and the minority that supports him, it's reassuring to see some are still hoping for the state-based progressive attack.
But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer share more than an Austrian lineage. (Spitzer's grandparents were from the old country.) Both have an appetite for big issues and big challenges. And both hope to leverage landslide victories in November — and the public's affinity for their ambition — to transform the role of state government in public life.
And as they barrel ahead on issues that Washington can't or won't address — global warming, universal healthcare, stem cell research — both are prodding balky Legislatures to act.
"I don't think we are moving with any greater speed than is called for by the circumstances," Spitzer told a gaggle of reporters in Brooklyn, a couple of whom questioned whether he understood that the deliberative process involves, well, deliberating with lawmakers.
Spitzer has stepped into a national spotlight on state governance that until recently was directed almost entirely at Schwarzenegger. Like California's governor, he came into office with a larger-than-life profile, having gained glory as the hard-charging state attorney general who took on Wall Street.
At the White House event, they chatted about the potential for launching policy initiatives together. A spokesman for Schwarzenegger said they agreed that doing so "could be good for the country." They made plans to talk again soon.
"New York is an extremely important state. California is an extremely important state," Schwarzenegger said in a recent telephone interview. "If we can form a partnership from the East to the West, that will rub off on other states."
Spitzer, for his part, says there is much to learn by looking west — especially in these early days of his administration, when it's easy to overplay the hand dealt by a big win at the polls.
Damn right. Progressive politics in these two powerful states is as or more effective than federal legislation, which often weakens, rather than strengthens state regulations. The other neat aspect is the progressive unity in these two that seems to supersede party distinctions. I love it.
Labels: eliot spitzer