California Eagerly Awaits November 2010 Recall Election

Six years ago this month, California voters threw out an unpopular governor amidst a recession and a severe budget crisis, replacing him with a Hollywood action star who promised to fundamentally change the way the state does business.

Instead the people of California got a governor who actually is as a bad as Gray Davis was incorrectly assumed to be. And finally, the public realizes just how bad he is. The latest Field Poll shows a state that is fed up with the failure currently occupying the governor’s office:

Approval Disapproval April 09 (app/dis)
Arnold: 27 65 (33/55)
Legislature: 13 78 (14/74)

The lowest approval rating Gray Davis ever sustained was 22% in August 2003, 2 months before he was recalled. And that remains the lowest approval any CA governor has sustained since at least 1958 (Field Poll doesn’t offer stats before that year). Arnold Schwarzenegger is now in Davis territory.

This will likely spark more talk in the comments of a recall of Schwarzenegger. But in fact, such a recall is scheduled, just 385 days from now. The November 2010 election will be California’s chance to decide whether they want to continue Arnold Schwarzenegger’s policies in the form of either Meg Whitman, Steve Poizner or Tom Campbell.

It would be nice if the Democratic candidates offered a meaningful change away from Arnold’s policies of “cut for cuts’ sake, no matter the damage it does to our economy” and his overall right-wing approach to governance. Jerry Brown might have signed AB 98 but he has stated his preference to continue the totally failed Schwarzenegger “no new taxes” policy that is wrecking our state’s finances and our economy. Gavin Newsom has made some interesting statements about the need for structural reform, but he has yet to offer a specific solution to the economic and financial crisis.

Which is unfortunate, because Californians clearly, desperately, want change. The candidate that offers a different and better path than the failed legacy of Arnold Schwarzenegger will be the one to sweep into the governor’s office in January 2011 with a mandate for change.

We’ll see if there is any such candidate willing to step up and play that role.