A new poll shows Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s approval rating is down to 40 percent. The Governor has responded by “retiring” education secretary Richard Riordan, the second most popular Republican in the state (which ain’t saying much, believe me).
It has been a rocky few years for Dick Riordan, the liberal Republican former mayor of Los Angeles. After being term-limited out as mayor, he made two attempts to run for governor. He threw his hat in the ring in the race against Democrat Gray Davis, but Davis took political advice from former President Bill Clinton and went after Riordan with an ad blitz during the Republican primaries, thus fatally wounding the only GOP candidate who had a snowball’s chance of winning the general election. (This was the last politically astute thing Davis ever did.)
In the run up to the Recall of Gov. Davis, Riordan signalled his intention to make another run but was preempted and completely upstaged when his friend Arnold Schwarzenegger went on Jay Leno to announce that he was running. Seems Arnold hadn’t bothered to give Dick a heads up before the announcement.
After Schwarzenegger’s election, he tapped Riordan to be Education Secretary, but the only news Dick has made during his tenure was when he told a young girl that her name – Isis – meant “dirty, stupid girl.” He later tried to explain this by saying it was a joke. Republican humor must be oblique to the rest of us.
After promising not to cut funding for education in the state, Schwarzenegger immediately”borrowed” $2 billion from the education budget which he now says he has no intention of repaying. Teachers have pummeled him in a $5 million ad blitz, protesters are dogging the Governor’s personal appearances and his poll numbers down – so, obviously, Riordan had to go.
“The protesters or poll numbers have absolutely no impact on what I do because I am very focused, and I shoot for what needs to be done,” Schwarzenegger said, once again confusing lying with acting.