Arnold vs. the Nurses: ‘He Sees Women as Completely Subservient’

This, ladies and gentlemen – I do mean Democrats – is how it is done. The LAT ran a front page profile today of Rose Ann DeMoro, the executive director of the California Nurses Assn., a 60,000-member labor union that has been giving Gov. Schwarzenegger hell, of late.

“He was on a roll, he was unassailable, and people told us we couldn’t take him on,” said DeMoro, sitting in a fourth-floor conference room at the association’s brick headquarters here. Two Schwarzenegger bobble-head dolls, one labeled “Governor Girlie Man,” roosted on her desk. “We take extreme credit for his poll numbers dropping like a rock,” DeMoro said.

Schwarzenegger’s once-soaring approval ratings have indeed plunged, and his sweeping proposals to revamp state government have stalled.

He can’t seem to attend a fundraiser free of boisterous union protesters, with chanting nurses often in the front ranks. And one of his favorite lines for diminishing his opponents — “I am always kicking their butts” — has come back to haunt him, thanks to angry RNs mobilized by DeMoro.

Although she was never a nurse – she used to organize for the Teamsters in Hollywood – during DeMoro’s 12 years heading the association, the union has defied labor-movement trends by tripling its membership, according to the Times article.

In her battle with the governor, the tide turned when Schwarzenegger egged on the nurses, and unleashed her fervor for street-level activism. “When Arnold attacked those nurses, he just fell into a trap, and there’s no doubt the nurses outflanked him,” said Allan Hoffenblum, a Republican strategist in Los Angeles.

DeMoro brands Schwarzenegger a “bullying” sexist. “I think he sees women as completely subservient,” she told the Times.

Poll Drop Forces Change in Plans for Gubernator

First came this – new poll numbers showing that Californians are finally seeing through Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s gimmickry and media manipulation.

Then came this. Schwarzenegger does an about face on his threat to go over the heads of the Dem-controlled legislature and take his risky pension privatization scheme to the public via a ballot initiative.

The poll drop is significant and is in line with recent polling that shows the governor to be slipping in popularity. This latest poll found that “the governor’s job performance is approved by 49% of voters, disapproved by 38%. His rating is worse among all adults: 43% approval, 43% disapproval — a steep slide since it was 59%-26% in January. Polls last year had shown Schwarzenegger with stratospheric job ratings in the high 60s.”

Ahnold has a problem with the fundamentals too. “People also were asked a standard question about whether they think ‘things in California are going in the right direction or are they seriously off on the wrong track.’ Only 39% answered right direction; 49% said wrong track. In January, it was almost reversed: 52% right track, 35% wrong direction.”

Wait! I think I just heard bellowing from the general direction of Bel Air. Sounded like a man with an Austrian accent bellowing: “Maria! Get Oprah on the line!”

Angelides Enters Anti-Arnold Race Early

With approval ratings in the 60s, Gov. Schwarzenegger appears to be invincible, and his ability to manipulate the national media – not to mention the international entertainment media – gives him edge over every conceivable contender, with the possible exception of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who would be pushing 80 at the end of her first term, if she chose to run. The first candidate to put his hat in the ring is state Treasurer Phil Angelides.

The resident state political expert at the LA Times , George Skelton, assesses early opposition to the Gubernator:

The [Angelides] strategy isn’t exactly to carve out the role of anti-Arnold for himself, because Angelides has been doing that practically from Day One of the Schwarzenegger administration. He’s now trying to make sure Democratic activists and ordinary voters know about it.

“I stood up and said Schwarzenegger was wrong and I didn’t care how high his poll numbers were or how big his megaphone was,” says Angelides. “And too many other Democrats laid down.”

He means [Atty. Gen. Bill ] Lockyer [Dem.], who acknowledged voting for Schwarzenegger in the recall election. “I think people ought to be judged by how they act in the crucible of critical times,” the treasurer asserts.

Angelides, 51, a rich Sacramento housing developer and former state party chairman who first was elected in 1998, says there’s another factor that distinguishes him from Lockyer: “I’m not a lifer in the public sector.” His 15 years as a developer, he contends, gave him “a keen understanding of what’s required to build a strong economy.”

Gov. Conan Girds for Battle, Ready to ‘Kick Butts’

The most peculiar thing about state politics here in California is that the local news media has abdicated any serious role it may have had in reporting on the issues. Sure, the local stations will host debates among politicians, but not if they are scheduled to interfere with the primetime line up. During the actual nightly newscasts, politics are rarely mentioned because the topic bores viewers and cuts into coverage of today’s car chase or drive-by shooting.

This works tremendously in favor of someone like Gov. Schwarzenegger who has free access – not just to the national media – but to its most popular sector: the entertainment media. If there was a moment that won the election for him last time, it was his appearance on “Oprah,” where his friend the talk show host lodged a bunch of softball questions toward Arnold and Maria. No surprise that questions about groping or call girls never came up.

That’s what we can expect in the coming debate about Schwarzenegger’s “reforms” of the state government. When the going gets tough, he’ll appear on “Entertainment Tonight” and call his opponents names. Unfortunately, this appeals to a large sector of Californians, mostly men, who rarely vote but who love “The Terminator.” This trivialization of politics would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous.

From the Washington Post today:

Critics say the governor is avoiding the budget deficit, and even some of his allies question why he decided to take on so many fights. Schwarzenegger said he was elected “to create reform, to fix the problem, fix the broken system,” not to move slowly. “Remember the greatest things that you can accomplish, the more risks you take,” he said. “It’s directly related to risk. Everything like this — investments and everything else. If you’re willing to take risks, then the upside can be spectacular.”

Schwarzenegger has roused widespread opposition. Now when he travels the state, in addition to crowds of enthusiastic supporters, he is met with protesters: nurses, teachers, firefighters, police and correctional officers, PTA leaders. Schwarzenegger labels them all special interests and inflamed matters when he dismissed the protests of nurses at a women’s event last December. “The special interests don’t like me in Sacramento because I am always kicking their butts,” he said.

Schwarzenegger Tries Bush-Style Media Manipulation

Deploying propaganda through paid surrogates, fake news reporters and tricked out video reports that are passed off as news is a de facto admission that the policies of the Bush Administration – and now the Schwarzenegger crew in Sacramento – can’t stand on their own.

Adding salt to the wound in the body politic is the fact that all this GOP chicanery is paid out of the public dole. (Now there’s a place to cut the budget.)

On the federal level, it is illegal to produce propaganda using taxpayer money. Fortunately for President Bush, the corrupt conservatives who control the US Congress will never investigate anything this Administration does.

On the other hand, Governor Schwarzenegger faces a legislature controlled by Democrats. And while the Pravdazation of government news reporting needs to be exposed to the antiseptic of endless committee hearings, it would be uncharacteristic of the Dems in Sacramento to make a fuss. More likely the fake news tapes will resurface as an issue in the governor’s race next year.