May 20, 2009

The meaning of rejection

Tuesday's statewide election results are significant - but significant how? What exactly did the California voters reject? Taxes? Spending? The system? Schwarzenegger? Legislation by ballot? All of the above?

The spin teams are out today trying to answer those questions for us, but it remains uncertain which arguments will win out. As Dan Schnur of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC told the Sacramento Bee: "These measures will end up being a $25 million Rorschach test ... Everybody will end up seeing in the results what they want to."

There's no shortage of interesting analysis - in between the predictable sniping from the right and the left. Michael Finnegan at the Los Angeles Times has a smart piece about the dysfunctional relationship between voters and Sacramento. Anthony York at Capitol Weekly thinks the election might mean an end to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's postpone-the-pain brand of governing. Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine argue that Californians must embrace institutional changes before they'll find fiscal stability. Joe Mathews of the New America Foundation proposes more elections to eliminate the need for these high-stakes gambles.

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