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by Ray Haynes Temecula I remember a meeting the Governor had with Assembly Republicans right after the 2005 special election debacle.  Remember that one?  The Governor raised millions of dollars for some mediocre initiatives (and one good one, elimination of agency fee), spent that money on mediocre ads prepared by mediocre consultants, who gave him bad advice (specifically they told him not to put anything on illegal immigration on the ballot because it would be too controversial, even though illegal immigration was the one issue that would draw out the voters the Governor wanted to the polls), and he lost, everything. After that election, he said he had learned his lesson, and he completely capitulated to the Democrats.  He hired Susan Kennedy, one of the chief aides to the failed Governor Gray Davis (and one of the chief architects of his failures), began rolling over for Democrats, and began capitulating to the Democrats on every major issue.  He was no longer the terminator, he wasn't even a Compromisinator, he was the Capitulator.  His capitulation to Legislative Democrats created the current fiscal crisis in the state, just as the capitulation of Gray Davis to the Legislative Democrats led to his collapse as Governor.  Those of us who tried to warn him that his spending spree in 05-06 and 06-07 would lead to a fiscal collapse were marginalized.  He told us we didn't know what we were talking about, that we were wrong, the fiscal collapse wouldn't come.  I once told one of the few Republicans left in the administration after the arrival of Kennedy, that I really wanted this Governor to succeed, and that he was sowing the seeds of his own destruction.  I was told that if I wanted to Governor to succeed, I should just shut up and go along.  I just couldn't do that.  I thought that maybe someone would listen if I could convince the Governor and his staff that my criticism was borne out of a desire to protect the Governor.  The response I received was to threaten my political career and tell me I would never get a Governor's appointment. Now that the strategy of capitulation has collapsed, both in policy and at the polls, here is the question--Will the Governor do the same thing on Wednesday that he did after the November 2005 special election?  Will he stand up and say he was wrong, that he learned his lesson, that the state's trouble actually resulted from poor spending decisions of the past, and the only way to get real fiscal reform is stop spending? To move to a zero base budgeting system? To do actually and real reductions in spending, not borrow, deceive and hide to maintain current spending levels?  Will he propose an honest budget that reduces spending to around $88 billion, and tries to inhibit the power of the government unions? He abandoned conservatives in 2005 with the claim they led him to the special election debacle of that year (even though we advised him against the strategy that was used in that election).  Will he abandon the liberals in Sacramento, who have effectively ended his political career by pushing him into making some very bad fiscal decisions?  When he listened to conservatives, he didn't get all he wanted, but he accomplished things.  When he listened to his moderate friends (as he did in the special election of 2005) and the liberals (as he has ever since then), he looked foolish.  Will he finally see what really caused his political failure? Or will he scapegoat us again, and continue with his foolish political strategies? I don't know.  I still want this Governor to go out a success.  I really do like the guy, no matter what he thinks.  I think he has had bad advice from bad advisers, and no one has had the intestinal fortitude to tell him that.  No one stands up to him to challenge his assumptions, and his advisers do not have his best interests at heart.  He is where he is because he has surrounded himself with people whose advice has been intended to advance their political agenda, not the Governor's political future.  He has paid the price for that, in his popularity and in his policies. If history repeats itself, the Governor will come to the table and say Tom McClintock told me this would happen, and now I want to listen to those who warned me of this crisis.  I doubt that he will do that, but he should.  He might just leave office with his reputation intact if he does. CRO copyright 2009 Haynes Ray Haynes is a former member of the California Assembly and the California Senate.

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