Ed Driscoll

The Incredible Shrinking McBain?

Last week, Hugh Hewitt asked, what, if anything, will Arnold Schwarzenegger legacy as governor of California be remembered for?

Wally Cox isn’t going to get the girl, Barney Fife isn’t going to get to load his bullet, and Phil Angelides isn’t going to get close to Arnold.

Arnold thus has the opportunity to get a mandate for something.

The Governator has been campaigning on infrastructure needs, which means the right to spend a lot on planning because given California’s environmental laws, litigation-happy activists and the executive branch bureaucracies that Arnold has left unreformed, no major new project will actually happen. There won’t be a new campus, a new connector tunnel, a new high speed train. There won’t even be the conclusion of previously approved toll road in south Orange County.

Bridges will get repairs and a few widening projects will proceed. “Arnold, repairer of bridges” –this is how he wants to be remembered?

Because California is such a large map on which to work, its governor’s do get remembered, for better or worse. Gray Davis was defined by the power crisis, Pete Wilson by his competent handling of major disaster after major disaster and for his embrace of Prop 187. Pat Brown was a builder, Jerry Brown a pop icon and the anti-builder, and George Deukmejian the law and order governor. Reagan, of course, was Reagan.

While California blogger Steve Frank praises his appointments of Republican judges, Chris Weinkopf writes that Arnold’s legacy could be in serious danger of ending up as, ironically, the ultimate “girlie man”:

Behold the new Arnold, a man bearing little resemblance to the revolutionary who toppled Gov. Gray Davis just three years ago. He