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Meg Whitman might not get nod from Gov. Schwarzenegger

[UPDATE, 4:32: Video of my one-on-one with Arnold Schwarznegegger added below.]

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is no lockstep, doctrinaire Republican. While many in his party deride proposals to put a price on carbon to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and imported oil as an energy tax, Schwarzenegger is out there pushing hard to save his state's aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction law passed in 2006. And if the Republican who hopes to succeed him -- former eBay CEO Meg Whitman -- is counting on Schwarzenegger's endorsement, she better think again.

During a meeting with the Post editorial board today, my colleague Ruth Marcus asked Schwarzenegger for his thoughts on Tuesday's election results in California. The gubernatorial race between Democrat Jerry Brown and Whitman will be interesting to watch, he said, because "they are such opposites." But then he noted that he hadn't endorsed in the race. "I have too many things on my plate," he said. When Ruth asked about the possibility of his coming out of neutrality and endorsing Whitman, Schwarzenegger said, "You're assuming I'm going to endorse the Republican." A Republican governor not endorsing the Republican candidate to be his successor? I don't know about Ruth, but that response put me on the edge of my seat.

The governor did say he could change his mind "and endorse someone 14 days out. I don't know." And you'll see in the video of my interview with him, how he pulls back a little and suggests it's likely he would endorse Whitman -- if he endorses, that is. But he also said in the session with the editorial board that Brown had done some good things and some bad things during his two terms as governor. Schwarzenegger didn't elaborate, but the mere fact that he had a nugget of niceness for the Democrat two days into the general election is stunning. I can't wait to see how the party elders in California and here in Washington react to this.

In the face of stupefying budget woes, Schwarzenegger has had to make some "terrible cuts," which have earned him a dismal 23 percent job approval rating. This explains why in his last year in office he is working hard to burnish the image of a reformer. A non-politician who went to Sacramento to get things done.

Truth be told, he's had success on that front.

The AB 32 law that he's trying to save and the oil industry is trying to kill was passed by the legislature and signed by him in 2006. This law secures California's place at the vanguard of environmental policy and innovation in the U.S. Open primaries became the law of the Golden State when voters approved Proposition 14 on Tuesday. The "top two" system would place the two candidates with the highest primary vote totals on the ballot in the general election regardless of party. Perhaps this could help the state GOP. As Harold Meyerson writes today, the primary system in California has made it nearly impossible for Republicans to win statewide after winning their party's nomination. This comes two years after Schwarzenegger succeeded to shift redistricting decisions to an independent board of citizens rather than politicians bent on self-preservation.

"I'm a reformist," Schwarzenegger said proudly. "If I see something broken I want to fix, it even if people say don't do it." He went on to say that he is "always interested in taking on things that are difficult." He's fond of saying, "Things can happen if you stay with it." Unfortunately, the state's budget may be one major problem he can't fix.

Watch my full interview with the governor below:

By Jonathan Capehart  | June 10, 2010; 3:19 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

He is going to endorse Jerry. And Jerry will win.

Posted by: bozorecon | June 10, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

He is going to endorse Jerry. And Jerry will win.

Posted by: bozorecon | June 10, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Meg Whitman might not get nod from Gov. Schwarzenegger ------ And this hurts her how? Arnie probably has less political capital to spend of anyone in the country. He was a total failure in Kalifornia, as after his first couple of years giving it a shot, he decided he could not move the far left Dems controlling their legislature. Not that Whitman has much more of a chance at that, but getting Arnie's endorsement might actually hurt more than help.

Posted by: CREEBOLD | June 10, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

"earned him a dismal 23 percent job approval rating"

I hope he endorses that fossil Jerry Brown!

Posted by: Azarkhan | June 10, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

One thing we learned from Arnold was a multi millionaire who said to Californians "I am rich I don't have a dollar price tag around my neck".
Then he proceeded to accept millions of PAC money to pay for his lifestyle as governor.
This pathetic body builder who shook in his shoes at the thought of taking on the California prison system.
The reality for me was why can't a multi millionaire with a fashionista wife find a hairdresser to colour his hair?.
I felt the same way when Washington Mutual Bank changed it's name to WaMu???
WaMu??? Why would a sane CEO change the name of his bank to WaMU?.
Arnold was allways a WaMu kind of guy.

Posted by: JillCalifornia | June 10, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

MEG WHITMAN WOULD BE BETTER OFF WITHOUT ARNOLD'S NOD. IT IS THE KISS OF DEATH IN CALIFORNIA. SHE IS SO FAR SUPERIOR TO HIM AND JERRY BROWN IN EVERY WAY IT TAKES ONE'S BREATH AWAY. GO AWAY ARNOLD AND TAKE THE PROGRESSIVES WITH YOU.

Posted by: LETFREEDOMRING2 | June 10, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Capeheart:
“The AB 32 law ……….This law secures California's place at the vanguard of environmental policy and innovation”
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Lay off the kool-Aid Jonathan; this law only puts Cal-E-forn-E-ah at the vanguard of juvenile celebrity chic.

Arnold’s bona fides as a reformer went out the window when the mighty Hollywood action hero attempted to stand up to an all powerful public employee’s lobby. These mostly superfluous government workers were able to make the Governator look like a ninety-eight pound weakling, and they didn’t even need to pump up with steroids.

Posted by: dcn1 | June 10, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

fr the article:

>...In the face of stupefying budget woes, Schwarzenegger has had to make some "terrible cuts,"...<

Yeah, "terrible cuts" by laying off people who NEED the work, but blithely continuing to NOT live in the State Capitol but by flying by PRIVATE JET back to Hollywood every night. By erecting a "smoking tent" outside of his office that flooded the bottom floor of the Capitol building. Ahnuld did NOT pay for that little "mistake", the CONSUMERS AND TAX PAYERS of California did.

Ahnuld needs to be kicked out, given 30 minutes to pack his desk, and be escorted by security from the building to a car that he can drive back to Hollywood. The remainder of his belongings should be sold and the proceeds given to the homeless here in Sacramento.

Posted by: Alex511 | June 10, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

With Governor Schwarzenegger's approval ratings I don't believe that his endorsement will be of much significance.

Posted by: bobbo2 | June 10, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but the guy's claim to be a "reformer" is just crazy. He really has not accomplished anything that fundamentally changes California from a structural governance standpoint. He holds a $50K per person fundraiser at his house the weekend before releasing his final budget. What the heck for? He's selling access to lobbyists to save their pet projects and continue the same old kind of big money politics that has alwasy had a stranglehold on the state.

His ballot measure for an independent redistricting commission was back in 2005, not two years ago; it got crushed by the unions.

California's governance problem is both structural and political. The state constitution is such a mess of knotted amendments, it is a legal Frankenstein that inhibits any effective governing. Too much "mandatory" funding in the budget; too many crazy initiatives subject to the whims of voters. It is political in the sense that the state is too large and too diverse to govern. There are 35 million people living here in all manner of geographic regions who have nothing in common with each other other than the fact they put "CA" on their return addresses. There is no cohesiveness that allows collective governing decisions to be made. Policymakers are gerrymandered into seats for the duration of their term limits, then play musical chairs to retain their power and continue to split up the massive budget dollars for their particular constituencies. Public employee unions continue to spend us into oblivion.

California is Greece, heading towards the abyss.

Posted by: djett1 | June 10, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but the guy's claim to be a "reformer" is just crazy. He really has not accomplished anything that fundamentally changes California from a structural governance standpoint. He holds a $50K per person fundraiser at his house the weekend before releasing his final budget. What the heck for? He's selling access to lobbyists to save their pet projects and continue the same old kind of big money politics that has alwasy had a stranglehold on the state.

His ballot measure for an independent redistricting commission was back in 2005, not two years ago; it got crushed by the unions.

California's governance problem is both structural and political. The state constitution is such a mess of knotted amendments, it is a legal Frankenstein that inhibits any effective governing. Too much "mandatory" funding in the budget; too many crazy initiatives subject to the whims of voters. It is political in the sense that the state is too large and too diverse to govern. There are 35 million people living here in all manner of geographic regions who have nothing in common with each other other than the fact they put "CA" on their return addresses. There is no cohesiveness that allows collective governing decisions to be made. Policymakers are gerrymandered into seats for the duration of their term limits, then play musical chairs to retain their power and continue to split up the massive budget dollars for their particular constituencies. Public employee unions continue to spend us into oblivion.

California is Greece, heading towards the abyss.

Posted by: djett1 | June 10, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I met Jerry Brown in 2002 at a small conference near Yosemite.

I found him to be very interesting. He didn't speak in sound bites and was playing free association with ideas about governing. He was articulate and creative.

I'm afraid Meg Whitman will not relate well to the political system in California. Running ebay doesn't seem like it has much in common with running California.

Posted by: rs12 | June 10, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

We in California booted Gray Davis for good reason but we did not get what we expected with Arnold. He is no conservative. An honest review of his performance would or should probably result in his recall. Meg Whitman will most likely be better off without him. As for Moonbeam Brown all I can say is YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING!!!!

Posted by: jimdf05 | June 10, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Whom will the "Terminator" endorse? Who cares, really.

Unless Gerry Brown dies on a heart attack, a bit over 70 years of age, or something else happens... no GOP who is anti-choice, anti-immigrant, and pro-Arizona law is going to win in CA.

It's also true on the senatorial campaign. Boxer may not be an intellectual giant; but she is skilled enough as a politician, plus some luck, too... in addition to being decent enough a legislator.

Two GOP women candidates who are supposed to be fist-tight with fiscal/monetary budgets and issues, having spent close to $150M during their PRIMARY races.... that's just not "small, responsible government" at all...

Californians may have been enthralled by the "Terminator", since the state was/is saturated with celibrity politician talking heads.... but the guy is more like a MODERATE centrist Democrat than a moderate GOP. More than half of the time, he went along with the Dem controlled Sacramento politicians...

Posted by: HerLao | June 10, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

There are not enough ignorant Repugnant ones in CA to allow Meg Whitman to buy the governorship.

Go Jerry!!

Posted by: blrpalms | June 10, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Who would want that kiss of death?

Posted by: edfo | June 11, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

I see nothing wrong if our governor endorses former governor Jerry Brown. For those of us who had a chance to know him and serve under him, Brown is a brilliant mind an ethical person and a great administrator. I am sure that the people of California will give him the chance to serve them again

Posted by: maitami | June 11, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

Meg Whitless has not voted in almost 30 years, and I'm supposed to trust her?

How am I going to trust someone who never cared about voting or about how the process works. She only seemed to care about EBAY.

Brown may have his problems, but at LEAST the man VOTED in 30 years.

Also, Meg Whitless is anti-choice and anti-immigrant.

Sorry Mrs. Whitless, my vote is NOT for sale.

Posted by: BW1961 | June 11, 2010 1:44 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Jesus - no endorsement from the Joker of the Repub party. It's a start....

Posted by: dcjayhawk2 | June 11, 2010 6:09 AM | Report abuse

Capeheart. Can I call you Sweetheart? I know how precious you are.
She may not get the 'NOD' from Arnold? What is that? What is - The NOD? Is that another one of those Gay Sexual positions that you Girls give names to? I find it very REVEALING (If you know what I mean) that it was Gloria Vanderbilts' little Boy/Girl that first spit out (Pun intended) the term TEA BAGGERS.
Why would ANYBODY want a 'NOD' from the BIG LOSER, in Sacramento?
Unless it IS one of those cute little names that you girls give to "Playing with your food". If you get my drift.

Posted by: GoomyGommy | June 11, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Arnie the spectacular failure as Calif governor will endorse someone? A kiss of death for the already-losers Whitman and Carly whatever her name was. (she's so yesterday). GOP is splintered and doesn't even seem to notice that's it's now the lunatic fringe! Hilarious!

Posted by: EdSantaFe | June 11, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

It hardly matters.
California is a dead man walking.
The Dems and their public union bosses have bankrupted the state.

The California Dream is wrecked.
I'm leaving.
Everyone I know wants to leave.

This is progressivism's endgame.

Posted by: happyacres | June 11, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

The attitude of Republican fanatics to a thoughtful, reasonable man in their midst is telling. Mesmerized by his Austrian accent and his portrayal of a pitiless killing machine on screen, they were willing to goosestep behind him all the way to the White House if they could change the Constitution they all swear fealty to. They ignored his oft-stated centrist positions and daydreamed of marching liberals off to death camps. Now, after Arnold's apostasies and Fred Thompson's lame candidacy, the GOP has given up on recruiting celebrities and, with their fund-raising in the toilet, are recruiting candidates rich enough to pay for their own campaigns and hope the man in the street will support whichever billionaire wants to take public office to negotiate tax cuts for themselves and their rich friends.

Posted by: dnahatch1 | June 11, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

California is a lost cause. To many takers and not enough payers to save this state. It will end up like Greece, bankrupt and begging for money from the rest of us.

Posted by: chatmandu002 | June 11, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I prefer to call him "Governor I-beam" as he is strong, smart and tough.

Like Davis he has "experience money can't buy" but he also has the heart, head, and soul to make positive change in California.

None of us today are the [exact] same people we were last year, never mind 34 years ago. So forget all the history and hype on Brown, and just do the following:

Pick out a couple of problems that California has [the state has many] study them [carefully] yourself, and then listen [carefully] to what Brown says he would do about them. In this way decide for yourself whether [or not] he should governor [again] forget "governor moonbeam" and just ask yourself: "what can Brown do for you" [or California].

The answer is a lot. Brown is a very very smart man. He is is anti-partisan, and focused only on solving problems [in nobodies pocket].

I view this is an opportunity for the state of California. It will be very interesting to see who Schwartnegger endorses.

In my view, a non-endorsement of a republican would be as good as an endorsement of Brown.

Posted by: safetypro | June 14, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I prefer to call him "Governor I-beam" as he is strong, smart and tough.

Brown has "experience money can't buy" and the heart, head, and soul to make significant positive change in California.

None of us today are the [exact] same people we were last year, never mind 34 years ago. I say forget all the history and hype on Brown, and do the following:

Pick out a couple of problems that California has [the state has many] study them [carefully] yourself, and then listen [carefully] to what Brown says he would do about them. In this way decide for yourself whether [or not] he should governor [again] forget "governor moonbeam" and just ask yourself: "what can Brown do for you" [or California].

The answer is a lot. Brown is a very very smart man. He is is anti-partisan, and focused only on solving problems [in nobodies pocket]. I view this is an opportunity for the state of California. It will be very interesting to see who Schwartnegger endorses. In my view, a non-endorsement of a republican would be as good as an endorsement of Brown.

Posted by: safetypro | June 14, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

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