Fools Rush In

Why would anyone actually want to be the next governor of California?

It
is probably one of the toughest in jobs in the nation. The next
governor will find him or herself neck deep in a fiscal quagmire, a
crippling drought, and a worsening recession. Put together, it is a
situation worse than the one that led to Gray Davis’ recall.

While
legislators have hammered out a budget and at least for now staved
off insolvency, our fiscal problems are not over. The Golden State
has a deep structural deficit, which will rear its ugly head again
next year around budget time. Whoever the next governor is, he or she
will have to make more tough decisions.

For
a Democrat, this could mean not restoring the funding to the state
university system that was recently cut, getting more concessions
from state employees or abandoning long-term environmental projects.
For a Republican, this could likely mean letting the some of the
recent, temporary tax increases to become permanent, sanctioning the
early release of criminals to save costs in state corrections or
possibly even going back on a no new taxes pledge.

Gov.
Schwarzenegger has been forced to compromise on all fronts. The most
recent budget has slashed education funding, angering Democrats and
Unions, while simultaneously irking Republicans with tax increases.
The next governor will have to make similar bargains. Would
Schwarzenegger would do it all again given the option? Knowing that
he traded several multi-million dollar movie deals for 8 years of
flagellation, would he opt for a redo?

A
number of high profile candidates are considering running on the
Republican ticket. Businesswoman Meg Whitman has already thrown her
hat into the ring, and fellow business woman Carly Fiorina is a
possible candidate, although more likely as a candidate for the
Senate. Bill Simon, an old guard conservative and former Assemblyman,
will likely try again for the governor’s mansion after failing to win
against Gray Davis. Former Representative Tom Campbell and incumbent
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner round out a very impressive
field.

Many
high profile Democrats are also in the mix. San Francisco Mayor,
Gavin Newsom, has been angling for governor ever since his
reelection. Lieutenant Gov. John Garamendi is a political veteran and
will be a formidable opponent in the primary. Attorney General Jerry
Brown has even more political experience, including eight previous
years as governor. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez has formed an
exploratory committee, although she may also be interested in a
possible Senate seat. Although she has not formally announced,
Senator Dianne Feinstein led all Democrats in a recent poll with 36
percent. Her stature and recognition give her a built-in advantage
versus other lesser known potential candidates (for example State
Senator Abel Maldonado’s idol, John Chiang).

The
next governor will have his or her hands full. They are guaranteed a
difficult job that will make them enemies on all sides of the
political spectrum, which will make seeking their party’s nomination
for reelection in 2014 difficult. There is even the possibility of
another recall campaign. After the past year, why would anyone, save
a committed masochist, want to be take on the task of leading this
state?