People have been asking your blogger the following question: what’s the difference between working at the LA Times (I quit earlier this year) and being a fellow at New America? The answer is easy: technology. Because New America is a think tank, I have access to the Mind Reading Machine (MRM), a little-known device. This weekend, I got to use the machine for the time, and I decided to point it at the brain of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Last week was a big one for him and for California: a revised budget proposal that was widely panned, his renewed push to get his budget reform plan on the November ballot, and a state Supreme Court ruling permitting gay couples to marry in the state.

Here’s what the Mind Reading Machine spit up:

"You know when something good happens at the wrong time? I can’t admit this to anyone, but that’s how I think about this gay marriage ruling.

I’ve got no problem with gay marriage, of course, but up til now I’ve done a great job of avoiding the issue politically. Many Republican voters didn’t know my private views before the Supreme Court did its thing Thursday and I had to issue a statement saying I would uphold the court’s decision. I had everyone confused because  I came down hard on that big forehead [MRM EDITOR’S NOTE: forehead is an all-purpose insult favored by the governor], the mayor of San Francisco, for marrying those folks without any legal authority. If you look at what I said, I condemned him not for the marriages but for making up the law as he went along.

Of course, the right-wing knuckledraggers thought I was with them on the issue. What a bunch of foreheads! Don’t they know I spent my career in bodybuilding and Hollywood? Who do you think was buying those pictures of me in Speedos? I’ve gotten where I am today because of gay people. By the way, I’ve gotta remember to tell Clay to call my tailor to order 50 new suits for all the weddings I’m going to have to attend this summer. It’ll be a miracle if I have any time to negotiate the budget.

And the budget — specifically my budget reform proposal — is the real casualty of this gay marriage ruling. I’ve been working for months to try to set up my budget reform proposal (it’s got a fantastic rainy day fund) so voters will pass it in November. It’s so obvious we need to do it, but I’ve never been able to get the public to focus on the details and urgency of this. Budget reform is a complicated, technical subject full of subtleties. When I try to sell my proposal, it reminds me why I never made art films. I failed twice before on budget reform — right when I got into office, and with the unsuccessful Prop. 76 in the 2005 special election, which lost more money than Last Action Hero. Losing sucks.

It was already going to be difficult for me to win on budget reform before the gay marriage ruling. All my polling guys — the one my aides know about, and then all other guys I deal with directly and don’t tell them about — tell me I’m losing popularity. Getting enough attention to pass budget reform in November was already tough with all the voters focused on the presidential race and my friend McCain and that fellow who Maria likes and who Bloomberg says is cool. Forget the name– from Chicago, thinks he’s the Second Coming. So budget reform was a tough sell in November. It’s like a movie opening. You can have two hits open on the same weekend if you’re telling different stories. The presidential campaign was the national story. And my California counter-programming was going to be my budget reform thing. It would have been great, with messaging along the lines of me saving the world in crisis. You know, the usual. I had it set up beautifully, too. My budget reform proposal would give people the choice. Do my budget reform, or the sales tax goes up. That would get everyone’s attention.

But this gay marriage thing could screw all that up. That’s because the knuckledraggers got the signatures on an initiative for November to put some nonsense in the state constitution that marriage is between a man and a woman. Don’t they know marriage is between a Democrat and a Republican? Anyway, now that the court has made gay marriage legal, this initiative, which would undo the decision, is going to get all the attention that should have gone to my budget reform. And Republican voters I need to support budget reform are going to be mad at me because I’m against the anti-gay marriage initiative. By the way, the initiative is crazy. If it passed, half of Hollywood — the half that hasn’t already taken their productions out of state because of those bribes the other states are offering — will leave. The only Hollywood folks left in California will be me and Clint, and we’ll have to spend our dotage making buddy comedies full of bladder control jokes in abandoned sound stages in the Valley.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah. The press didn’t want to write about budget reform, but they would have had to do if it were the big thing on the ballot. But now the gay marriage initiative will get all the attention. And no one will talk about budget reform, and if no one knows what the proposal is, they’re not going to vote for it. So the gay marriage initiative is going to get in the way of my last best chance for budget reform (not to mentioning reapportionment reform).  If I lose this time, I’m the lamest of lame ducks, and all those columnists at the Bee whose last names start with the letter W will write that I’m the biggest failure since Culbert Olson.

So those judges gave the right to marry to a lot of folks, which is nice. But they really screwed me."