Joe Mathews believes, based on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comments on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulous, that the governor might consider accepting a position as energy-environment czar in an Obama administration and leave the governorship early.
I don’t think Lt. Gov. John Garamendi should be packing boxes just yet.
Governor Schwarzenegger would be abandoning his supporters in the business community who have worked tirelessly for him if he makes such a move. Often, the Schwarzenegger veto pen is the only thing that stands between the liberal California Legislature and new regulations and fees hoisted on business. A Governor Garamendi would be more accepting of new requirements on business.
If business is abandoned, it may be more resistant to one of Schwarzenegger’s proudest moments, signing AB 32, the greenhouse gases measure. Business is already discussing problems with implementing the new law. Likely, Governor Schwarzenegger could more easily convince business interests to cooperate with its implementation. If he is gone from the scene, the measure that set the spotlight on him in the environmental arena – the measure that would be responsible for him being offered the energy-environmental czar position in an Obama administration — could be weakened, thus undercutting Schwarzenegger’s credibility for the post.
Finally, Schwarzenegger’s allies are working hard to find a good candidate to succeed him in the governor’s office. Some capable candidates are already being discussed. Allowing a Governor Garamendi to run as an incumbent governor would make it that much harder for another candidate to win the governorship.
For all those reasons, I think Gov. Schwarzenegger serves out his term before considering a federal government position.