An exuberant Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger celebrated with the “No on 23” campaign and its supporters at Public House in San Francisco on Tuesday night, taking a swipe at the Texas oil companies that bankrolled the failed proposition.
Monday night, in the same bar and restaurant, which is located in AT&T Park, ecstatic Giants fans watched their team win the World Series on TV and reveled in the victory. Tuesday night, Schwarzenegger connected the Giants' defeat of the Texas Rangers to the campaign against Proposition 23, which in early returns looked likely to be soundly defeated.
“Today, literally less than 24 hours later, we are beating Texas again,” he said, speaking from behind a podium with a World Series 2010 logo on it to cheers from the crowd of environmentalists, campaign operatives and contributors. Schwarzenegger was referring to the Texas oil interests who had been the major funders of the measure, which would have suspended California’s landmark global warming law. “Even though they spent millions and millions of dollars, today the people will make up their mind and speak loud and clear that California’s environment is not for sale,” the governor said.
Schwarzenegger has made defending AB 32, the global warming law, into his central issue this election season. He had not only declined to endorse fellow Republican Meg Whitman’s candidacy for governor, even after he cast his own ballot on Tuesday, he demurred about which successor he’d voted for.
The 2006 law which requires the state to rollback it’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 was a signature achievement of Schwarzenegger’s administration. As he leaves office with his approval rating languishing in the 20s, he’s taken pains to defend the law, exhorting voters to cast ballots against Prop. 23 by railing against the “self-serving greed” of the “Texas oil companies” behind the measure.
At Public House, George Schultz, the 90-year-old former secretary of state, who co-chaired the “No on 23” campaign, introduced Schwarzenegger by comparing him admiringly to the late former President Ronald Reagan, not an apt comparison at an event for an environmental cause.
In his remarks, Schwarzenegger lashed out at Washington for its failure to act on climate-change. “While we are doing all these great things, there is no action in Washington. Isn’t that interesting?” he said. “The one great thing about California is we never wait for Washington.”
The governor said the vote tonight would send a message to others with a hankering to mess with California’s environmental laws: “We say: Hasta la vista, baby!”