Commentary: Schwarzenegger's legacy may be determined in last months in office

The Sacramento BeeOctober 30, 2009 

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the least popular governors in California history. His relationships with the Democrats who control the Legislature are lousy, and his rapport with his fellow Republicans is probably worse.

He is under constant attack from interest groups on the left and the right, and his policy agenda has been skunked in two special elections in the past four years.

With only 14 months left in his second and final term, he looks like the lamest of lame ducks, with few allies, little leverage and slim chances of accomplishing much as his political clock ticks down toward zero.

But if Schwarzenegger has the will, there are still ways for him to get things done. The job of California governor is a powerful one, and Schwarzenegger still has assets, including his worldwide celebrity, at his disposal.

He has the power to sign and veto bills, delete individual items from the budget, appoint people to key jobs and change state government through executive orders. Regulators he chooses and can replace still hold sway over vast swaths of state policy and the economy.

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