That's the headline on a good Timothy Egan perspective piece on broken California currently getting high billing on the New York Times website. Excerpt:
He was never as empty-headed as his enemies imagined, nor the cartoon character he sometimes portrayed. A Reagan Republican who married into the royalty of America’s Democratic dynasty, Arnold Schwarzenegger had everything going for him – no ties to party leaders, interest groups or the past.
Now the swagger, the audacity, the blush of the new — it’s all gone for the Governator in Winter. He was grim-faced and hollow-eyed last week in his final state of the state speech, standing in front of the Bear Flag, a reminder of the days when giants ruled California, and further back, when even the Los Angeles basin had grizzly bears..
Schwarzenegger has been reduced to desperation of the saddest sort, urging the feds to bail him out, or else there will be more pain for elderly shut-ins, for sick children, for the schools. Watching the action figure beg, and threaten to shred an already torn safety net, is pathos on a public stage....
The pity is, Schwarzenegger seemed so right for the broken politics of the Golden State. ...The simple tragedy of California is that its tax and budgeting restrictions — voted in by citizens’ initiatives — make it impossible to pay for the prison, school and health mandates OK’d by those same people.
Egan, an author and former New York Times reporter, writes for the paper's Opinionator blog "on American politics and life, as seen from the West."