Arnold and GordonWho could have imagined that the biggest thing California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and BC Premier Gordon Campbell would have in common is their unpopularity?
When they were smiling for photo ops as they pushed their green wash, it appeared that Campbell was trying to piggyback on Schwarzenegger who became governor of California after his predecessor, Grey Davis, was recalled in 2003. Fast forward 7 years and, according to a Field poll released today, just 22% of voters approve of the Governor's performance and 79% believe California is seriously on the wrong track. A day earlier Angus Reid reported that the Campbell government had fallen to just 23% support, and 49% of those who live in Liberal held ridings would definitely sign a recall petition (plus another 18% who would probably sign one) and of those who previously voted Liberal 35% said they would definitely sign a recall petition. Tied in the bottom of the popularity polls, Campbell's government could end the way Schwarzenegger's began with a recall campaign. How's that for a photo op!
People's anger over the HST seems to have wiped other issues off the political map. Angus Reid reported: "Echoing Premier Gordon Campbell's growing unpopularity, British Columbians identify the economy (24%), health care (15%), and leadership (14%) as the province's main challenges." To the disappointment of advocates for social issues and the environment, almost nothing seems to matter except the hated tax. That cannot be good for public policy, but despite all efforts to change the channel (by advocates and the Campbell government) the remote is stuck in one position.
One desperate hope for the BC Liberals was summed up by Vaughn Palmer in his July 13th column when he wrote about "some serious grumbling about Opposition leader Carole James". It is important to note that no elected New Democrat has publicly criticized James, as has no serious NDP supporter. New Democrats approach leadership races like gladiators going at each other with meat axes at a distance of two feet. Members of the party know that and are not about to initiate a leadership race when they have twice the support of the BC Liberals. Anyone foolish enough to challenge James in the midst of the Campbell government destroying itself wouldn't stand a chance to replace her; the first out that gate is guaranteed to finish dead-last.