Schwarzenegger, aides say, calculated that Democrats wouldn't negotiate seriously without facing a deadline, such as the latest: most banks refusing to accept IOUs. Negotiating piecemeal would get nowhere, the governor believed.
Schwarzenegger rankled Democrats by producing a packet of "reform" demands just before the IOU deadline. Most made sense, but they entered the game late.
"Moving the goal posts," Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) called it.
She also theorized that the governor was going down his "legacy list" -- striving for achievements he can point to after leaving office in 18 months. That's fine, Bass says, but more thought and deliberation are needed. "You shouldn't use the budget process to jam through public policy."
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) says Schwarzenegger returned to "the Terminator zone" after the May election and resumed bashing legislators, making negotiations more difficult.
Typical rhetoric: "I don't want to kick that can down the alley anymore. I've given them enough chances and now I say, let's fix the problem. . . . It's easy for the politicians to keep promising things, but they can't deliver. They live way, way beyond their means."
You'd think this guy hadn't been the head coach and superstar for all these years.
Both sides should have called the game long ago. There'll be no winners -- just bigger losers the longer it lasts.