Opinion: Arnold and Obama celebrate new standards


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Hey Arnold, your referendum on saving California’s financial future is going to be decided today, so where will you be for the last-minute voter push?

In Washington, D.C., accepting kudos from the Obama administration and the world for the first standards that force sharp reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions and improvements in auto mileage.


Both steps are a vindication of California’s battle to move the rest of the country to serious environmental and energy-saving standards. They also give Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a platform to be highly visible but in a good way -- unlike the expected results of tonight’s series of propositions.

It is fitting that the governor and the new president will be together again. Both entered office with a burst (dare we say it?) of vigor and promises to upend the existing political cart. Arnold argued that business as usual must end in Sacramento, and Obama has made similar derogatory remarks about how Washington gets things done or, more often, undone.

Much to Arnold’s consternation, his efforts with the Legislature to solve the state’s ongoing economic woes are similar to a horse designed by committee, and voters are expected to turn down the package today, according to polls.

Obama has been faring much better, but he has solid congressional majorities and is just at the beginning of his tenure. That is different from Arnold, who faces the question of whether to resume his movie career or (with one eye on the recent appointment of a Republican governor to an ambassadorship) to moving onto another political stage.

In any case, today’s new rules for cars and trucks would establish a single nationwide standard that would require a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide and other emissions from vehicles sold in the United States by 2016. The new limits are projected to reduce U.S. oil consumption by about 5% a year.

– Michael Muskal