Conservatives in California are furious, and the Governor is doing the best he can to do damage control, apparently having called personally dozens of people to talk them off the ledge about his sudden "liberal" turn. But as stories later in the day today and tomorrow will point out, Kennedy voted in favor of four of the six initiatives Schwarzenegger was backing in the special election, Props 74 through 77. She is an openly gay pro-choice activist, but she calls herself a "moderate Democrat." That means only one thing: she's "moderate" on economic issues, which in this state means perpetuating a system that protects the rich and powerful at the expense of the most vulnerable among us: students, seniors and the poor.
So while it is fun to see the right-wing of the GOP go a little haywire -- anti-gay rights activist Randy Thomasson said "This is like George W. Bush appointing Hillary Clinton to be in charge of his administration" -- it seems clear that Kennedy's appointment won't mean anything real for progressives. The best she could do is try to get Schwarzenegger back on his track of being "socially liberal," which will be difficult alfter he vetoed the same-sex marriage bill and campaigned for Proposition 73. But even then, he will still be radically conservative on the central issue underlying all of the other major issues facing California right now -- education, jobs and health care -- and we have already seen where that philosophy takes us.