Judgment Day by Marc Ambinder
The Atlantic, October 2010
When Schwarzenegger leaves office in January after seven tumultuous years as governor, it will not be with high marks. "Pretty pathetic," wrote George Skelton, the dean of the Sacramento press corps; "opportunity squandered." Schwarzenegger will be lucky if his approval rating is near 40 percent and the state budget deficit is less than $15 billion. But Schwarzenegger's greatest accomplishments may not yet be apparent: if the political reforms he pushed through take hold, he will have managed not only to restore California's role as a policy innovator, but also to create the kind of political space that can incubate a future cadre of mini-Arnolds.
Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, a former senior editor at The Atlantic, is now a senior editor at Smithsonian magazine.