Tale of Two Governors

Not to beat a dead horse. But I will anyway.

On September 13, Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 2208 into law. The law in California now requires insurers doing business in California to treat domestic partners the same as married partners for purposes of coverage on home, health, life, auto, and renters’ policies. The insurance code in California is now in consonance with the rest of state law. (Gray Davis signed AB 205, the most sweeping domestic partner benefit legislation in the country, into law in September 2003, shortly before he was forced out of office; AB 2208 basically makes sure that the insurance code harmonizes with the rest of California statutes affected by AB 205.)

Now, Schwarzenegger signed AB 2208 into law without a ceremony; it’s doubtful most people in California even know the law exists. Nevertheless, contrast that with Jennifer Granholm’s actions this week. Of course, it’s mostly about “political capital.” Schwarzenegger has nothing to lose. Granholm has everything to lose. But beyond “political capital,” there’s such a thing as political risk-taking for the purposes of principle, and Granholm seems allergic to it.