Richard Nixon, after losing the 1962 gubernatorial race, famously declared, "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore."
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, an admirer of Nixon, is not saying any such thing.
Reading recent gubernatorial transcripts, I came across Schwarzenegger's remarks at a recent budget event in San Francisco, where he was asked what he would do next. The governor answered that even after he leaves office, he will continue to be a vocal advocate for the policies he's pursued in office.
He said: "I will continue with public policy. Even though I will not be Governor anymore I will continue my fight for economic growth here in this state. I will continue my fight to protect education. I will continue my fight to bring tourism over to the United States and for government reform and political reform and all of those things and to protect our environment. I will be fighting for protecting our environment and protecting AB 32 and our Hydrogen Highway and the Million Solar Roof Initiative and the Low-Carbon Fuel Standards and for us to build more electric cars and more hydrogen cars and alternative fuels and all of those kind of things. I think this is extremely important."
That's a strong choice. Many former governors have made a point of staying out of the public fray -- at least for a time -- after they leave office. But that's not Schwarzenegger. The governor has good reason to stay active. His legacy -- particularly on environmental and politcal reform -- remains insecure, in large part because of challenges to it at the ballot box that could continue long after he leaves office. And a water bond that the governor fashioned and championed is scheduled to be on the ballot in 2012.
So save the goodbyes and the reviews of the Schwarzenegger governorship. It may not be over, even after it's over.