A political solution for Schwarzenegger, then, could be to agree to the licenses, but only as part of a package that includes stiffer penalties for unlicensed driving. Immigration proponents would, theoretically, be pleased to finally get licenses for illegal immigrants, while restrictionists could be satisfied that more lawbreakers might be deported. It may be wishful thinking to imagine that all sides would agree to this, as they’re generally determined not to agree on anything, but it seems like a workable answer. And with New York blowing a hole in his old strategy, Schwarzenegger will need to come up with some way to handle this explosive issue. … about Barbara Boxer? California Sen. Barbara Boxer has never been very popular and has always seemed ripe for political defeat – if only the California GOP could produce a credible opponent. Fortunately for her, it never has. Enter Schwarzenegger. The governor, who is termed out of office, could do to Boxer what he did to Gray Davis back in 2003. At least that’s the upshot of a new Field Poll, which shows him besting Boxer by 1 point among registered voters. And that’s without a campaign, during which Schwarzenegger could be his charming self, while his aides would have a field day highlighting Boxer’s goofier comments from over the years. Should Schwarzenegger decide to run, it would likely be hasta la vista, Barbara. But that’s the big question – would he run? Schwarzenegger likes to be the executive, the man in charge – which he certainly would not be were he to join Congress’ cast of hundreds. Plus, the move to Washington seems unbearable for this committed Californian. Still, the Schwarzenshriver family has deep roots in D.C. Arnold could spend countless hours hanging (and probably voting) with Uncle Ted. He would also become the town’s biggest celebrity, outshining even the likes of Hillary, Obama or McCain. Not a bad gig for a guy who likes the limelight. … and in the presidential campaign? Hollywood star, former senator and would-be president Fred Thompson campaigned in California on Tuesday, where he proudly announced the endorsement of the state’s most important Republican. No, not Arnold. State Sen. Tom McClintock of Thousand Oaks. Schwarzenegger might have the celebrity, the top job, and the better overall approval ratings, but when it comes to the party faithful who will be casting votes in the February primary, McClintock carries much more influence. Unlike Arnold, he’s seen as a solid conservative, one whose values and priorities are more in line with the average California Republican. Tellingly, Thompson claims he didn’t even seek Schwarzenegger’s endorsement, but he did lobby to win over McClintock – Schwarzenegger’s toughest critic, left or right. Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger has yet to endorse anyone, although John McCain, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani have all reportedly sought his support. Giuliani would be a natural choice, being a fellow hands-on, flamboyant executive with liberal leanings. But it’s not certain that Schwarzenegger’s support would actually help him. Although still in first place nationally and statewide, the former New York mayor has seen his numbers shrink over the last few months. The more Republicans get to know Giuliani, it seems, the less they like him. Among GOP loyalists, the endorsement of a less than reliably conservative politician like Schwarzenegger could possibly do more harm than good. That’s how Thompson seems to see it, anyway. As for Arnold, he might just decide the best way to help his fellow Republicans in 2008 is to hold his endorsement until after the primaries. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! … about licenses for illegal immigrants? When he took office in 2003, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger promptly struck down a short-lived law allowing illegal immigrants to obtain California driver’s licenses. Ever since, he’s been deliberately coy on the issue. Trying to appease restrictionists among the GOP base while not alienating Latino voters, Schwarzenegger has refused to oppose the licenses in principle. Instead, he’s clung to a technicality, saying he’s not against licensing illegal immigrants per se, it’s just that Washington has yet to establish standards for doing so under the Real ID Act. But that excuse appears to have run its course. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre In New York, which is moving ahead with controversial plans to start issuing licenses to illegal immigrants, the state has struck a deal with the feds to make the documents Real ID-compliant. And if New York can do it, so can California. Which means that, sooner or later, Arnold is going to have to take a stand on the issue – something he has tried desperately to avoid doing so far. But there may be a way out of this. Under the terms of the New York deal, illegal immigrants would get a different sort of license, one that couldn’t be used for federal ID – and thus, couldn’t be used to board an airplane. Some immigration advocates worry that, as a result, illegal immigrants won’t bother to get the license. After all, to do so would be to officially tag oneself as being here illegally. They might change their minds, though, if the state significantly increased punishment for driving without a license. If jail time, steep fees, car seizure and/or deportation were the consequences of unlicensed driving, many illegal immigrants would likely accept the limited license as the lesser of two evils.