He has been, in many ways, a governor of firsts:
The first to take office as a result of a recall election.
The first to commute, on an almost daily basis and via private jet, between the Capitol and his Southern California mansion.
The first to have served in the Austrian army, the first to have won the Mr. Olympia body-building title seven times, and - as far as we know - the first California chief executive to have nude photos of himself widely available on the World Wide Web.
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But "first" does not necessarily mean "great," or even "good."
And like almost all elected leaders, the complete legacy of Arnold Schwarzenegger's 86 months as California's 38th governor won't be truly assessable until well after he leaves office.
Some key elements of Schwarzenegger's prize environmental law aimed at reducing greenhouse gas, AB 32, won't go into effect until next year or 2012. Its true impact won't be measurable for years.
A massive $11.1 billion water bond proposal - a key element of an equally massive water system restructuring plan the governor successfully pushed through the Legislature last year - won't go before voters until 2012.
Similarly, an ambitious high-speed rail project for which Schwarzenegger has been semi-enthusiastic isn't likely to begin construction before 2012 at the earliest.
Of course, the lack of closure on some issues won't stop either Schwarzenegger's supporters or foes from labeling his administration a success or failure.
Apostles of the governor point to enactment of the toughest auto emissions law in the country, a $42 billion package of public works programs, changes in the workers' compensation system, creation of a redistricting commission and voter approval of an open primary system as examples of successes under Schwarzenegger's watch.
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