national opinion

Monday Column
Carol Platt Liebau

[go to Liebau index]

Latest Column:
Stopping the Meltdown
What Beltway Republicans Need To Do

Subscribe to CRO Alerts
Sign up for a weekly notice of CRO content updates.

Jon Fleischman’s
The premier source for
California political news

Michael Ramirez

editorial cartoon

Do your part to do right by our troops.
They did the right thing for you.
Donate Today

CRO Talk Radio
Contributor Sites
Laura Ingraham

Hugh Hewitt
Eric Hogue
Sharon Hughes
Frank Pastore
[Radio Home]
















a running commentary by our trusted contributors...

a CRO weblog | current tally
1,658,302 petitions
Certified 7/23/03

Recall: 31 Days
[go to the Recall Follies]

  • Neumayr: Oui Republican..
  • Steinberg: Di-Fi...
  • Whalen: 70's Cruz...

being Tom McClintock
aCRO weblog


California has a spending problem. As State Senator Tom McClintock likes to point out, population and inflation combined have grown at a rate of 21% the past four years; revenue has grown 25%. Yet California government spending has grown 40%. The result is an unprecedented state budget deficit expected to exceed $35 billion.
- Thomas Krannawitter 5/2/03
McClintock Lays Out His Plans For California
[David Freddoso] @Human Events

Sign Up for McClintock's

The Bear Flag

[conservative CA bloggers]
Aaron's Rantblog
Absinthe & Cookies
Angry Clam

California Republic
Daily Pundit
Howard Owens
Infinite Monkeys
Lex Communis
Master of None
Molly's Musings
Pathetic Earthlings
Shark Blog
Slings and Arrows
SoCal Law Blog
Tone Cluster

8/30/03 [Saturday]

[Hugh Hewitt] 9:40 am
Wither Cruz? The weekend news show will certainly focus on Arnold's Oui magazine interview. But will the hosts give equal time to Cruz Taxalotte's youthful membership in MEChA? In fact, will they cover MEChA at all? The Los Angeles Times buries a story on MEChA's history and current policies on page A26 this morning, but it raises more questions than it answers. Some major news organization will figure out whether a connection to MEChA makes any difference, either then or now, but it won't be the Los Angeles Times.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 6:06am
El Reconquistador: Boomshock [aka Robert Tagorda] says this about The Reconquistador at his blog Priorities & Frivolities [I think it's fair to question, as Hugh Hewitt and Michelle Malkin do, why the media have been tepid in pressing Cruz Bustamante about the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan. I think it's also fair to demand, as Mickey Kaus, Tacitus, and Instapundit do in varying degrees, that Bustamante distance himself from the organization.] And then goes on to wonder if this isn’t a way for Busta Cruz to energize a Latino base. Hmm. Well, maybe, but the guy should be pressured to disavow the group’s principles – after all, if that the voters have a right to know. He was once part of a radical, racist, revolutionary group… Does he still hold those views and does he still support MEChA? Well?

[Nicholas X. Winter] 6:04 am
MEChAista Busta
: Michael Williams at his blog Master of None has this to say about Reconquistador: [Bustamante is running in the wrong election.
Cruz Bustamante is running for governor of Aztlan... Uh, yeah. He only moderately supports turning California over to Mexico. That's like "moderate" Nazis, "moderate" Klansmen, and "moderate" communists. The problem isn't solely that he was a member of the organization in his youth, 30 years ago, but that he still refuses to renounce its racist, treasonous agenda even now. "Liberating Aztlan" from America is just as treasonous a goal as was held by the South before the Civil War. Is it possible that California could elect a governor who wants to secede from the Union.]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 6:02 am
Busta Cruz: Fellow Bear Flag Leaguer Aaron’s RantBlog compiles a handful of articles on the Cruz “Reconquistador” Bustamante, MEChAista for life... And includes some handy maps of Aztlan.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 6:01 am
Eyeing Cruz
: Eye On Cruz, a website "Keeping an eye on candidate Bustamante," launched mid-week and has a wealth of articles about the wannabe Governor's past... More than anything, what we want to know is how much of The Reconquistador's past is in his present?

8/29/03 [Friday]

[Doug Gamble] 6:55 am
Gov 101: Whether or not the recall of Gov. Gray Davis passes and regardless of who becomes governor if it does, the process has served to educate more Californians about state politics than ever before in recent history. | Thanks to the recall being front and center in the media spotlight, Californians who previously thought the words "State Capitol" referred to a movie theater now know a lot more about the myriad state issues that had previously failed to capture their attention. Much of the blame for Californians' disinterest in the politics of this state rests with the news media, especially television. Outside of Sacramento TV stations themselves, no stations in California have a fulltime correspondent covering the Capitol, which is a disgrace. | And it is the media's overall poor coverage of state politics that is a major factor in candidates for statewide office conducting their campaigns by TV commercials at the expense of grassroots appearances. Why travel the state making speeches when coverage of them, if there is any at all, is so puny? | True, a lot of the current coverage is due not so much to the uniqueness of the recall as the star power of Arnold Schwarzenegger. | But because of it, Californians who previously barely knew what longtime politicians such as Gray Davis, Cruz Bustamante and Tom McClintock looked like, are now actually starting to learn what they're about and where they want to take the state. The legacy of this recall may not only be a new governor but a new interest in the personalities and policies that touch the lives of all Californians.

[Carol Platt Liebau] 6:54 am
PG-13 Coverage: It's hard to keep from giggling about the excessive coverage of Arnold Schwarzenegger's embarassing comments in a 1979 Oui magazine article discussing, as the Washington Post delicately put it, his "titillating hijinks." Even so, it was fun to have the opportunity to comment on this uplifting topic on CNN yesterday afternoon. So now, we've had a discussion of Arnold's sex life and Cybill Shepherd's breathless disclosures about "making out" with Gray Davis on a Hawaii beach at age 16. It seems delightfully quaint in the post-Lewinsky era, that anyone would even be interested in discussing long-past dalliances, doesn't it? Had there been a longer CNN segment (and I had been on my toes), it would have been great to bring up the fact that it certainly seems that it's not Arnold, but the major media, who are refusing to discuss the real issues, and then to have drawn the parallel that Hugh Hewitt discussed at length yesterday on his radio show about Cruz Bustamante's youthful misjudgments -- not with women, but with a radical group that's the Latino equivalent of the Aryan Nation (and which he refuses to disclaim, even now). But all will be well so long as no one starts covering Cruz on the "sexual hijinks" beat. Please -- we're begging now -- we just don't need to know . . . talk about the stuff of which nightmares are made!

[Nicholas X. Winter] 6:01 am
Bustin' Cruz: Contributor Stefan Sharkansky posted this on his blog yesterday: [Cruz Bustamante, MEChista -The multi-culti-friendly mainstream media continues to let Cruz Bustamante cruise on by without serious challenge over his youthful membership in, and ongoing support for, MEChA. MEChA is a Chicano student organization that preaches Nazi-style racial superiority and promotes violent revolution. The more reliable media such as Michelle Malkin, Fox News and the Blogosphere continue to hammer on Bustamante's MEChA connection, which should be taken as seriously as, say, Trent Lott's affiliation with segregationists.] And he’s right. Where is the Pulitzer Prize winning L.A. Times' big exposé? And what about Cruz, himself? He thinks he can get a pass on this, because the media won’t bust him. He won’t renounce MEChA because he’d be a turncoat to his core beliefs. -- Hey, what a minute... On second thought, what core beliefs?... He’s a cloying, grasping, power-hungry politician who’ll do anything to get elected. Of course, with just a little pressure he’ll renounce MEChA as a youthful indiscretion and denounce their principles. What was I thinking? It just takes one major newspaper to put on the pressure... And it takes the blogosphere to push the media. You have your orders... Synchronize watches...

8/28/03 [Thursday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:50 am
Simple Incompetence:
The bottom line on Lord “Bengal” Gray... from Hewitt’s blog today... “While some who will vote to remove Gray Davis will do so because of social issues, the vast majority of those giving him the boot will be doing so because of his utter ineptness in managing the state's finances and his corrupt handling of the Sacramento power brokers.”  That about covers it...

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:13 am
Ugh...the 9th... From Daniel Weintraub's Weblog: [Seeking a stay of execution The legal challenges are not over yet. The ACLU has appealed the federal court decision allowing the election to go forward on Oct. 7. Now it's in the hands of the 9th Circuit, which is famous for its creative decision making.]

8/27/03 [Wednesday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:01 am
Hewitt Hazing: Yesterday Boomshock (aka Robert Tagorda) emailed us with an alert that the SF Chronicle had willfully mischaracterized Arnold Schwarzenegger's statements from a radio interview with CRO contributor Hugh Hewitt. He dissects the Chronicle piece in this posting at his blog, Priorities & Frivolities. | Mr. Boomshock lays them bare. | On the same matter, Hewitt had this to say: "San Francisco Chronicle reporters Carla Marinucci and John Wildermuth totally distorted my interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday by beginning their report this way: 'GOP gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger told a conservative talk radio host Monday that he would be "going to Sacramento as an independent,” a statement certain to enrage Republican loyalists who have been reluctant to endorse a moderate.'... | Hewitt goes on to write a more accurate lead paragraph for them: “Gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger embraced Ronald Reagan and pledged to campaign for the re-election of George W. Bush on the Hugh Hewitt Show yesterday. Arnold Schwarzenegger opened his conversation with Hugh Hewitt, a nationally syndicated talk radio host, whose program is based in Los Angeles and is heard there and in San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and other California markets, that he would repeal the car tax by executive order if it is possible to do so and that Californians are overtaxed across the board.” | And Hewitt gave this parting shot “...the Chronicle reporters, like many other political reporters in this state, are practicing the sort of agenda journalism that allowed Gray Davis to hoodwink voters last fall and which is Cruz Bustamante’s only hope of winning on October 7.”

8/26/03 [Tuesday]

[Doug Gamble] 5:55 am
Second Thoughts: The latest L.A. Times poll showing support for the recall of Governor Gray Davis at only 50% should be viewed as the "but seriously, folks" poll. It's as if many California Democrats are saying, "Look, its been fun playing around with the idea of dumping Davis and we've had some laughs from the circus-like atmosphere of the recall, but seriously, folks, what are we really going to do when the chips are down on October 7?" | It shouldn't come as a surprise that Democrats who flirted with the idea of abandoning the governor may eventually come home and rally around him now that their anger and frustration at his ineptness is apparently starting to wear off. It's a little like a guy who comes close to leaving his wife for another woman but then thinks better of it. | The Times poll gave Davis something he has not had in this amazingly fluid recall effort up until now: hope. With more registered Democrats than Republicans in California, and with some Democrats apparently now deciding the governor is preferable to a moderate Republican or maybe even Bustamante, the recall that had been looking like a slam-dunk may turn out to be a nail-biter. The arithmetic appears to be moving Davis' way, and he hasn't even started his ad campaign yet.

[Carol Platt Liebau] 5:54 am
Arnold Speaks: Hugh Hewitt scored a huge coup yesterday when Arnold Schwarzenegger chose his nationally syndicated radio show as the forum for his first nationwide radio interview. It seemed that Arnold was sticking pretty close to his usual talking points, and he certainly said nothing that could have upset any fiscal conservative. He affirmed his commitment to lower taxes and repeated that he attributes the state's financial problems not to undertaxing, but to overspending. In the days to come, Arnold is going to need to be willing to spend more time and submit to more detailed questions -- of which Hugh, a highly skilled lawyer, doubtless had many -- but insufficient time to ask them, thanks to Arnold's compressed schedule. And Arnold is going to need some fresh material, especially for talk radio audiences. They are very sophisticated politically, and the sound bites that work for the evening news don't play for maximum advantage on a show like Hugh Hewitt's.

[Shawn Steel] 5:50 am
Snip: FYI - from a recent interview I gave to the Boston Globe: "I don't think it's a circus," said Shawn Steel, former chairman of the state Republican Party, who helped launch the recall. "What we have here is a populist, middle class rebellion that's a lot of fun. The circus is an East Coast elitist liberal media invention to demean a serious political revolt that's succeeding and, the good news is, spreading. It's everywhere, in every coffee shop. This is the way democracy ought to be, and it's driving the power elites in both parties mad."

8/25/03 [Monday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 6:55 am
Busy Girl: CRO senior columnist Carol Liebau had a busy week - last weekend as a guest commentator on Fox News, then on MSNBC in the middle of the week, an Op-Ed in the Orange Country Register and then today’s column at CRO... All that to say that the staff is mighty proud...

8/23/03 [Saturday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 9:55 am
Perenchio: Yikes! Lord Gray has got to be all shook up. A big donor deserts the Acting Governor! Gray is all about donors, this has got to be a real club to the head. In the Bee: ["Psychologically, this is a sign that Schwarzenegger is invading the governor's turf," said Jack Pitney, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. Perenchio "likes to play the side he thinks is going to win."]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 9:01 am
Attaboy: Well, Simon’s out. A very wise decision. It would be my hope that he would throw his full energy into the recall message and make the case why our state needs a house cleaning. He could take the high ground and set himself up for something else down the road. It’s a good platform to use to change his visibility... Conservatives still need him on message and vocal.

[Stefan Sharkansky] 5:30am - Sharkansky's blog
ChronGrinder: Ruth Rosen continues to bolster her losing arguments by having conversations with dead people. In Thursday's column, Ruth Rosen reports on her seance with California Governor Hiram Johnson, the Republican who introduced the popular referendum and the recall election back in 1911. Ruth Rosen says that Hiram Johnson told her he would oppose the recall of Gray Davis: | "Although Hiram Johnson would have condemned Davis, he would have insisted on a populist recall -- not one purchased by independently wealthy Republicans conservatives intent on hijacking an election they previously had failed to win." | Sorry Ruthie, but the recall really is populist. The latest Field Poll shows that 58% of likely voters would vote to recall Davis, including 59% of non-partisan voters and 58% of those who describe themselves as neither Conservative nor Liberal, but "Middle-of-the-Road". | Next week, we can expect Ruth Rosen to have a chat with Samuel Gompers, who will tell us that his famous quote "We want more schoolhouses and less jails" means that he would support a governor who increases the prison budget while cutting education spending.

8/22/03 [Friday]

[Doug Gamble] 6:50 am
Grayer Days:
With Gray (Dead Governor Walking) Davis obviously headed for a humiliating defeat in the October 7 recall, it's a little easier to be charitable toward him. As I watch the governor self-destruct before our very eyes I have to admit to the temptation to feel a little sorry for the guy, not as a politician but as a human being. | I never imagined I'd see anyone who would make Richard Nixon look suave, but Davis has managed to do it. From the bizarre body language during his UCLA speech and virtual coaxing of applause from his audience, to his joint appearance with Senator Diane Feinstein where he looked like a little kid summoned to the principal's office, Davis has become painful to watch. As the old joke goes, if this were a fight it would be stopped. | What is remarkable is that Davis has up until now been so successful in a people business while seemingly possessing few if any people skills. One reason might be that Californians are only now getting a real look at him, as California politics unfolds in a spotlight brighter today than at any time during his years in public life. Had one of his speeches been televised statewide during his first run for office, as was the UCLA address, he would have been booted into the private sector years ago. | Davis has taken on the appearance of the geeky kid at school who everyone ridicules and picks on. It might be fun for awhile, but later on you start to wince as the punishment continues. But what prevents a full measure of sympathy for Davis, even on a human level, is that he continues to lie about his opponents and refuses to own up to his mistakes. Since his "leadership" has embarrassed California, it is probably fitting that he is now embarrassing himself. Still, I'll be glad when it's over and he can be pitiful in private. | Davis said he was going to fight like a Bengal tiger. The difference between the two is that one is an endangered species and the other is a beautiful, striped animal.

[Carol Platt Liebau] 6:15 am
Desperate Times: The scent of desperation is never attractive, and Gray Davis now reeks of it. Trying hamhandedly to act on advice that has clearly come from President Clinton (blame a vast right-wing conspiracy, show yourself "acting" like governor, humanize yourself), Davis has been running hither and yon trying desperately to make himself relevant again. The problem is: it's too little, too late. If he hadn't shown such callous disregard for the welfare of every Californian by the way he has conducted himself in office, it would be heartrending to hear Davis' piteous promises of forthcoming "bold" plans to fix the state. Then again, it's hard to muster any sympathy for a man who is willing to part with all his dignity just to remain in office. I truly, truly don't need to know whom the governor has (or has not) kissed over the years (as of today, we know the list numbers two: Cybill Shepherd and his wife, Sharon). As my eighth-grade girlfriends used to say, -- "Ewww -- T.M.I."! It's just too much information -- and does he really think this stuff can enhance his electability?

8/21/03 [Thursday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 7:15 am
Large and in charge:
In what can only be described as a bravura performance, Arnold Schwarzenegger breathed new life and excitement into his candidacy yesterday. He answered questions, he joked, he was charming -- and he did the two things he needed to do: he made it abundantly clear that he is on top and in charge of his own campaign, and he reassured Republicans who were getting a little queasy about him by articulating his opposition to the burdensome taxation that afflicts California today. Many news programs ran a clip of Gray Davis right after the one of Arnold -- and nothing could be more to the (current) governor's detriment. Next to Arnold's decisiveness and robust good cheer, Davis seemed even "Gray-er" and more pinched and grasping than ever. And to those who keep wanting "details" about Arnold's plan . . . well, we're still waiting for any sort of plan from Davis, even though -- as he keeps reminding us -- he's not running for governor . . . he's the governor right now. | As for Cruz Bustamante's plan for raising $8 billion worth of taxes from the wealthy and corporations (along with increased "sin" taxes), haven't we already been there with Governor Gray? Recall the adage: "The definition of insanity is: 'Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result'". To the extent that's true, let's get Cruz a strait-jacket of his very own.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:13 am
Gray Day: In Streetsweeper's Opinion Bin is a link to a column by Fred Barnes in the Weekly Standard who nicely sums up Gray Davis' UCLA speech in a sentence: "Conspiracy theories are the last refuge of losers."

[Streetsweeper] 7:09 am
Arnold Tide
: The professional scribe class is turning to the Big Guy. This from Daniel Weintraub's Weblog [The columnists weigh in Here is my column from today's Bee on Arnold's Wednesday press conference. My take: he was poised, prepared, in command but vague on key points. And I still have a gut feeling he has the voters in this race pegged. | Meanwhile, down south, a sea-change is occuring at the LA Times, where the two main California columnists, George Skelton and Steve Lopez, have been mocking the recall and, to some extent, defending Gray. No longer. Today both columnists are gushing about Arnold's performance, with Skelton comparing him to Reagan (while dumping on Gray) and Lopez giving him high marks for good theater if not for his grasp of the details.]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:01 am
No, Tom - Yes, Tom: On the CRO Op-Ed Page we carry an opinion piece from Hugh Hewitt that continues his drumbeat for Arnold... morever, it's his drumbeat for winning...and on the same page a piece by Joe Armendariz making the case for sticking to principles. It all makes me sigh in indecision...

8/20/03 [Wednesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 6:55 am
Gray Reality: Watching Gray Davis' arms flail about as he prepared to make his first major speech addressing the recall was reminiscent of nothing so much as the desperate floundering of a fish on ice behind the counter of a grocery store. This was, perhaps, his last chance to garner some sympathy and make a case for himself, and he totally blew it. It's impossible to say whether Davis is truly in denial -- or whether he just has a story and he's stickin' with it -- but it's amazing at this late date that he still interprets the recall (supported by 58% of the state's electorate) as nothing more than a vast, right-wing conspiracy. Gosh, if California Republicans were effective enough to be able single-handedly to pull off a stunt like this, then they certainly could have kept Davis from being reelected last year! And one more thing -- Davis keeps calling the recall "undemocratic", and linking it to other political controversies across the country, like the Florida mess after the election of 2000. Heaven knows I am no fan of the recall in general, but it's not undemocratic -- if anything, it's more directly democratic than any system the Founding Fathers envisioned. And Davis can keep on accusing Republicans of trying to steal elections -- but it's Democrats in Florida, Texas and now California who have continually tried to bypass the electoral realm to work their will. Whether they're resorting to the courts in Florida and California to thwart the expressed will of the people (for George W. Bush's election and this recall election, respectively) or whether they're just fleeing the state, as in Texas, it's the Democrats -- not the Republicans -- who consistently express contempt for the decisions of the voters that have been made in accordance with pre-existing law.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 6:03 am
About Scheer: Stefan Sharkansky's "Scheering" - posted in the CRO Op-Ed today - garnered very interesting comments at Stefan's blog about Robert Scheer's "tax me more" socialist rant - especially since Scheer has apparently employed ways to avoid paying taxes himself. I especially liked Bill Quick's comment [The oft-pushed meme that we need higher property taxes to "pay for education" is something liberals and the left push, but it's a lie. What we're really paying for is hugely bloated public sector union contracts, idiotic power contracts, and further billions thrown away on useless fiascos like bilingual education, aid to illegal immigrants, and an enormous bureaucracy. And those same liberals and leftists want more of our money so they can throw even more of it down these various ratholes.]

[Streetsweeper] 6:01 am
I'm Not Sorry:
Lord "Bengal" Gray is in a fightin' mood. From Daniel Weintraub's Weblog [Davis delivers his they-a culpa I attended Gray's speech at UCLA tonight and will be staying over to hear Arnold on Wednesday...The governor spoke before about 300 supporters, including a large number of union members, even some public employees wearing shirts demanding raises. Press reports in advance of the speech suggested that it would be a mea culpa, but it was more of a they-a culpa. He blamed the feds for the energy crisis and he blamed the economy for the budget crisis. The recall, he said, is not an expression of popular will but a right-wing coup with parallels to the Clinton impeachment. His speech will probably succeed in rallying the Democratic base to his side. But I didn't hear much that would convince independents or Republicans to support him. I'll have more in a special bonus column in the Bee on Wednesday.]

8/19/03 [Tuesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 6:51 am
Total Recall II: Implications of the surprising new Field Poll Only a week after entering the governor's race, Arnold Schwarzenegger seemed to be slipping in his quest to reach the California governor's office, a new Field Poll released over the weekend seemed to suggest. According to the poll, Democratic Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante had the support of 25% of those polled, with Arnold trailing at 22% (although the difference was within the margin of error). This was surprising, because other reliable polls -- like Time/CNN -- had showed a lead of 10% for Arnold. | Before "Total Recall" turns to "total panic" among Republicans, however, a little careful analysis is in order. First, the Field Poll has consistently underreported support for Republican candidates in the past. Second, its sample -- of around 440 -- is quite small, and it's not clear how the questions of the poll were worded, which can also have important consequences in gathering the results. | Nonetheless, this poll has important implications for the recall election. First, it may persuade Democrats that their best chance of remaining in power is to consolidate support behind Bustamante -- reasoning that it's easier to help Bustamante obtain a 42% plurality (probably the threshold for victory) than it is to persuade 51% of voters to retain Davis (right now, according to the poll, 58% of the public favors recalling him). In short, the Field poll may have been the last nail in the coffin of Gray Davis' political career. | Even so, Davis won't go easily. Expect to see some nasty attacks on Cruz Bustamante coming from the Davis people -- long known for their penchant for ugly campaigning. And this intra-party warfare can only help the Republicans. | But the Republicans should be drawing their own lessons from the Field poll -- most significantly, that they must ultimately settle on ONE candidate if they hope to win. According to the Field poll, 48% of Democrats support Bustamante, but only 36% of Republicans support Schwarzenegger. Another 36% of Republicans combined support the conservatives in the race -- Tom McClintock and Bill Simon. If all that Republican support could be thrown to one candidate, it seems clear that Republicans would have a clear shot at victory. | That's not to say that McClintock and Simon should step out of the race immediately, however -- at least so long as they refrain from attacking Schwarzenegger and each other. In fact, the presence of three Republicans in the race forces the Democrats to scatter their fire, rather than concentrating on one candidate. In a couple weeks, though, if it becomes clear that neither McClintock nor Simon will overcome Arnold's lead, it will be time for them to think of dropping out for the good of the party.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 6:01 am
ACLU - 0: Hmm. The Justice Department said they don't see any civil rights issues with the upcoming recall... Gee, it's tough being the ACLU these days.

[Streetsweeper] 6:00 am
I'm Sorry:
Lord Gray is gonna tell us he'll do better if we let him stay. From Daniel Weintraub's Weblog [Davis to make plea to voters Davis plans his mea culpa (sort of) speech this afternoon at UCLA, in which he will acknowledge some failings but make the case that the recall is part of a pattern of Republican refusal to accept the results of regular elections, The L.A. Times reports. The address will seek to link the recall to the attempt to impeach Clinton and the recent move by Texas Republicans to redraw district boundaries in mid-decade. The speech comes at a time when longtime Davis supporters are starting to hedge their bets by also backing Bustamante in the race to replace the governor should he be recalled.]

8/18/03 [Monday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 6:51 am
Big Guns:
One of the great things about being Arnold is that you can attract big names for your campaign team. One of the downsides of having big names on the team, however, is that all of your superstars are used to playing a lead -- rather than a supporting -- role. It's no secret that Warren Buffett's a liberal, but he's a smart man. And if he cares about seeing Arnold elected, he's probably learned his lesson and will withhold his opinions until he's sure that they're compatible with those that Arnold intends to propound. And there would be something worse for Arnold than having Warren Buffett come out against Prop. 13 -- an endorsement from "Uncle Teddy."

[Hugh Hewitt] 6:38 am - Hewitt's blog
Out the Gates: The great news is that if Bustamante and Davis are shooting at each other, as the Los Angeles Times reports, then we can expect the Davis lead pipe people to start leaking more nasty stuff on Cruz to the media.  The digging on Cruz has already begun, as today's posting from Tacitus shows.  John Hawkins at RightWingNews argues that Cruz should be asked to renounce his past affiliation with M.E.Ch.A., but it is hard to imagine any journalist allowed to get close to Cruz posing such a question.  Cruz didn't get any tough questions yesterday from Brian Williams on Meet the Press on the car tax or Cruz's strained relations with the black community or any other of a hundred different subjects, so don't expect other mainstream journalists to probe for his opinion on any controversial subject.  Journalists have quickly formed a take-Arnold-down-a-notch club, so the game is on to turn every day into a ding-up-Arnold day.  Drudge gets today's competition off to a start with a very thin story on Arnold's refusal to rule out new taxes.  The anti-Arnold forces will use this to generate another round of non-news, and the electorate will stay unmoved.  But I still think an event with his conservative supporters (see below) would be a good move.  It is hard to paint, say, Chris Cox --a fierce defender of a tax-free internet-- as eager to start hiking the rates anywhere.  Similarly, California Assemblyman John Campbell is a fierce critic of the GrayCruz Davismonte approach to spending every dime the state can borrow and to the illegally-hiked car tax.  If AS comes out swinging on the car tax, all the background noise on Buffett goes away. I think Arnold's lead is so great as to be untouchable even by weeks of one-sided agenda journalism, but putting the Dems on notice that change is coming soon might help keep them under the microscope as the state legislature rushes to pass every item on the left's wish list before October 7 changes everything.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 6:01 am
Eating Their Young: Gee, just when you were wondering how ugly things might get in our fun-filled recall, we learn that Lord Gray's troops are cutting off the legs of Gray Jr. In the Bee ["If some of the governor's minions would stop trying to undercut my efforts, I think we could have a very coalesced opportunity for Democrats," Bustamante, the only established Democrat on the recall replacement ballot, said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I think if he worked with me a little bit more, I think we could make sure that we had a good strategy for the people of California and to make sure that the Democratic Party kept hold of this position." | Later in the day, Bustamante's chief consultant charged that Davis aides are calling Indian tribal leaders and others to urge them not to support Bustamante. | "They're contacting potential supporters and contributors and telling them don't give (money) and don't support Bustamante's effort," said Richie Ross, Bustamante's consultant. | "They're trying to shut it down. We think that is selfish and irresponsible," he said. "They want it to be all or nothing, them or no one."]

8/16/03 [Saturday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:50 am
Uh, Nevermind:
The Border Patrol is back on the case after being ordered to stick to the Border. In the SD Union Tribune [A controversial order that largely barred 1,600 San Diego-based Border Patrol agents from stopping suspected illegal immigrants on city streets was rescinded yesterday by officials in Washington, D.C. | The directive, issued in an Aug. 8 memo from San Diego sector chief William T. Veal, had provoked widespread fury among the agents and touched off a public outcry after the memo was leaked to the media earlier this week. | Yesterday's announcement was made from the office of Robert Bonner, commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. | A review of the memo "determined that it was an overly broad and restrictive statement of Border Patrol policy in the San Diego sector," bureau spokeswoman Gloria Chavez said. "Commissioner Bonner has directed that the memorandum of Aug. 8 be rescinded."]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:05 am
Buffet-oonery: Well, Arnold's economics advisor doesn't really get California. It's simple. Stay away from Prop 13. And a note to Arnold: stay away from liberals. The people are looking for common sense, not a Hollywood-version of Gray Davis. If we want dumb ideas, we can just vote for Cruz.

[found in the ebag - from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association] 7:04 am
Dear Mr. Buffet: Statement by Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, in response to Warren Buffett's suggestion in yesterday's Wall Street Journal that California property taxes are too low: "The comments by Mr. Buffett are a slap at Proposition 13 and the almost 70% of the voters in California who approved the tax-cutting measure. Proposition 13 has protected homeownership for working California families for 25 years. The world's second richest man is wholly detached from the reality of the average California family that must struggle to meet a budget."

8/15/03 [Friday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 9:51 am
Team Arnold:
So far, Arnold has shown everyone that he can attract prestigious advisors -- Warren Buffett, George Shultz, and for an entirely different crowd, even Rob Lowe (at least according to today's LA Times). But nowhere is there a name that really gives confidence to the conservative wing of the party, once again raising the suspicion among some in conservative circles that Arnold may be trying to craft an "inclusive" image that "includes" everyone but them. It's great that Arnold can put together a bipartisan "A" team, but if he's wise, he'll make sure it includes people from across the spectrum of his own Republican Party.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 8:05 am
Buffetting: From Daniel Weintraub's Weblog [Arnold and Proposition 13 Schwarzenegger adviser Warren Buffett, in an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, criticizes Proposition 13’s limit on property taxes, saying it makes “little sense.” This is likely to set off a firestorm in California’s conservative circles, where Proposition 13 is considered an untouchable foundation of state tax law. My thoughts: Nothing in government should be sacred. It is possible that after 25 years, some aspects of the state’s property tax system might be ready for change. A good argument can be made, for instance, that the lack of reassessment of business property has become a disincentive for the owners to improve or sell, leaving valuable property that is ripe for economic development in the hands of owners who are not putting the land to its highest and best use. This is a case of tax law distorting the normal operation of the market. Having said that, the core of Proposition 13, its protection against homeowners being driven from their houses by ever-rising assessments and taxes, has been and continues to be a valuable social reform. It is also the piece with which most voters identify. I think it’s great that Schwarzenegger is willing to listen to anybody’s ideas about reforms for California, and Buffett has certainly proven himself to be an intelligent observer, and participant, in economics and business. But Arnold is going to have to do something soon to demonstrate that while he listens to everyone, he comes to his own conclusions and he has ideas of his own.]

[Hugh Hewitt] 6:38 am - Hewitt's blog
Eastly Recall: The New York Times attempts to infuse the California recall with some drama by focusing on the fact that there are more Republicans running than Arnold.  Dean Murphy  gives it a shot, but truth be told, unless AS is felled by some meta-scandal, the race is over, and most California political reporters know this and acknowledge it to each other.  The contest will still be fun, especially the collapse of Gray as the starch goes out of the empty suit, but all the GOP candidates other than AS have as their grand strategy hoping that AS --one of the most disciplined individuals in California-- will make a giant misstep.  At least they have a strategy, though, as the Dems do not.  AS v. Cruz -- yeah, that will be close.

[Streetsweeper] 6:30 am
End Run:
The Progressives are trying to swap taxes for taxes and avoid the 2/3 rule. It’s a scam and it needs to be stopped. Today John Campbell has a column on the CRO Front Page and in Streetsweeper’s Bin there is a link to this Register Op-Ed from Claremont’s Brian Janiskee.

[Streetsweeper] 6:25 am
Gray Who? The voters seem to have put Lord Gray aside... The Bee reports that his poll numbers are in the basement. [Gov. Gray Davis is now less popular in California than Richard Nixon was during Watergate, and nearly six in 10 of those likely to go to the polls Oct. 7 said they'll vote to recall him. A Field Poll released Thursday showed that support for recalling the Democratic governor is growing -- up seven points from just a month ago -- and more than four in 10 voters think he should resign. Davis is so unpopular and beleaguered, the poll found, that almost seven of 10 likely voters believe Davis will be recalled.]

[Shawn Steel] 5:50 am
Dear Ward: The Los Angeles County Lincoln Clubs, Board of Directors monthly meeting, with chapters in West LA, San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena, Downtown, Long Beach , South East, South Bay with my motion have endorsed the Racial Privacy Initiative. - Congratulations.

8/14/03 [Thursday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 7:51 am
The Impending end of the Davis Governorship:
With a verbal flourish, Arnold Schwarzenegger caused a seismic shift in California's political terrain when he announced on "The Tonight Show" that he would enter the race for governor last week. He and his wife had carefully concealed their intentions from everyone -- even the political staff -- which accounts for the absence of leaks. | It was the worst news Gray Davis could have received, and will probably seal his fate as the first governor in California history to be recalled. Arnold's presence in the race makes it impossible for Davis minions to claim that every Republican up for election is a fire-breathing right wing lunatic. And Arnold's optimism, can-do attitude and high--wattage celebrity makes Davis seem more, well, Gray than ever. | The other piece of horrible news -- from Davis' perspective -- is that Lt. Governor Cruz Bustmante entered the race to succeed him. Davis had worked hard to ensure that no well-known Democrat would throw a hat in the ring, but shortly after Arnold announced, it apparently became clear to the Democrats that they'd better be able to offer an alternative both to Davis and to Arnold, and they've settled on Bustamante. | Bustmante is far from a dream candidate for the Dems. Until recently, he was perhaps best known for a spectacular verbal "slip" he made in February 2001, when he was addressing The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists on the history of the black labor movement. Referencing the old National Negro American Labor Council, Bustamante fumbled the word ``Negro'' and used the N-word instead. It will be interesting to see if there are any more gaffes of that nature once Bustamante hits the campaign trail in earnest. | If there is any encouraging news for the Dems, it is that their leaders were successful in keeping Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi also from joining the race to succeed Davis. Now, of course, there is only one major Democratic "alternative" on the ballot. And in a state where there are 2 million more Democrats than Republicans, Bustamante's chances can't be dismissed out of hand. | Prepare for this race to get ugly. The Democrats are already resorting to the "race card" in two contexts in order to spur minority turnout -- and it will only get worse. First, Ward Connerly's Racial Privacy Initiative (which would prevent the state from collecting any racial data on its citizens) will be on the ballot with the recall, and Dems are loudly opposing it as being evilly anti-affirmative action. Second, Arnold supported Proposition 187 (limiting state benefits to illegal immigrants), and Dems will point to that fact to argue that Arnold is racist. | In fact, Dems see eliciting a high Latino turnout as their best chance. By their reasoning, if enough Latinos are still angry about Prop. 187 and oppose Arnold because of it -- and if the Racial Privacy Initiative can be portrayed as another anti-immigrant measure, the Dem playbook calls for Latinos to turn out in high numbers to vote for California's first Latino Governor -- Democrat Cruz Bustamante. | By the time this is over, Johnny Cochran's use of the "race card" at the OJ trial will look like child's play, compared to the racially-polarizing rhetoric that Democratic Party operative Bob Mulholland will employ. It will be interesting to see how far the Democrats are willing to go, in order to hold on to power.

[Hugh Hewitt] 7:48 am - Hewitt's blog
Recall Bill: The story broke yesterday that Gray Davis has been deep in consultation with Bill Clinton.  I pondered this all day yesterday, asking myself what could Gray possibly learn from Bill at this point.  Gray's numbers are below 20% ---and if there was ever the political equivalent of the Mendoza line, that's it.  So Gray is finished.  What in the world can Bill be saying to him? | Then it hit me.  Of course: Exit strategy!  They are talking exit strategy.  Gray's got pardon power, and Gray can take all the "A" keys off the computers in the horseshoe.  Gray can give an endless farewell speech on the day AS shows up to take the oath, and Gray can plan to come back on October 14 and begin to criticize AS.  | My column is on the recall.  Short summary:  Can't the networks find anyone who really knows what is going on out here?  Some Sacramento whispers have AS's internal polls approaching 60%.  The Today Show particularly needs a dose of west coast reality, but an interview with Coleman, Flynt, the porn star or Arianna is an admission that the B-team bookers are handling the show.

[Streetsweeper] 7:46 am
Wither Labor?
Uh... well, Lord Gray is slipping with a core constituency. The Bee reports that Labor is waffling [Miguel Contreras, executive secretary of the 800,000-member Los Angeles federation, said labor officials are awaiting results of their latest polling. "But if the polling comes back and says (Davis) is hopeless, then we have to figure out if our resources would be best spent promoting a candidate," Contreras said.]

[found in the ebag - reader David Sheridan] 7:45 am
RE: "Our Glorious Recall" I appreciated Carol Platt Liebau's defense of the California spirit, and its role in the recall election. I too am proud to be a Californian, and am enriched by our pioneer spirit. The rest of the country fails to realize that, behind the fun, freewheeling image we have, our state is full of intelligent, creative, hard-working people. That creativity and initiative have given rise to Silicon Valley, the entertainment industry, much of the aerospace and defense industries, and everything else needed to support the tenth largest economy in the world. However, as participants in the political process, we have for too long been spectators. We have allowed our state government, our public schools and our judicial system to be hijacked by people without a vision of what is required to maintain the California Dream. | We as citizens need to ask ourselves, "What led us to this crisis?" Arnold Schwarzenegger and the recall may bring more people into the political process, and may force us to pay more attention to the mundane issues and tepid personalities that are the stuff of civic affairs. We would all rather be doing other things, but we must realize that years of apathy when it comes to politics have brought us to this point. Maybe the recall is the first step in a long process of reclaiming the dream for ourselves and our children.

[found in the ebag - reader D Ferguson] 7:42 am
Bob Mulholland: As an independent and against the recall I've seen Mr. Mulholland on two T.V interviews and have come to the conclusion that he and all that he supports is nothing more than hate-based racism. If this is the Democrats' front man no wonder people are laughing at California the way they laughed at the Democratic voters of Florida. He makes Art Torres look like a centrist, and the next time he tells the truth will be the first time, then someone will have had to write it down for him, and then he'd have to practice saying truthful things hoping his body won't go into shock at hearing the truth. | Now my question is why is not the Lt. Gov. automatically moved up into the top spot just as the VP would be for the President? [Streetsweeper replies: D. Ferguson, you're not alone in making this wrong assumption. Mr. Cruz cannot automatically move to the top spot because the recall law provides for an elected replacement. Once the recall was certified the die was cast.]

8/13/03 [Wednesday]

[Hugh Hewitt] 8:45 am - Hewitt's blog
TimesGrinder: On June 21 I blogged about the Los Angeles Times' coverage of the illegal tripling of the car tax hike that Gray Davis ordered. I noted how the Times had pushed this story to the second section and had given it the headline "State Triples the Vehicle License Fee." I also pointed out how the reporter for the story had begun the fifth graph in the story with the wonderful line: "The so-called 'car tax' increase represents the first tax hike enacted by state officials to deal with California's huge shortfall." I had many criticisms of the story and its pro-Gray Davis slant, all of which can be read here. | Flash forward to yesterday morning's Los Angeles Times, where, presto, the vehicle license fee is no longer a fee, it is a tax, and the tax is not only a front section story, it is a front page story --the lead story in fact, with the big headline: "Democrats to Seek Repeal of Car Tax Hike." | So when it was useful to Gray and his Democratic pals, the state's "leading newspaper" buried and slanted coverage of the car tax. Now the Democrats seek quick political mileage from proposing the repeal of the illegal tax hike, and it is front page news.| But the Times is an objective paper, right?

8/12/03 [Tuesday]

[Hugh Hewitt] 8:15 am - Hewitt's blog
Election Like No Other: John Fund was the only pundit not to take the big AS headfake, so he deserves a close read in this morning's Opinion Journal. John dutifully reviews the many pitfalls that await AS in concluding that "in order to survive the relentless attacks that are about to be mounted against him, he will need support from such figures" as Warren Buffett, Milton Friedman, Steve Forbes, Larry Kudlow, Art Laffer, and Steve Moore. | Well, endorsements never hurt, and these are a half-dozen fine names for use in talking to the 3% of the California electorate that recognizes them, plus Moore is good for the best independent expenditures in the business. But this race is so fundamentally different than all other political contests that all pundits have to let go of all previous working assumptions about campaigns. Here's a few reasons why:

1.  It is the only campaign going on right now, and every burp will be endlessly analyzed.  There will be no sneak attacks, no unnoticed push-polling, no head-slaps that go unpunished (as Bob Mullholland found out while eating dirt on Hannity and Colmes last night for his incredibly tasteless suggestion that AS would have to dodge "real bullets.") When the unfair commercial air, they will all get deconstructed in about a half-minute, by every newspaper and television show across the country. When a regular campaign cycle comes around like '02 and '04, editors and producers have to pick and choose between big campaign stories, and nasty tactics sometimes --indeed usually-- go unremarked upon. Not in this cycle. This cripples the Graystopo.
2.  California is a talk radio state. More than any other state, this is the land of long, long commutes and big audience shares. The nationally syndicated hosts like Rush, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and me are all focusing on the recall, and very little moves without instant analysis. Folks like Dan Weintraub and John Campbell don't just appear on my program (Dan's on every day, Campbell every week at least once) they are doing other shows as well. The local hosts are also fixed on the race, and my colleagues Eric Hogue and Mark Larson, for example, are watching their audiences grow and grow because they have the sophistication and the rolodex to cover the race. (Eric Hogue gets a lot of credit for giving the recall effort its original push, pre-Issa.) Thus the audience is getting a constant news flow on the race, and the morning papers, sympathetic to Davis like the Los Angeles Times (could the editors sound more old maid if they tried?) are hopelessly out of the news cycle. It is a new definition of stale.
3.  The Rise of the Blogs: You are reading a blog, and all blogs of note and those of no note at all are chewing the fat over AS and GrayCruz Davismonte.  So the Demos float the idea of repealing the car tax via a soak-the-rich scheme, and instantly the word begins to spread on the transparent con. The lotto on letters comes out, and Weintraub's all over it. Kevin at establishes a special nook for recall-centric blogs, and sees its traffic begin to climb. The blogosphere may not be pro-Arnold, but it is pro-truth, and the smears of which Fund warns will be rapidly exposed in cyberspace, in time, in fact, for the responsible papers to carry the real story the next day.  (Incredibly, no paper has yet figured out that it ought to be carrying a "What the Blogs Said" daily report on recall-centric blogs. I guess in classic dinosaur think they are afraid they'd have to report on what Weintraub thinks which would make them look slow and swamp-bound. So they ignore the fact that they are slow and swamp-bound.)
4.  In the history of American politics, no celebrity as big as AS has run for anything. Look at the covers of the news weeklies. It may be true that he is in fact above all rules --that nothing matters at all, and that his support will build because the idea is so completely new that a California electorate that loves the new, and is being offered Cruz Bustamante as an alternative to the new, will simply scorn everything and anyone that gets in the way of the new. I think this is what is happening, and any scandal short of Edwin Edwards' old line will not undo AS.  (If you have to ask, you can't understand anything I am writing about anyway.)

Still, no matter how unlikely John's concerns are, at least he didn't fall into harumpphhery like George Will. Will seems to think that the AS candidacy is a threat to Reagan's legacy, and obviously upset at the prospect, unleashes this one: "Truly conservative Californians --you few know who you are-- will vote against the recall to protest its plebiscitary cynicism."  Oh yeah, that's right.  Forget the illegally tripled car tax, the hot-check written to paper over the deficit, the crumbling schools, the clogged highways and of course, the transgenedered-at-work protection act and the inane family leave for sick puppies act. Written like a man with a nice bank account and secure work, living in an earthquake free zone where fires never break out and spread uncontrollably, who can afford an extra $600 per car and doesn't mind that the local high school is turning out graduates who need to be retrained before they are employable. True conservatives, in other words, sit on their butts and watch institutions and economies collapse so they can feel good about themselves until it is time to relocate to Florida like Tiger Woods. | Sometimes you should just take a pass, George, if you haven't been living there.

8/11/03 [Monday]

[Hugh Hewitt] 6:39 am - Hewitt's blog
A Crisis in Gray: Peter Beinart in this morning's "When pundits began speculating about 2004, talk naturally turned to Gray Davis, the only Democrat who led a large state.  But just as he might have geared up for a presidential run, an energy crisis and a budget crisis mashed California's governor into political pulp." | What's extraordinary about Peter's characterization is that Gray is cast as a victim, which is like saying a teenager who had a few beers and wrecked dad's car is a victim of American breweries and GM.  Davis is understood by every observer in California --partisan activists of both sides and even California's wildly left-leaning media-- as a hopelessly incompetent lightweight.  Events didn't happen to Gray, he first created the conditions of fiscal chaos and then refused to act as they consumed the budget and then his career.  The same goes for the "energy crisis" which somehow managed to strike only California. | Now comes the Chernenko of California politics, Cruz Bustamante, a completely unqualified approach selected by the union/tribe/trial lawyer triad to replace Governor Clouseau since the people apparently are in the mood for a hanging.  If the media helps put this completely unqualified approach into power by sliming AS, we can look forward to Peter's analysis of When Bad Things Happen to Good Governors, Part 2.

[Hugh Hewitt] 6:38 am - Hewitt's blog
GRAYCRUZ DAVISMONTE:  AS will have to repeat every day all day that Gray and Cruz are one and the same.  The play doesn't change when you substitute the understudy for the lead --if anything, it gets worse. | Second suggestion for AS: Whenever Matt Lauer or some other Demopundit asks a loaded question designed to make your campaign harder, counter over and over again:  "That's an interesting question, Matt, but it isn't the question Californians are asking.  It isn't even in the top three questions.  They want to know where all the money went.  They want to know why Gray and Cruz tripled their car tax.  And they want to know when help arrives.  Everything else is a sideshow, and we have had enough of sideshows for the past five years."  The benefit of this answer, to borrow from Kissinger, is that it has the additional benefit of being true.

8/9/03 [Saturday]

[Hugh Hewitt] 6:30 am - Hewitt's blog
REASONS TO SUPPORT ARNOLD: Rush is reported to be slamming the AS candidacy. I haven't heard him do so, but many conservatives are most definitely doing so, so here are the reasons why center-right Republicans and conservative Republicans should vote for AS:

1. AS can win. The others in the race who would make acceptable governors --Bill Simon, Tom McClintock, and Peter Ueberroth-- cannot marshall enough votes to top the almost certain 25 to 30% that Cruz Bustamante will roll up. Objectivity matters a great deal here, and even if AS hadn't gotten into the race, the presence of more than one "movement" candidate dooms them all. Period. End of story. Arguing this point doesn't change the facts on the ground.
2. AS is best positioned to withstand the Graystopo, as the slime machine Gray has perfected has come to be called. Even if there was only one movement conservative in the race, he would be a target that would be mercilessly mowed down. Complaining about it doesn't stop it from happening.
3. AS does great things for the candidacy of Tony Strickland against Boxer in '04 and of course puts California in play for President Bush. So he's closer to Pataki than to Reagan, so what. A candidate who wins and governs to my satisfaction 65 to 75% of the time is better than a candidate who talks like I talk and loses.
4. Imagine you are Jim DeMint and you need to raise some money. Wouldn't you love to be able to call the Bush people and ask them to get AS on a jet to Charleston for a little $1,000 a head gathering? This is what Bill Clinton does 24/7/365. AS is a hyperdraw, matched only by the President and the Veep. Three such draws is better than two.
5. Finally, the state is in desperate shape. AS is right, businesses and talent are fleeing. Unless the bleeding stops, this economy continues to drag the national economy down, and with them both, the re-elect numbers of the President.

The purists have to get over it and get behind a winning effort.

8/8/03 [Friday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 10:11 am
On Issa: Yesterday, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa decided to drop out of the gubernatorial race and Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamente and Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi decided to get in. It was a marked contrast: once Issa suspected he would never win, he dropped out to narrow the field and decrease the potential divisiveness of the recall for Republicans. The effect of what the two Democrats did was precisely the opposite for THEIR party. Perhaps all the lefties who insisted that Issa was in it only for himself ought to look at what happened yesterday, think about which candidates seem to be caught up in a quest for nothing more than personal power -- and then offer Darrell Issa an apology. Like that would ever happen ...

[Hugh Hewitt] 7:30 am - Hewitt's blog
Large and In Charge: Arnold's campaign can be as different from every other campaign as it wants to be.  Critics who want to know positions on the fine points of workers' comp reform are going to be disappointed, and Arnold will ignore their demands for answers and assurance.  It is a train.  Get on or get left behind.  The Democrats are betting on Cruz?  People are calling for debates?  Sorry, when you make the weather, you decide all of the rules, and Arnold is making the weather. | The Dems only chance is to slime AS, but sliming only works with candidates that are relatively unknown.  A lot of the East Coast talking heads have been asserting that Gray managed to slime Riordan, but what Gray did was to reinforce doubts that a conservative primary electorate already had aboout the former Los Angeles mayor, reminding them why they didn't want to vote for him.  There is no way to reproduce such a campaign in this setting, and attempts to take down a popular, smiling figure will only bring AS sympathy and Davis even more scorn. | There ought to be a ban on east coast opinion purveyors rattling on about California politics.  It is a different world.  Here's my test.  Can you name the Speaker of the Assembly?  Do you know the campaign manager for Cruz and the other statewide office holder he represents?  Whom did Bruce Herchensohn beat in the 1992 Senate primary?  Who did Jerry Brown beat in the 1978 gov race?  California politics is as complicated as most nations', and the canard that you have to be a moderate Republican to win out here without explanation of the Duke's successes (no, not Wayne) or of Feinstein's pummelling of Tom Campbell is a giveaway of an amateur come to play in the sun.

[Streetsweeper] 7:03 am
Panic Time:
Oh, oh... Lord Gray may lose his pen shortly. The Times reports on the scramble to get bills out of the Legislature and on his desk [Among bills being talked about for early action are proposals that would give domestic partners virtually all of the benefits of married couples, and another that would require employer-paid health-care coverage for the working poor. / "There is a new reality," said Sen. Dede Alpert (D-Coronado), chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. / "We'd spent a lot of time in denial about this No one thought the recall would qualify for the ballot," she added. "Gray Davis might not be governor after Oct. 7. We have no clue who might be chosen as governor."]

8/7/03 [Thursday]

[Hugh Hewitt] 7:23 am - Hewitt's blog
New Muscle: Arnold should win the second half of the recall ballot if there is a second half: All eyes now turn to the California Supreme Court, where Gray's challenge is nearing a decision. The Smart Guys --Erwin Chemerinsky and John Eastman-- will appear early on my radio program today to discuss this. | I think Arnold's a winner because he took his front runner status and married it to a huge issue. Arnold denounced the control of special interests over all of Sacramento. The railroad barons had nothing on the public employee unions, the tribes, and the trial lawyers when it comes to owning the California government. When Arnold took aim at this undeniable fact, he won many votes. He also put his finger squarely on the crisis of the day: Businesses and people are fleeing the state. | Arnold is quite simply the Shore Patrol come to restore order to a drunken bunch of sailors otherwise known as state legislators.

[Carol Platt Liebau] 7:21 am
The Ground Moved: California recall politics underwent a seismic shift with Arnold Schwarzennegger's announcement that he's in the race. Gray Davis must (and should) be very, very afraid -- the strategic brilliance with which Arnold made his announcement (it stayed quiet because he didn't even tell his aides) suggests that he's in the race to win. It's now almost inevitable that other Democrats will announce, because they see Arnold as a candidate who can beat Davis easily, and they'll want to offer an alternative. What will be interesting is to see whether Arnold will be able to "play nicely" over the next two months with the obnoxious press corps that will be constantly clamoring for his attention, and looking for a new story about him. But he doubtless knows what lies ahead -- his wife, Maria Shriver, must surely remember what it was like to be the daughter of a big-time candidate (her dad is Sargent Shriver, who ran with George McGovern in 1972, after Thomas Eagleton withdrew from the ticket). Arnold's entry into the race only raises the enthusiasm level for dumping Gray Davis, and guarantees that many otherwise ambivalent voters will be solidly behind the recall.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:05 am
5@Noon: The state Supreme Court will rule at 12:00 on five of the anti-recall cases. The Bee reported that AG Lockyear "told the court the chaos theory was based on supposition rather than evidence" and counties reported that they are confident they can hold the elections on time. Lockyear and Ted Costa also "filed papers opposing a pair of suits that claim only Bustamante can succeed Davis." And, there's also the cases that somehow a quick election unfairly impacts minorities...I don't know how anybody can claim that with a straight face, but okay...maybe the state's newest minority - transvestites - have a hard time making decisions...

[Streetsweeper] 7:03 am
BIG Labor's recent gathering in Chicago was good for Gray and bad for Di - from the Prowler at American Spectator [One Democrat who had to be happy about the Chicago meeting was California Gov. Gray Davis, who came away with a full endorsement from the union conglomerate which also scared off Sen. Dianne Feinstein from entering the recall race. Feinstein has not gotten along well with the AFL-CIO for years, and as the days have gone by what has become abundantly clear in California is that a Democrat has to have the backing of the AFL-CIO if he is to have a shot. According to the AFL-CIO lobbyist, the union may have committed as much as $10 million to the California race to ensure that Davis or some other Democrat will hold on to the governor's mansion.]

8/6/03 [Wednesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 7:51 am
Ballot Chaos - 2:
Yesterday I commented on the court ruling regarding the counting of abstained ballots in the recall election and the resulting Op-Ed from three Claremont fellows theorizing that this wrinkle could open the door to a challenge. Here are a couple of comments and questions and my response...

[If "abstain" counts as "no" in a yes/no election, so long as the ballot is otherwise valid, all of the CA Supreme Court retention elections on the November 2002 ballot would have failed, as well as all but two appellate court retentions. I think it unlikely that the Calfiornia appeallate courts would open that particular box. Kevin Murphy, Los Angeles]

But the difference may well be that the recall law explicitly says that "yes" votes must number more than half of ALL total votes cast. If this provision does not appear in the election law governing retention of Supreme Court justices, a plurality of votes would be sufficient to keep a justice on the court. Usually, a candidate with the plurality of votes wins (any successor to Davis would probably be elected by a plurality). What makes this situation potentially troublesome -- especially given Davis' penchant for litigation -- is that a possible interpretation of the recall law's provision suggests that "yes" votes must constitute an outright majority, i.e. more than 50% (rather than a plurality) for victory. - CPL

[ After reading the possible chaos resulting from the "Abstain" votes. I have the following questions. The ballot will read for the first part "Do you desire to have Gray Davis Remain as Governor of the State of Calif.?" Yes or No? There is no third line that says "abstain". As I understand the measure, part one stands alone. Only if the no votes outnumber the yes votes do you go to part two of the ballot which asks the voter which person the voter desires to replace the Governor. I understand there may be more votes cast for part two than part one. But are not they separate issues? And what if more people vote on part one and can't decide who they want as a replacement, so they leave part two blank? Part one may end up with more total votes than part two. If there is no alternative to yes or no on the ballot, then either yes or no will get 50%+ of the total votes cast in part one. Does that make sense, or am I missing some convolution of election law? David Henry, Roseville]

Mr. Henry is overlooking the import of last week's court decision, which held that a voter could withhold a vote on the first ballot question, but then go on to vote for a new governor below. What that does, in effect, is create an option to "abstain" on the recall. If the first and second questions were on completely different ballots, his analysis would be correct (those who didn't wish to vote on the first question simply wouldn't take the ballot with the first question on it). But if the two questions are on the same ballot, it is possible that, for example, 30% of Californians would choose NOT to vote on the recall issue itself, but might go on to select a successor to Gray Davis. In such a situation, then, you could theoretically have a scenario where -- of the 70% who DO vote on whether to recall Davis -- 40% vote to recall, 30% vote to retain. Then the question would be: has Davis been recalled? Yes, a plurality (40%) voted to recall, but election law requires that "a majority" of all votes cast be in favor of recall for it to happen. . . . or, at least, that would be the issue in the lawsuit Davis would almost certainly bring. - CPL

[Streetsweeper] 7:25 am
Headin' Out: It's time to start packing - in the Register [For the first time since the government started keeping track, more people are leaving California for other U.S. addresses than are moving in from other states.] Gee, you don't think it's got anything to do with a "Progressive Agenda." taxes, taxes and more taxes, do you?

8/5/03 [Tuesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 6:11 am
Ballot Chaos? In an opinion piece in today’s Union-Tribune [here and in Streetsweeper’s Bin below] Brian Janiskee, Edward Erler and John Eastman paint a scenario – based on the recent Judge Barry Moskowitz decision concerning the recall ballot’s “yes/no” provision – that gives Governor Davis a possible way to upend the recall vote. This analysis makes sense, especially in light of the fact that no one from the Davis side has filed any kind of appeal -- the silence from his minions is reminiscent of the part of a horror movie when there's a creepy lull right before a bloody denouement. Pro-recall forces would be well-advised to obtain some sort of advisory ruling on whether they need an outright majority of votes, or whether a plurality will do . . . and they should get the ruling quickly, so that they have the chance to inform Californians that a vote to "abstain" might effectively be a vote to retain Gray Davis.

8/4/03 [Monday]

[Streetsweeper] 6:25 am
Part-Time? How unProgressive of LA Times columnist George Skelton...[The biggest state, I've now concluded, should downgrade its Legislature to part time. If the Legislature can't be reformed, it should be restrained. Damage contained. Losses cut.] In today’s column he has come to believe that the full-time Legislature should become part-time. Well, we sure agree. In fact, why not let them meet every other year? They go to Sacramento and with way too much time on their hands they come up with more and more legislative nonsense. The Progressive Agenda needs full-time legislators. A common-sense agenda could do with a lot less...

8/2/03 [Saturday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:25 am
Friends Like These: In the SacBee LeBoxer says that Democrats have to stick together and back Lord Gray... uh, sorta ["I'm against the recall, but I think we have to look at who's on the ballot, we have to keep our options open as to who's on the ballot," she said.] Right...and others are starting to keep their options open, like Loretta "I want my name in print" Sanchez, Bill "I'm gonna be governor some day." Lockyear and a growing list chipping away at the Friends of Gray committee...

8/1/03 [Friday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:25 am
Huh? What else is there?
AG Bill Lockyear - always positioning himself for a future run at governor - gave Lord Gray a stern warning in an interview with the SacBee ["If they do the trashy campaign on Dick Riordan ... I think there are going to be prominent Democrats that will defect and just say, 'We're tired of that puke politics. Don't you dare do it again or we're just going to help pull the plug.' / "There is a growing list of prominent Democrats that, if that's how it evolves, are going to jump ship." / Asked if he'd be one of them, Lockyer, who has also come out against the recall, calling it "unfair to Gray Davis and bad for the state," said: "I don't know."] What the heck does Lockyear expect? "Puke politics" is the only one weapon in the Davis arsenal. Gee, this sort of thing can't make Lord Gray look too good to the squishy middle, eh? | Kuhl Fight Postponed: The rumble over LA judge Carolyn Kuhl won't take place until the Senate's back in session in September. Our lovely LeBoxer had this to say on the Senate floor - in the Times [Boxer, in a floor speech, denounced Kuhl's record as "far to the extreme right," saying that as a judge and attorney she had undermined rights for women and minorities and opposed the labor and environmental movements.] Ugh...Paging Tony Strickland!!!

[Hugh Hewitt] 7:23 am - Hewitt's blog
A federal district court judge in San Diego has ruled that city’s lease of a park facility to the Boy Scouts is unconstitutional because the Scouts require an oath to God. This absurd decision is the latest in the long string of paybacks from the left to the Scouts for refusing to knuckle under to the cultural imperium of the left. Sad day. The Scouts need defending by all people of good will with a concern for kids.

Go to CRO Blog July 2003

Go to CRO Blog archive index



Blue Collar -  120x90
120x90 Jan 06 Brand
Free Trial Static 02
ActionGear 120*60
Free Trial Static 01
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2003-2005