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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

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9/30/03 [Tuesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 5:39 am
What about Tom?
A friend who was present at the California Republican Party's Board of Directors meeting yesterday that culminated in an unprecedented endorsement of Arnold Schwarzenegger had some interesting information to pass along. As reported elsewhere, the vote to endorse Arnold was unanimous; it was interesting, however, to hear this conservative express strong disapproval of Tom McClintock. Apparently, the consensus of the directors is that not only can Senator McClintock not win -- he KNOWS he can't win and is staying in the race for reasons no one can fully understand. As a result, he has discredited himself with activist Republicans of all stripes -- and has guaranteed that he won't have the ear either of the governor, if Schwarzenegger is indeed elected, or of conservatives across the state who might otherwise have paid attention had Senator McClintock "blown the whistle" on objectionable actions by a Schwarzenegger administration. In all of this, Tom McClintock is the big loser -- but so are Californians, who could have used a trustworthy, constructive conservative as smart as Senator McClintock to help, rather than obstruct, a Schwarzenegger governorship.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 5:31 am
Puke to follow? CRO Editorial Director and Columnist Carol Liebau has been wondering about the big nuke from the Davis “Puke Politics” machine. When will it hit? Who will deliver it? We’re inviting emails from readers with their predictions. Arnold gets puke-nuked when - Thursday? Friday? Weekend? Delivered by which - Chronicle? Times?... [Of course, how will any smear tactic compare with the reality of that Chronicle picture of Cruz Bustamante’s “performance artist” sister Nao Bustamante?]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 5:09 am
The Dangers of Complacency:
It seems that last week's debate was all "they" were waiting for. "They" include Bill Simon (2002 and 2003 Republican gubernatorial candidate), Darrell Issa (who funded the signature-gathering for the recall), and a fair percentage of California's likely voters. After assuring themselves that Arnold had the "right stuff" to perform acceptably in the debate held last Wednesday, Simon and Issa endorsed him. And at least according to a new CNN/Gallup/USA poll, it seems that ordinary Californians have decided to support Schwarzenegger, who is running well ahead of Cruz Bustamante (40% to 25%, with Republican Tom McClintock at 18%). | That's not to say that Arnold's performance in the debate was perfect -- but its imperfection lay more in lost opportunities than actual mistakes. For example, when Arianna Huffington attacked him for being anti-woman, Arnold chose to brush the insult off with a joke and a movie reference -- rather than making the kind of "heartfelt" appeal to women that has resonance for many in an Oprah-ized era. But Arnold showed that he could hold his own, and most polls found that viewers believed he had won. | Aside from demonstrating the fallacy of Gov. Gray Davis' team's attempts at spin (about how the debate "helped" him -- for which a number of newspapers, including the LA Times, fell), the new poll significantly alters the political terrain with only eight days left before the election. If accurate, it indicates that more Californians would vote for Schwarzenegger than would vote to retain Davis (63% support recall; 35% oppose). And it means that Davis and Bustamante will be desperate. | Over the next week, everyone should be prepared for ugly, ugly stories to be released about Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Dems did this to Bruce Herschensohn and Darrell Issa, among others -- they'll try it again with Schwarzenegger. One can only hope that Arnold's team has booked a LOT of television time for next weekend, so that he can get out his side of any squalid story the Dems try to propagate. And rather than Republicans worrying about the internecine fight between Arnold and Tom McClintock, they need to focus on both Cruz Bustamante and Gray Davis. | The unfavorable articles leaking out about Cruz (including his improper deductions on rental property and the "untraditional" way in which he earned credit for his college degree) will help in this effort. But Republicans also need to make sure voters know of Cruz's fundamental lack of knowledge about both the worker's comp system (he proposed "safe workplace" discounts that have been in place for years) and the energy crisis (he has blamed it for the budget deficit, when in fact, the shortfalls are being paid by ratepayers rather than through the state budget). Through his team's frantic efforts to toss mud, voters will doubtless be reminded of why they dislike Gray Davis so much; even so, the case for the recall should be made repeatedly. Most of all, the Schwarzenegger team needs to make sure in light of the recent poll that no one feels the race is "in the bag" or that McClintock sympathizers now feel free to cast a vote of "conscience." | It's Arnold's race to lose. And his biggest enemy may be his supporters' complacency.

[Reader Scott Dillard - From the Ebag] 5:03 am
Re: John Mark Reynolds
In Praise of Strip Malls: I liked Mr Reynolds column on strip malls. He mentioned Berkeley a few times. He's right about the time warp feeling in so mucn of places like Berkeley. But it is also amusing to see that the only area in Berkeley that is thriving and making tons of money is 4th Street, a three block stretch of very high end stores on the western end of the city. Berkeley politicians fought against it starting up for years, as it was "elitist" and didn't serve the "needs of the poor". Now they have even tried to impose some kind of weird "African" themed open air market that flopped and died. 4th Street is booming. The city keeps trying to close the parking lots to make people take "mass transit", although it really goes nowhere near there. In the meantime, the main business area of downtown Berkeley is run down and full of street kids. Oh well, some day the adults will take charge again.

9/29/03 [Monday]

[Doug Gamble] 5:41 am
Wither Tom?
Tom McClintock's insistence on staying in the governor's race will reap the opposite of what happens with banks and retirement accounts. Whereas he would have been rewarded for early withdrawal, he will now be penalized for late withdrawal or no withdrawal at all. | Whether Arnold Schwarzenegger loses because of a split GOP vote or wins because enough McClintock supporters come to his rescue in the voting booth for the sake of the party, McClintock's political career is most likely finished. The Republican Party of California will almost certainly attempt to deny his re-nomination to defend his state Senate seat in the next election, hoping to be rid of the maverick once and for all. The party, remember, punished him for his different-drummer positions when he ran for state controller last year, denying him all but paltry financial support. Outspent by his Democratic opponent five to one, McClintock came within a fraction of a percentage point of winning anyway.| With Bustamante apparently fading it's starting to look more and more like Schwarzenegger will be the next governor, if Gray Davis loses the recall. This is not only the beginning of the end for McClintock personally, but it will leave the conservative wing of the party in a splint, with its future in doubt. | As was evident in last week's debate, McClintock is a talented man who would have made an effective governor. It's a shame there's no place for him in today's Republican Party, but he defied party bosses who embraced Schwarzenegger from the moment Arnold informed Jay Leno he was running, and now he'll have to pay the price.

9/28/03 [Sunday]

[Jon Fleischman] 1:45 pm
Down to the Wire: The California Republican Party notified the media on Friday that this Monday (tomorrow), the Board of Directors will hold a special meeting to discuss and possibly endorse a Republican candidate in the recall. Not only is this a GREAT IDEA, but it is a responsibility that Board Members should take seriously. | Now, I will be the first to say that it would be preferable to have the entire 1400-member State Central Committee vote on doing this -- but that certainly isn't possible. To those who say that we should have looked at this during the convention a couple of weeks ago, I submit to you that two weeks ago was TOO EARLY for the party to officially weigh in. | But now it is not too early -- it may be too late. Somewhere upwards of 600,000 California voters have already cast their absentee ballots, and you can be sure that GOP voters within that group have split up their votes between Schwarzenegger and McClintock.| Just like when the GOP successfully recalled Paul Horcher (and ENDORSED Gary Miller to replace him), and recalled Doris Allen (and ENDORSED Scott Baugh to replace her) - the California Republican Party has a responsibility to give guidance to its registered members, and help them sort out this "mess" we have. When I say "mess", I am referring to the fact that this recall election is a GENERAL ELECTION. We have no run-off to conveniently see which GOP candidate gets the most votes, and then unify behind that candidate for an election held months later. It is all over on October 7th. | If this was a primary, I would be leading a loud and vocal opposition to the State GOP Board wading in and making an endorsement. But THE REPUBLICAN PARTY has a responsibility to ELECT A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR. | We have waited a long time (perhaps too long, but time will tell) for our great candidates to present their ideas, and distinguish themselves from their GOP opponents. Issa, Simon, Ueberroth -- all Republican candidates who are no long in the running -- participated in this process. Without any California Republican Party endorsement, the political "free-market" caused the field to thin. But now, we are closing in on the final days. The Party has a RESPONSIBILITY to do whatever it can to thin the field to ONE, lest Bustamante win -- and win not because of his ideas, but because of the math (divided we fall). | Finally, I would just add that the Party endorsement may or may not cause either Schwarzenegger or McClintock to suspend their candidacies -- but it will allow an important thing to take place. The California Republican Party will be able to directly communicate (via telephone calls, faxes, mail and e-mail) that our "internal primary" is OVER, and all Republican voters need to unify to keep Davis/Bustamante from keeping their clutches on Governor's chair. | To the CRP Board Members I would say this -- consider the candidates, and consider the politics. With nine days to go, YOUR TASK is to cast your vote in that meeting to endorse whichever candidate you feel has the BEST CHANCE of defeating Cruz Bustamante.

9/27/03 [Saturday]

[Jon Fleischman] 8:45 am
Primary's Over! Perhaps the "General Election" of this special Recall Election is finally here. Anybody watching the debate earlier this week could see that the GOP has a major problem -- two candidates! While Bustamante certainly has wacky Arianna and socialist Camejo eating into his left flank a little (and less each day as Cruz tacks further and further leftward), they are not Democrats. | It only makes sense that at some point, individually and collectively, Republicans all around California have to conduct their individual, or "mental" primaries. If Republicans don't come together, and soon, Cruz Bustamante will win this Recall Election not because his ideas are superior, but because of pure math and division - Californian's who want to see a reduction in the size and scope of state government will be choosing between two Republican candidates. Friday's news headlines, for the first time, show that the GOP is starting to coalesce around Arnold Schwarzenegger's candidacy. Thursday, conservative Bill Simon endorsed the Terminator, and the conservative Republican Party County Chairmen's Association did the same. Friday the "financial father" of the Recall, Congressman Darrell Issa, followed suit. | Why is all of this happening now? I think that everyone wanted to wait until the "big debate" was over, to see if either GOP contender scored big, or flopped. Coming out of the debate, most agreed that the status-quo was maintained. So now, GOP activists from around the state are waking up the fact that this is NOT a primary, and we do not have the luxury of supporting our favorite GOP candidate into election day -- we must rally behind the candidate that can defeat Cruz Bustamante. | Of course, the Indian Gaming interests, who want desperately to elect Cruz Bustamante, are still playing games. As evidenced by the fact that the Morongo Band of Mission Indians just reported another $850,000 television ad buy for McClintock. Not nearly the kind of dollars they are putting into Bustamante's campaign, but enough to finance "attack ads" against the GOP frontrunner.

9/26/03 [Friday]

[Joe Armendariz] 5:15 pm
Re: Armendariz "Status Quo" Jon Coupal response: We should congratulate Jarvis for winning another one for the taxpayers. In fact, we should all thank God for Jon Coupal and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, when we say our prayers at night. | And I agree that the world would be a better place if more Republicans get elected. But, as someone who fights for taxpayers in front of elected officials on the Board of Supervisors and City Councils, my general point was that unless and until the voters recognize the importance of changing the leadership at the local level, where many if not most of the decisions that impact their daily lives are made, then the concerns that I laid out, will continue to be determined by only the most radical and politically agile of local special interest groups. I see it happen every day. | I estimate there are roughly 290 County Supervisors in California. Add to that number, the thousands of members of local City Councils and you can begin to recognize the challenge local advocates like me and my friend Andy Caldwell, of COLAB, have in trying to influence the outcome of public policy that impacts local taxpayers. Land-use restrictions on residential, commercial and industrial development. Operational improvements to their local transportation infrastructure. Air quality rules that impact the climate for good-paying jobs. Local public-safety infrastructure, i.e when, where and if, new jails, or landfills, are sited and built. | The outcome of all of these quality of life decisions are currently being made by local elected officials functioning as part of an either independent elected body or as an individual member of a regional government agency. SBCAG, APCD, LAFCO, etc. Yes Governors matter, just like Presidents do. But, can anyone really say, with the exception of the war on terror and those puny symbolic tax-cuts, that the policies of the federal government, felt down at the local level, are different, today, then they were 5 or 10 years ago? I don't think so.

[Jon Coupal] 8:38 am
Re: Armendariz "Status Quo" Op-Ed
California recall: One possibility, and one possibility only - STATUS QUO! - I believe my good friend Joe is wrong on this. We just won a huge $2 billion case on Wednesday in front of a widely respected Republican judge. The Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District in Sacramento has a majority of Deukmajian and Wilson appointees. This makes a huge difference to those of us who have to fight for taxpayers in the Courts. Arnold or McClintock judges will be as different from Cruz judges as Scalia is to Lawrence Tribe. Please think about it.

[Carol Platt Liebau] 5:39 am
More to be Pitied than Blamed?
After almost a full day feeling completely irritated with Arianna Huffington and her buffoonish behavior at the debate, it occurred to me that perhaps it makes more sense to feel sorry for her. What, after all, can she want so badly that she's willing to sacrifice every shred of dignity to get it? It can't be influence, so that she can serve as a more effective advocate of her ideas -- anyone who's been from left to right back to left again can't have that many core principles that they feel compelled to disseminate. Is she just trying to sell her new book, so all of this is just to make money -- of which she has more than most people ever see in a lifetime, thanks to her ex-husband's generous child support payments and her clever way with a tax return? Maybe . . . but I think Arianna is just one of those people who just want fame for fame's sake. And people like that are basically unhappy and to be pitied -- it must be like having a gnawing, craving hunger that nothing on earth can ever really satisfy. All we can hope is that the good Lord will comfort and keep her . . . far away from us. Her opinions and behavior should simply be ignored, and gently dismissed as the desperate cry for attention that they really are.

[John Mark Reynolds] 5:38 am
Dis-bate: I am a Dad with kids, so I decided to let the politically savvy folks do the smart analysis. Our family has a game called: what Disney character? In this game, you associate a person with a Disney film character. With help from my four under thirteen year olds, here are my post-debate impressions: | Arianna Huffington is Cruella DeVil. If she doesn't get you, no evil thing will. She solidified her commanding lead as the Person Most Likely to Be a Disney Villain in the Next Life. | Peter Camejo is the loveable Goofy. He is wrong about everything in a harmless and innocent sort of way. Even as he is blowing up the house, you have to chuckle at him. Camejo is the only candidate to start life as a plush toy. | Cruz is usually Smee from Peter Pan. Bustamante has perfected the evil side kick role. Like most Disney evil side kicks, Smee tries to come across as harmless to Wendy and the boys, until they remember he works for Captain Hook and is a pirate. Tonight Cruz was Smee doing an impersonation of Professor Ludwig Von Drake, the know it all who knows nothing. That was an odd thing to watch, but as Smee Von Drake might say, "You may not know it Arnold, but I have always supported Captain Hook's initiative to reduce the amount of homeless children in Never Land." | Tom McClintock is Buzz Light Year of Star Command. He is heroic and earnest, painfully earnest. One keeps waiting for him to leap up and shout, "To twenty percent in the polls and beyond." Sadly, someone will have to tell him that he is not really a space ranger. He does not know it yet, and that is sadder still. | Arnold? I am not sure Arnold's studio would allow him to appear in a Disney movie, but Arnold was Tarzan. He swung through the wild attacked by a wild cat and other beasts on his way to rescue California. He shocks the snobs with his articulate native wit and natural polish. He will end up Lord of the Jungle.

9/25/03 [Thursday]

[Doug Gamble] 5:41 am
Some debate observations on the run:
Stan Statham, moderator: Where was Jim Lehrer when we really needed him? | Arnold Schwarzenegger: Probably won by not losing. Expect he satisfied many inclined to vote for him who were previously not sure if he was governor material. Admire his restraint in stopping short of dunking Arianna Huffington's head in a toilet. | Tom McClintock: Should take a bow, but won't bow out. Solid performance unlikely to be rewarded by star-struck California Republicans. The civil war heats up. | Cruz Bustamante: Should have left wakeup call for 6:00 p.m. Wednesday night so he wouldn't have slept through debate. | Arianna Huffington: Ilsa, She-Wolf of the platform.| Peter Camejo: Ralph Nader with a personality. | It'll take wiser pundits than this writer to guage the effect of the debate on Gray Davis. For 90-minutes it was as though he had already been recalled and was irrelevant. Then again, I could picture some viewers saying, "I'm not voting for any of these clowns; I'm voting against the recall." | Overall reaction: Best reality TV of the new season so far.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 5:31 am
Debate Watchin': Ah, the whole family was glued to the screen – lot’s of hoots and hollers... Arnold got through it. Tom was right, as always. Arianna was shrill, as always. Camejo was just goofy, as always. Cruz came off as - well - a bureaucrat shrugging off the system and hoping to do better. See Hewitt and Liebau in the Op-Ed page for more... [We'll post more from contibutors in the late afternoon.]

9/24/03 [Wednesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 5:40 am
Debate Watch/Frothy Chait: Pull up a chair, and pop up the corn. Although tonight's debate may ultimately have little impact on the outcome of the race, but it is shaping up to be a political sporting event second to none. Obviously, what everyone will be watching for is how Arnold handles himself. If he does well, calls for Tom McClintock to withdraw will grow; if he stumbles, McClintock supporters will stand by their man, and Republican infighting will continue and deepen. | In other matters, Hugh Hewitt has taken the lead in pointing out the foaming-at-the-mouth article by Jonathan Chait on the New Republic site. The piece is almost laughable in its hysterical disregard for the truth. Correct me if I'm wrong, but did any reputable center-right magazine ever publish such a fact-free, hate-filled rant about President Clinton? Chait works hard to justify his irrational hatred of President Bush -- and fails. He seems to find President Bush an affront to the concept of "meritocracy" (which, presumably, he exemplifies). But it's easy to see what self-appointed "meritocrats" (who, incidentally, support quotas limiting the number of high-achieving Asian students at elite California Universities) detest most about President Bush, and it is this: President Bush doesn't care what they think of him, and he thinks of them not at all. I have met a lot of lefties like Chait -- they often populate Ivy League campuses. Just by virtue of attending a selective university, they develop a penchant to think of themselves as "nature's royalty," uniquely significant, the best and the brightest, their views unquestionably influential. For a president to be so unconcerned by, even dismissive of, all they stand for . . . well, it just drives them crazy. If President Bush hated them, that would be OK. At least they'd matter. But the President's attitude just reminds them of their true importance in the grand scheme of things -- that they don't really matter at all. That's a truth they simply can't handle.

9/23/03 [Tuesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 9:30 pm
Liebau Responds:
[To: Zycher, Armendariz and Schmehl Re: More Davis than Reagan] My objections to McClintock's criticisms of Schwarzenegger are based less on their content than on their style, which I characterized as "unfair." Ronald Reagan criticized Gerald Ford's policies -- and policies are fair game (note my aside that Arnold would warrant criticism if he accepted Warren Buffett's economic advice). But Reagan never stooped to the kind of petty nastiness that should properly be understood as "speaking ill" of a fellow party member -- for example, suggesting that Schwarzenegger is too stupid to read or understand Milton Friedman. Here is a "bright line" rule for deciding when a comment constitutes "speaking ill" of another: when it would strike delight into the heart of a common opponent. Cruz Bustamante isn't likely to benefit from McClintock criticizing Schwarzenegger for consulting with Robert Kennedy. But he -- and the press -- is likely to thrill to personal comments that shed less light than heat, and which reflect poorly on all Republicans.

[Joe Armendariz] 8:09 pm
Re: Carol Liebau's More Davis than Reagan - [Re: Benjamin Zycher] I too was surprised by "More Davis than Reagan" ouch! As a McClintock supporter, or, as Hugh Hewitt refers to people like me; Tombot, I continue to be frustrated with those who would sacrifice their conservative principles on the altar of political expediency. While only 36 years old, I am surprised to discover how much more politically old-fashioned I am than most of my friends, even those born generations before me. | Campaigns are about ideas aren't they? Arnold, Tom and Cruz have different ideas about how the world works. Arnold and Cruz are closer on the issues, it would appear, than are Arnold and Tom. Which explains why they are running neck and neck. What is wrong with letting the voters digest those competing ideas and the candidate that emerges victorious be allowed to govern? At the end of the day, there will still be 100 independently elected (mostly Democrat) Legislators and each with their own set of ideas (mostly bad) writing the laws that will impact this state for better or worse. | I believe to pretend that any Governor, no matter who they are, will be given a free hand to transform California into something dramatically different, is engaged in wishful thinking.

[Shawn Steel] 9:45 am
Recall On! Finally the adults took control and saved the 9th from legal extermination. When courts interfere with noticed constitutional elections they always invite public criticism and scorn.

[Benjamin Zycher] 7:09 am
Re: Carol Liebau's More Davis than Reagan - A quick question if I may: Where was the 11th Commandment when Ronald Reagan was trying to get the nomination away from Jerry Ford? No obfuscations, please; a straight answer would be appreciated. | The idea that somehow it is illegitimate for McClintock to criticize Arnold (or vice versa) is just mindless, particularly in view of the fact that Arnold if elected will be a disaster. Just look at the energy/environment "plan" that he discussed yesterday. A Republican who has chosen Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as one of his central advisers should be immune from Republican criticism? Please....

[Carol Platt Liebau] 7:07am
En banc review: The Ninth Circuit en banc argument was a sight to behold. First up was Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe. The professor is blessed with a very high opinion of himself, and it was therefore fun to watch Judge Alex Kozinski toy with him like a cat with a ball of yarn. Interestingly, Tribe must be back on the right (make that "left") side of the ACLU after his apostasy a little more than a decade ago, when he argued that it was possible to draft laws restricting flag burning that would pass constitutional muster. Though he was glib as always, on the whole, the quality of Tribe's performance today didn't live up to the hype that surrounds him both on the Harvard Law School campus, or in the world at large. ACLU attorney Mark Rosenbaum made a stylistic error -- wagging his finger at the judges, not a crowd likely to appreciate the sense that they're receiving a lecture from counsel appearing before them. On the pro-recall side, the most painful part of the whole proceeding was watching Deputy Atty. Gen. Douglas Woods grapple with Judge Kozinski's questions about the appropriate standard of review, becoming tangled in a thicket about a fairly straightforward matter of which he should have quickly disposed. Charles Diamond, representing Ted Costa pro-recall forces, did the best job of the four -- but not really anything to write home about, either. Even so, Diamond's best was probably good enough. Nothing I heard during the oral argument suggests that a majority of the 11-person panel would uphold the travesty handed down last week by judicial activisits Pregerson, Paez and Thomas.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:05 am
Jack Pitney: CRO Q&A panel contributor Jack Pitney of Claremont McKenna has a column up today at NRO peeling back Howard Dean's venom...

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:04 am
George Neumayr: CRO Q&A panel contributor George Neumayr (managing editor at American Spectator) has a column up today about the California teen who is Planned Parenthood's Latest Casualty...

[found in the ebag - reader Willard F. Schmehl] 7:02 am
Re: Carol Liebau's More Davis than Reagan Pure drivel. I do not support Arnold who I consider a RINO of the first order. And who are these people that determine which Republican can win before a single vote is cast. Millions of us do not submit to the Centrist notion that a Conservative cannot win in California. (Note the 2.8 million registered Republicans that did not vote in November). Simon was doing fine in the Primary representing himself as a Conservative. Then the notion that he had to be more centrist prevailed and the conservatives collectively realized it was more of the failed centrist viewpoint that was again prevailing. We will not vote for someone who simply has an R after his name. If Arnold is indeed elected, you can expect that within 3 weeks he will announce how it is impossible to fix the problem without raising taxes. And he will use the same tired liberal excuse. "The problem is much worse than I thought." AND HE WILL ATTACK PROP 13. | I also am tired of hearing that someone who maintains his principles is a stubborn loner. The GOP needs more stubborn loners. Unlike centrists/moderates who are willing to compromise their principles under the guise of incrementalism, conservatives believe that principles mean something and should be adhered to. I would like to point out that this centrist policy has resulted in almost total domination of the California political spectrum by liberal democrats. Increment by increment, we are completely losing the war of incrementalism. | I do not fault Mr. McClintock one bit for rejecting the "band wagon" centrists, especially after 25 years of total failure of those policies. | I call for Mr. Schwarzenegger to withdraw and give his support to Mr. McClintock. But that won't happen. The band wagon centrists have latched on to their "great GOP hope" and it is not Tom. But Tom will serve their purpose. He can be blamed as the spoiler and their failed policy can gain new life. And we can expect more future losses. | It is no fluke that minorities shun the so-called big tent of the GOP. There isn't any loyalty in the party. Prescious little principle as well. | If Arnold wins, prepare to write checks to pay huge new taxes. | Then sit back and watch the exodus of people from the party and the state.

9/22/03 [Monday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:34am
'Splaining the En Banc: Okay, so now I know how things are gonna go in today's proceeding at the 9th. Thank you very much Howard Bashman at How Appealing.

9/20/03 [Sunday]

[Streetsweeper] 11:15 am
Next - Drivers Licenses for Extraterrestrial Illegal Aliens? As quoted in the Chronicle Lord Gray hinted that he's going after yet another voting bloc to try to save his governorship ["My vision is to make the most diverse state on earth, and we have people from every planet on the earth in this state. We have the sons and daughters of every, of people from every planet, of every country on earth," he said.] Venusians for Gray!

[John Mark Reynolds] 7:59 am
Flicks: Open Range is a decent second choice date movie for the weekend. Just don't go expecting too much. It breaks new ground if you have never seen a Western with: a Civil War veteran haunted by his past, a town in the grip of an evil cattle baron, a crusty old side kick, and a stalwart and capable woman of the West. On the other hand, it has been a while since Roy Rogers made a movie so perhaps audiences will find it refreshing. The film is beautiful, full of lovely shots of the West. And more lovely shots of the West. It comes very close to being one too many lingering shots of the West, but not quite. In his first non-meglomanical movie ever, Costner the director takes the camera off Costner the actor enough to let Robert Duvall steal the movie. Annette Bening is grown up, a capable actor, and beautiful. This is such a rarity after the comic book women of summer that it almost worth the price of the ticket to see it. Conservatives should be warned that rich people are once again uniformly evil. Does Hollywood hate itself? My theory is that all the Leftist rich people in Hollywood are actually bent on gaining money and power at the expense of others. This has jaundiced script writers everywhere who work out their wrath on the pampered brats of Hollywood by portraying the privileged in uniformly negative manner.

[Hugh Hewitt] 7:58 am - Hewitt's blog
Hope at the 9th: The 11-member panel only has three judges nominated by Republicans, but it does have a number of the more responsible judges nominated by Democrats, and it has Judge Kozinski.   Either we get a fair result reversing the Monday decision and allowing the  recall election to proceed, or we get a Kozinski dissent that will dog the circuit for the rest of its Democrat-dominated days, while setting up the killer return from the Supremes.

[John Mark Reynolds] 7:58 am
Isabel: According to MSNBC, it will take "days not hours" to restore power after Hurricane Isabel. Since many Leftists will now experience the difficulty of restoring power to a battered infrastructure themselves, we can anticipate apologies to the President for impatience in the rebuilding of Iraq. After all, Iraq suffered the battering of that son of Cain, Sadaam, for decades. Of course, conservatives are not holding their breath. This would require connecting two items not yet related by the New York Times.

9/19/03 [Friday]

[Doug Gamble] 5:41 am
The Debate:
Let's hope the four major gubernatorial candidates opposing Arnold Schwarzenegger don't decide to skip next Wednesday's Sacramento debate, as reports have them considering. | As I understand the debate format, too much is being made of the fact that questions have been submitted to the candidates in advance. The questions are just a means to get things rolling, and once they have been asked and answered the candidates will be able to go at each other all they want, making this the most free-wheeling debate of all that have been held so far. Rather than being scripted, the event should turn out to be refreshingly spontaneous, if not a brawl. | Yes, Schwarzenegger was wrong to skip the other debates, and saying he was waiting for this particular one because he considered it to be the Super Bowl, suggesting it was worthy of his inclusion, was insulting to the other candidates. But they achieve nothing by pulling an Arnold and staying away. The voters deserve to see all the major contenders in a single forum, especially in a format that promises to feature some genuine give and take for a change. | We can't have a Super Bowl if four of the candidates turn petulant, take the ball and stay home.

[Carol Platt Liebau] 5:40 am
Play Nice: Tom McClintock's willingness to accept money from the Indian tribes -- and his self-evident enjoyment at making fun of Arnold Schwarzenegger -- once again indicate that, for him, it' s about him, not about the welfare of California and its people. But there are pitfalls for Arnold, too. A source at a news outlet that could reliably be predicted to treat Arnold fairly -- if not favorably -- was complaining that his people have been inaccessible. Others who have wanted to participate in fundraising have been brushed off, as though the campaign has no need of them. As a supporter of Arnold's, I hope that some of his excellent staffers, like Sean Walsh, work to rectify the situation. There's no need to drive voters into McClintock's (and the tribes') arms.

9/18/03 [Thursday]

[Larry Stirling] 8:55 am
Tribal Nonsense:
Laurence Tribe’s assertion of “palpable hypocrisy” concerning the Ninth Circuit Panel’s awful conduct would be down right laughable if this was not such a serious matter. | [Ed-the remainder of this post was revised and posted in the Op-Ed page.]

9/17/03 [Wednesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 6:15 am
More 9th:
There is the Ninth Circuit panel of Judges Pregerson, Paez and Thomas, and then there are honorable liberals like William Saletan, writing in Slate. His even-handed, clearheaded analysis of the current state of Democratic demagoguery sets a high standard that all fair-minded commentators on every part of the political spectrum must admire. In the meantime, the Ninth Circuit panel's decision is becoming increasingly discredited -- first it was on the law, now it's on the facts, as well. In the 5 o'clock hour on KFI (it's OK to switch there at 5, so long as you've listened to Hugh Hewitt on KRLA 870 from 3-5 before, and then from 8-9 afterwards), one of the station's reporters, Chris Little, described some fascinating information he had unearthed -- including the fact that the voting study cited by the ACLU had been funded by an electronic voting machine company, and that a predominantly white county had had the second-highest number of ruined ballots in 2000. But there's more -- the KFI reporter stated on the air that he had given this information to a couple of LA Times reporters. So it will be interesting to see whether the fearless journalists at the Times follow up...

[Carol Platt Liebau] 5:40 pm
9th Hiccup: Apparently, the 9th Circuit, on its own motion, has decided to hold a hearing en banc. That means one of two things. Either a couple of other liberals on the court want to "slow walk" the case and cause further trouble by delaying Supreme Court review, or -- as seems more likely -- the cooler, more rational heads on the 9th circuit were too embarrassed by the ridiculous opinion to let the Supreme Court get anywhere near it. Not only does the opinion misstate the law, it also ignores the facts. As reported by Fox News Channel yesterday morning, there are other counting systems in the state that have even lower levels of accuracy than the punch card ballots. So the panel's decision to treat punch cards as uniquely inaccurate is quickly being exposed for the canard that it is.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 5:31 am
Pious Bias: The lies, lies, lies are getting to be too much for even the truest of Progressive true believers. William Saletan - chief political correspondent for Slate - has finally had it with his liberal brethren and calls them out. Here’s what he had to say about the Recall [In California, the recall process is authorized by the state constitution. More than 1.3 million California voters signed petitions calling for this recall. Maybe that's because Davis got a lower percentage of the vote statewide in 2002 than Bush got nationwide in 2000. Or maybe it's because 63 percent of likely California voters disapprove of Davis' performance in office (down from 72 percent in August). And before you complain about Republicans using sneaky tactics to oust an honestly elected governor, let's hear your defense of the $7 million Davis spent in last year's Republican gubernatorial primary to deprive general-election voters of a moderate Republican alternative.] Go here for more...

9/16/03 [Tuesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 6:40 pm
9th Short-Circuit: Notwithstanding the Ninth Circuit panel, there's still something to be grateful for. I, for one, am pleased that the naked results-oriented reasoning of left-wing jurisprudence is finally being exposed. The opinion is (almost) as incoherent as it is dishonest; it's clear that none of the judges made the slightest effort really to engage any of the arguments on an intellectual or jurisprudential level. If I were a liberal -- or had clerked for any of these judges -- I'd be hiding my head in shame. Amazingly, the court has no trouble simply designating the deadlines in the Constitution as "arbitrary" -- they note that if the election had been certified only six weeks later, it would have been held in March anyway. Well, if my dog had a snout, he would be a pig. And every minority in California should take a good second look at both the ACLU and Judge Harry Pregerson. The ACLU, of course, argued that minorities can't seem to master the punch card ballot (invented circa 1890) as well as everyone else; Judge Pregerson suggested during oral argument that minorities might be particularly disadvantaged by having to locate a new polling place -- oh, but only because they work harder than anyone else and would be more tired. Sure, that's what he meant. That's the ticket. His condescension smacks of something suspiciously close to bigotry. The opinion is so far out that it's hard to see how the Supremes could really let it stand. And there is a potential for events to take a very ugly turn for the Democrats -- if the Supreme Court stays the 9th Circuit ruling on the recall and lets it go forward, for example, but postpones the propositions (thereby depriving Gray and Cruz of Prop. 54 demagogic talking points). Even the 9th Circuit judges seemed themselves to distinguish between the deadlines for the recall and the lack of them for the propositions. So, despite the justified frustration, we may all find that Democrats rue yesterday's events much more than Republicans do, in the end.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 6:30 am
For the Q&A Panel: CRO asked noted opinion-shapers the following question: If the Ninth Circuit decision postponing the recall is not reversed by the Supreme Court, what will be its political impact -- on Davis, Schwarzenegger and/or California politics in general?

[John Eastman - Professor of Law, Chapman University]
Unless the Supreme Court stays the Ninth Circuit's judgment, Davis will have six more months in office; the legislative feeding frenzy we just observed will continue apace; the election will be held in March with, presumably, a larger Democrat turn-out due to the contested presidential primary. But, voters may be so outraged by this collusive suit (has anyone noticed that the defendant is the Democrat Secretary of State, who opposes the recall?) that they may vote to throw Davis out anyway.

[Melanie Morgan, KSFO Radio, San Francisco]
The shameful decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco most assuredly will not stand. Should another bald-faced attempt by the Left wing of the California Judicial system to steal an election be upheld, I predict the following things: | -Interest in the recall will wane considerably, and that is NOT good news for Gray Davis and Cruz Bustamante. That will leave the activist base of core voters to decide the election. Infuriated conservatives will walk over broken glass to get to the polls. The Democrats will feel momentarily 'vindicated.' And because anger generally drives special elections, core Democrat voters will have lower turn-out percentages. | -A March election benefits State Senator Tom McClintock. He'll have more exposure with his message. His poll numbers will go up. Focus groups show that the more he speaks about solving government problems, the more people like him. As his numbers go up, more money will flow to his campaign. | -Arnold's 'stay above the fray' strategy will collapse. Pressure from the political media for him to substantively answer questions intensifies. And unless he is extremely well prepared and has a greater body of knowledge about the issues than previously demonstrated, he'll do poorly in comparison to the other candidates. | -Cruz Bustamante becomes increasingly tethered to Gray Davis and his failed administration. | -Gray Davis becomes the biggest loser of all. The governor will have a second crack at another budget in January. He'll have to make deeper cuts, and his special interest support (unions, state workers, Indian casinos) suffer. Conversely, if the administration continues to pander, the perception of Davis/Bustamante as craven politicians cements, allowing Republicans the advantage.

[George Neumayr - Managing Editor, American Spectator]
The decision helps Davis and hurts Schwarzenegger. The novelty of his campaign is already wearing off. By March, his substanceless campaign will have grown even more tiresome. | The effect on politics in general? The decision is one more log thrown by heedless elitists on a populist fire that will consume them.

[Shawn Steel - immediate past chairman, CA GOP]
Millions will have been disenfranchised. Millions of middle class will continue to leave Calif...Calif standard of living and rule of law descends into 3rd world politics

9/15/03 [Monday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 11:47 am
9th Circus: The Ninth Circuit has now ruled that the recall election should be postponed until March. But interestingly, they stayed their order for a week, in order to allow appeals to the Supreme Court. What's most notable about the opinion is its utter contempt for the will of the people of California, embodied in the state Constitution (which sets forth the process for conducting a recall election). Basically, the three judges took it upon themselves to decide that, since the election would have been held in March anyway -- had certification come a month and a half later -- there's no real harm in just going ahead and postponing it. Much like the Florida Supreme Court in 2000, the Ninth Circuit judges have shown themselves to be willing to substitute their own, results-driven policy preferences for the plain meaning of the state Constitution and the expressed will of Californians. The opinion dismisses the argument that there is a compelling state interest in conducting the recall in accordance with the procedures set forth in the California Constitution -- perfectly exemplifying these judges' utter contempt for both the law and the democratic process. If judges don't see the value of going "by the book" in interpreting the election laws, what are the laws there for in the first place? And by the way, the punch card ballots that the judges find to violate the Equal Protection clause were objectionable to no one in last year's gubernatorial election.


[Shawn Steel] 12:17 pm
9th: Led by extreme liberal activist. US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Harry Pregerson, in the most liberal and controversial federal court in the United States, is seeking to deny a vote of the most intensely watched election in California's history. | The three judges from the 9th Circuit who heard the case were all appointed by Democratic presidents - Judge Pregerson by President Carter and judges Sidney Thomas and Richard A. Paez by President Clinton - and are considered among the most liberal on the court. | Once again, the democrats are trying to steal the election. In this case, they don't even want one. Democrats will do anything to keep and control. They know they are losing the governorship and the people are angry and rising up. | The liberals have lost all credibility and pretence of following the rules. We trust the U.S. Supreme Court will restore order and quickly overrule the most overruled court in the U.S.

[Streetsweeper] 12:15 pm
9th/In the Ebag from Tom McClintock: [This is simply a distration and will have no bearing on this election. |I have every confidence that in a short time the US Supreme Court will allow this election to go forward. | I want to remind people that the 9th Circuit is the most reversed court - the same court that banned the word under God in the Pledge of Allegiance. | It has become a national laughing stock. This election is called for by the Constitution and demand by the people of California.]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 11:47 am
9th Circus: The Ninth Circuit has now ruled that the recall election should be postponed until March. But interestingly, they stayed their order for a week, in order to allow appeals to the Supreme Court. What's most notable about the opinion is its utter contempt for the will of the people of California, embodied in the state Constitution (which sets forth the process for conducting a recall election). Basically, the three judges took it upon themselves to decide that, since the election would have been held in March anyway -- had certification come a month and a half later -- there's no real harm in just going ahead and postponing it. Much like the Florida Supreme Court in 2000, the Ninth Circuit judges have shown themselves to be willing to substitute their own, results-driven policy preferences for the plain meaning of the state Constitution and the expressed will of Californians. The opinion dismisses the argument that there is a compelling state interest in conducting the recall in accordance with the procedures set forth in the California Constitution -- perfectly exemplifying these judges' utter contempt for both the law and the democratic process. If judges don't see the value of going "by the book" in interpreting the election laws, what are the laws there for in the first place? And by the way, the punch card ballots that the judges find to violate the Equal Protection clause were objectionable to no one in last year's gubernatorial election.

[Doug Gamble] 9:37 am
If there's a downside to the recall it's that it brought Bill Clinton into the state to spread the same kind of fertilizer he inflicted on the country for eight years. And as if it isn't bad enough that he's still lying, he even lies in church. | Telling a Los Angeles congregation that Gray Davis faces recall because he angered people by making tough decisions is the exact opposite of the truth. The fact is, Davis has always been the kind of “leader" who confronts problems by doing nothing and hoping they'll go away by themselves. The energy crisis is but one example. It's not his action that led to the recall; it's his inaction. | One also had to gag when Clinton referred to the recall as a right wing power grab. This from a man who will do all he can to engineer his wife's capture of the White House including, if necessary, undermining next year's Democratic nominee -- assuming it isn't Hillary Clinton -- to leave the way clear for her presidential run in 2008. | And just a note about a Democrat double standard. If a Republican so much as says, "God bless you" when someone sneezes, Democrats scream about a violation of the separation of church and state. Yet an ex-president and a current governor can openly campaign IN a church and there's not a peep.

[Carol Platt Liebau] 5:30 am
Straw Poll: It was heartening to have a chance to spend some time with the people attending the California Republican Convention -- the backbone of the party. And after all the overheated press coverage about a disastrous Republican "split," it was reassuring to experience first-hand the overwhelming enthusiasm and support for the candidacy of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Compared to the rapturous reception Arnold received earlier in the day, the applause for Tom McClintock's after-dinner speech was polite, but restrained. Even many of those who agree with McClintock wholeheartedly on the issues openly voice frustration with him, and express concern that his stubbornness in refusing to unify the party will destroy his political career. It's a waste -- he's giving up the gratitude and good will of virtually all California Republicans along with his chances for higher office down the road, all for the transient satisfaction of 15 minutes in the press spotlight and the opportunity to pummel Arnold for insufficient conservatism. All for naught -- judging from what I saw Saturday night, he isn't anywhere close to enjoying majority support, even from his own party's truest believers.

9/13/03 [Saturday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 4:40 pm
Last Ditch: How ironic it would be if Gray Davis were to be rescued from the recall by the federal courts! He has repeatedly called the recall "undemocratic" -- presumably, a reprieve from the least representative branch of government would be the opposite. To hear the Democrats complain about Bush v. Gore, one would hardly suspect that their usual course of action is to appeal to the courts to override the people's will when they don't agree with it -- whether on Proposition 187, gay rights, affirmative action or a host of other controversial social issues. Of course, Bush v. Gore is much different than the case at hand -- there, the Supreme Court forbade the Florida Supreme Court from rewriting the rules after the game was over; here, a three judge panel may be looking to call off the game before it begins because it looks like their guy is going to lose.

[Streetsweeper] 3:40 pm
Eastman Predicts 9th Too: Claremont's John Eastman emailed CRO to let us know that he made the same observation as Tony Quinn (below) in a post at The Remedy.

[Tony Quinn - via email] 11:30 am
9th Circuit Ruling Prediction: The three judge panel of the 9th Circuit gave every indication it will rule for the ACLU and cancel the election (until March perhaps). Judge Harry Pregerson (Carter) is a long time judicial activist and results oriented liberal. The second judge is from Montana so what does he care. The third could dissent. The basis will be Bush v. Gore and they will challenge the US Supreme Court to in effect overrule its own decision on the equal protection issue.

[Doug Gamble] 12:08 am
Rumors: There are 10 rumors circulating at this weekend's GOP state convention in Los Angeles, but don't hold me to their veracity...

1: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Cruz Bustamante have cut a deal. California will remain in the U.S. but Tom McClintock will become part of Mexico.
2: Bustamante suggested a MEChA-inspired slogan for the Schwarzenegger campaign: "For Arnold supporters, everything -- for McClintock supporters, nothing."
3: Schwarzenegger is pushing for Proposition 54 to be paired with a proposition calling for an accent-blind society.
4: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will rule that the election should be postponed because Schwarzenegger's pronunciation of "California" is so strange, some voters might be confused as to what state they live in.
5: Asked if he ever argues with his wife, Schwarzenegger said only if Maria submits her questions in advance.
6: Asked why he refuses to use an ATM, McClintock said it's because of his pledge to never withdraw.
7: McClintock's car was parked in the space reserved for Schwarzenegger's Hummer. GOP officials tried to get McClintock to move his car but he refused to pull out.
8: Peter Ueberroth was spotted wearing a Medic-Alert bracelet giving instructions about what to do in the event he's ever found conscious.
9: Another Schwarzenegger magazine interview surfaced in which he said he thought Proposition 13 was a line used to pick up women after the first 12 lines failed.
10: Schwarzenegger was overheard saying California should never be part of Mexico, but as governor he would give Bustamante's stomach its own zip code.

9/12/03 [Friday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:40 am
Bruce? This morning Hugh Hewitt is calling on Bruce Herschensohn to come out and support Arnold... Basically asking the dean of conservative state politics to tell Tom to step down. Well, that’s an interesting tactic... Might work. I’ll tell you what’s starting to really bother me now... I don’t want to see this election go down with McClintock still in the race and Bustamante becoming governor. Why? Because that’s the end of Tom McClintock. He becomes a spoiler and a has-been. I want GREAT things from Tom. He has the opportunity to be the king-maker and assume the role of absolute leader of state conservatives... I guess I want the “Shadow Governor” to stay the Shadow Governor...for a while...

[Carol Platt Liebau] 5:15 am
Gender Gap? The New York Times and other media outlets have reported on a purported "gender gap" with women favoring Cruz Bustamante over Arnold by a 13-point margin. CRO asked some of California's best political minds to assess the credibility of these "gender gap" reports, and their answers follow:

[George Neumayr - Managing Editor, American Spectator] Liberal Republicans often boast that their "inclusive" views don't alienate women. So why isn't Schwarzenegger doing better with them? This irony also appeared in Richard Riordan's primary campaign last year. Despite Riordan's women-like-me-because-I'm-pro-abortion babblings, Republican women defected from him in droves.

[Tony Quinn - noted political analyst] There is a gender gap between Schwarzenegger and Bustamante, but it is not meaningful. More women are core Democrats than men in California. This is reflective of the national trend of women voting more heavily Democratic than men. Bustamante is getting the Democratic base vote at present, and little beyond the base. It makes sense he would get a larger women's vote because of their presence among core Democrats. However, this race will evolve into a two person contest, between Schwarzenegger and Bustamante. As that happens, more moderate women will begin making up their minds and the gender gap will disappate although not entirely disappear.

[Frank Pastore - philosopher, talk radio host] Not seeing the questions that were asked of the ladies for myself, my hunch would be this is all about abortion. C'mon. It can't be about sex appeal, or alpha males, or gravitas. If so, there are a lot of women in California turned on by short, balding betas.

[Jon Coupal - President, Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Assoc.] First of all, I think both the New York Times and the Field poll are suspect. The former by design, the latter by neglect. If there is a gender gap, I suspect it will close as soccer moms realize that Arnold will leave them more money in their budgets at the end of the month.

[Martha Montelongo talk radio host KION] The gender gap is a retread story, a non-story consistent about men and women, Republicans and Democrats. The New York Times is looking to make a story where there is none while they conveniently ignore more important and significant poll numbers including 72% of the voters being concerned about taxes, which Bustamante has promised he will raise, with love, of course, and 60% being concerned about immigration including the bill which Bustamante approves of, to allow illegal immigrants to get drivers licenses.

[Jill Stewart - Political Columnist Capitol Punishment] Republican statewide candidates have faced this gender gap for several years now. The early figures seem to show that Schwarzenegger is not suffering from the gender gap as much as, say, Bill Simon or Dan Lungren did. That makes sense since Schwarzenegger is very big on education and the environment, big issues for women. In most other states, married women tend to be Republicans. But in unusual California, these moderate women shifted to the Democratic party some years ago over discomfort with the rise of the very vocal right-wing in the California Republican Party. Although the right-wing of the party appears to represent only about 1 in 3 Republican voters (at least from numbers I saw recently), the far-right is far noisier, far more willing to go negative, and has really become the tail that wags the dog for California Republicans. Married women will not migrate back to the Republicans, their natural home in most states, until moderate Republican leaders take back control. One key change needed to close this now longtime gender gap in California: the constant Democratic refrain that Republicans will take away a woman's choice. That argument would have to be nullified by moderate Republicans who get abortion off the state party's agenda. Speaking as a fiscally conservative Democrat who is pro-choice, I believe the Democratic Party's use of choice to win elections shows how bankrupt the party's platform has become. No governor of California, no matter how conservative, has ever threatened choice since 1973, and no governor ever will. Indeed, if memory serves, it was none other than Ronald Reagan who introduced the first laws in California to liberalize off-limit abortions in the late 1960s or early 1970s, by requiring the state of California for the first time to take such issues as the health of the woman into consideration. The Democratic leadership is lying on this issue. No Republican governor could threaten choice. But, and this is key, IT WORKS, clearly works, with working women. The California Republicans will never be able to change that now deeply-held belief. Their only hope is to face reality and get this albatross, a non-state issue, off their plate.

[Glenn Ellmers - Director of  Research, Claremont Institute] I don't think the gender gap has to do with the recall, per se. There has been a gender gap built into our political system ever since the rise of the welfare state. (The gap may be smaller or larger depending on particular circumstances.) The party of big government is often seen as a substitute for a husband among unmarried women--who favor, and benefit from, expansive aid programs; and who also respond to liberal rhetoric about "compassion," "caring," etc., rather than to conservative rhetoric about individual rights and fiscal responsibility. Note that gap shrinks to little or nothing among married women--who are more conservative, even generally pro-life. The phenomenon might more accurately be called a "marriage gap." More particularly, I think the Oui article and the related allegations hurt Arnold, at least a little, among women.

9/11/03 [Thursday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 9:15 am
Conservative Dilemma: Some Republicans supporting Tom McClintock, like our own esteemed contributor Doug Gamble, seem to believe that the worst case scenario is "postponing" a Republican victory until January 2007. Nothing could be further from the truth. In this case, a victory delayed will be a victory denied for a long, long time. If Republicans are able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, even the most committed partisans will be so dispirited that they will not rally back for a long time to come. And it's hard to attract centrist or swing voters (necessary in a state with 10% more Democrats than Republicans) to a party that's become a laughingstock. Those who figure that things will only get worse under Cruz, thereby making the state even riper for a Republican takeover down the road, discount the probable effect of providing drivers' licenses to illegal aliens. Even more significantly, they flirt with the same kind of twisted political rationalizing for which Democrats were quite rightly condemned when their private conversation was broadcast throughout the state Capitol -- being willing to let California's people suffer in the short term for their own political gain in the longer term.

[Streetsweeper] 7:40 am
The real MEChA problem: In a letter to the editor of the Fresno Bee, Victor David Hanson rebutted a hostile review of his book Mexifornia. He touches on the issue of MEChA and the sort of dopey ideologies that promote separatism over achievement. [In truth, the strident activism and goofy manifestos of the past from the La Raza ("the Race") and MEChA movements ("We are a bronze people with a bronze culture;" "For la Raza everything; for those outside la Raza, nothing;" "The liberation of AZTLAN, meaning self-determination of our people in this occupied state and the physical liberation of our land") were always themselves racist in nature. | And so once appeased, they logically helped to lead to counterproductive and now failed bilingual education programs, racially separate graduation ceremonies and theme dormitories -- and elite racial lobbyists and self-appointed representatives -- but not necessarily to rapid parity for the children of immigrants in education, income and influence, which can only result from the proven successful American formula of legality, assimilation, intermarriage, integration and full acceptance of an American identity.]

[Streetsweeper] 6:45 am
Hewitt on the Times:
Contributor Hugh Hewitt has a piece at the Weekly Standard today about the Los Angeles “Tammany" Times. At his site, here’s how he sums up the state’s newspaper of record - [The slow withering of this and other newspapers is an unfortunate thing --a real newspaper might have prevented the Governor from issuing driver's license to illegal aliens, an extraordinary shrugging off of national security considerations in order to score political points.  But the Times takes its cues from the Sacramento political class, and does not discomfit that class no matter how high the stakes.]

[found in the ebag - reader Carol Driesen] 5:55 am
Dear Mr. Coupal: I have been very upset to hear commercials by your organization endorsing Arnold for governor. I understand that he has supported Prop. 13, which is fine, but from his very first statement he has indicated his support for more government programs. Of course, he wanted us all to support after-school programs, which cost a great deal. He also said (paraphrase) that we should "do everything" for the children and, by implication, for anyone else. He doesn't seem to have any firm grasp of the issues and has even put off answering pertinent questions until he has had time to think them over. | In contrast, Tom McClintock is obviously on top of all the important issues. Even the liberal press acknowledged that he was the best of the debaters. He has a history of fiscal conservatism. I think Arnold should back off and allow Tom to be the sole Republican candidate. We certainly don't need another RINO a la Jeffords. | Please reconsider your stand or at least stop the advertising on Arnold's behalf. I have always supported Prop. 13 and HJTA, but this is really too bad.

9/10/03 [Wednesday]

[Doug Gamble] 6:55 am
Petered out: That loud thud you heard was the Peter Ueberroth campaign laying a gigantic egg. Ueberroth is a good and accomplished man, but running a campaign that risked a lawsuit for unfair competition from a sleeping pill manufacturer gave him no chance from the beginning. | It's one thing to declare yourself anti-soundbite but quite another to be so dull and uninspirational that voters are not inclined to listen to your ideas. You can have the best ideas in the world, but if you lack the means to effectively communicate them you might as well have none at all. | With Ueberroth out the pressure on Tom McClintock to pack it in and leave the GOP field to Arnold Schwarzengegger is going to increase day by day. I hope McClintock hangs tough. He is not only the sole conservative in the race but also the only candidate willing to lay out his principles and stick with them. If the choice is just between Cruz Bustamante and Schwarzengger, it's a choice between a leftist candidate and a not-quite-so-leftist candidate. Even if it means postponing a Republican in the governor's office until January of 2007, those of us who do not embrace watered down Republicanism need a horse in this race.

[Streetsweeper] 6:45 am
This is the Shadow Governor's statement on Petey's departure: “I am personally saddened to hear of Peter Ueberroth’s decision to withdraw from this race. He is an exceptionally qualified and capable candidate whose expertise will be missed in this campaign. | “His withdrawal intensifies my resolve to stay the course. It is essential that the people of California have a candidate who knows and understands the complexities of state government and who has the determination to defeat the spending lobby that controls it | “Those who supported Peter Ueberroth are serious voters who supported a serious candidate – and I would welcome their support in the days ahead.”

9/9/03 [Tuesday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:40 am
Sorry, Tom: The Assembly Progressives slipped a shiv into Tom McClintock’s back by voting down his bill to create a commission which would realign state agencies to eliminate redundancy and close wasteful agencies, boards and facilities.... How did the Progressives ever let this legislation out of committee anyway? Close down any part of government? Nonsense. Well, for sure this is a move to take out some wind from the Shadow Governor’s sails... Arnie would be smart to be outraged at the Assembly’s vote and come to the defense of Tom’s bill – it would be a good signal, y’all.

[Carol Platt Liebau] 5:35 am
Polling: The new Field poll indicates -- again -- that we are almost certain to have a new governor come October 8. Gray Davis is losing the recall by a 15 point margin. The question remains: who will the new governor be? According to the current Field poll, Bustamante leads Schwarzenegger by 5 points -- but then loses by 2 with McClintock out of the race. So it may hardly be melodramatic to say that, in the end, McClintock may hold the future of California in his hands . . . although not in the way he might have hoped. If nothing changes, we will have the opportunity to see, once and for all, whether McClintock's race really is about the welfare of California, or whether it's about his own personal success. Those who know McClintock opine that he's stubborn and determined and will never drop out. Call me naive -- in the end, I'm convinced that McClintock will do the right thing, even if it's not entirely for the right reasons.

9/8/03 [Monday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 6:54 am
Gray Unchained: Although a busy travel schedule last week precluded a column today, a lot has happened while I was away. Most significant, perhaps, is Gray Davis' decision to sign the bill giving licenses to illegal aliens. It's a calculated gamble for him -- he has decided to throw the center over the side, and hope that he can squeak through with only hard left support. How ironic would it be if his pandering instead resulted in a scenario where (1) Latinos who supported the bill no longer feel any real compulsion to come out and vote; or (2) the signing of the bill precipitates such a swelling of ethnic pride and awareness among the Latinos who supported it that they decide they'd rather "skip the middle man" and have Bustamante as governor rather than Davis? As the week progresses, it will be interesting to see what other pieces of lunatic left legislation Davis decides to sign. He probably figures that he has nothing to lose -- either he gains enough support that he beats the recall, or he leaves the state in such a mess that he virtually guarantees that it will be difficult for his successor to be successful. The only factor that is totally irrelevant to Davis' calculations? The welfare of the California electorate.

9/6/03 [Saturday]

[Doug Gamble] 8:55 am
The Groupie Vote: If there was any doubt that we live in a celebrity-obsessed culture, Arnold Schwarzenegger's run for governor has put it to rest. | How else to explain the fact that all-news networks CNN, MSNBC and the Fox News Channel have been breaking away from regular programming to cover Schwarzenegger live every time he opens his mouth in public? This coverage can't be based on policy pronouncements because the actor has made few of substance since his entry into the race a month ago. Why should his appearances garner more camera time than those of the other, more substantial candidates? The answer can be summed up in one word: celebrity. | The same with the public's reaction when Schwarzenegger shows up at a venue. The squealing throngs of teenagers and crowds of adoring adults have virtually nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the actor's fame. If he wins this election it will be because our society has become so star-struck that celebrity trumps all else, including political experience and principled positions such as those held by Tom McClintock. | The recall election, if it goes to the second half of the ballot, will be a test of whether the voters of California are sophisticated enough to elect a serious candidate to tackle serious problems, or whether they're no more than members of a fan club.

9/5/03 [Friday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:15 am
Neumayr Flees: One of our very favorite commentators on California politics and culture has left the state and is now trapped in the DC Beltway. George Neumayr is now the managing editor of The American Spectator. This is – of course – a big deal. For those not paying attention, Rush Limbaugh has been reading Neumayr’s Op-Eds on the California Recall in their totality for the last few weeks. Neumayr is an official player. George, best wishes from CRO.

[Streetsweeper] 7:08 am
Well, he may not be the ideal candidate for conservatives, but you gotta like the attitude quoted in the WaPo ["I'm going to go to Sacramento and reform politics as we know it … if the special interests push me around, I'll push back."] Hey, this state could use a big shoving match. Mr. S, you can start with Jackie Goldberg and John Burton...

9/4/03 [Thursday]

[Streetsweeper] 6:09 am
Prop 13 in the Crosshairs:
So, Leon Panetta is on board with Lord “Bengal” Gray heading up an emergency panel to structurally reform the state’s finances. Uh...the first reform should be to throw out all the Progressives, but somehow I don't think Leon's gonna do that...Of course, the first thing that catches Leon’s roving fiscal eye is Prop the Times [Panetta said the panel would put everything on the table in its discussions, including the Proposition 13 cap on property taxes, voter-approved spending mandates and the impact of regulations on businesses.] Hmm. Sounds like a Buffeting to me... Well, here’s what CRO contributor Jon Coupal had to say about that... ["How many times have we heard this before?" asked Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. "Whenever the tax and spend crowd starts talking about 'structural reform,' that's just a code word for 'tax increases.' We call on Governor Gray Davis and Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante to disavow these comments and to pledge to protect Proposition 13"] Oh, yeah, like that's gonna happen...

9/3/03 [Wednesday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:15 am
Weasel Pass: Priorities & Frivolities and Hugh Hewitt seem to think that Cruz Bustamante’s weasel comments are enough and sincere ["My politics ... have grown to a point where I'm a very inclusive individual, and all you have to do is look at the politics I've shared and the kind of politics that I've had," Bustamante said. When pressed a fourth time for a more direct answer, Bustamante said, "Racial separatism is wrong... You have to look at what people do, not just what they say, and I think I've demonstrated my ability."]. This may be sincere, but it is NOT enough. Using the current rules from the Playbook of Progressive Politics (as applied against conservatives), Mr. Bustamante must denounce MEChA as a racist, colonialist, nativist, exclusive and heinous organization AND that he must regret his past membership AND unequivocally state that he will not accept either MEChA's support or endorsement... Hey, aren’t these the new rules? Isn’t this how it’s supposed to work? Surely the blogosphere could write the script for him - then we can all make nice.

9/2/03 [Tuesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 8:30 am
LAT for Gray: There's really no sport left in pointing out the bias of The Los Angeles Times -- it's just too easy and too obvious. Why, in today's paper, are there glowing stories about Gray and Cruz -- containing no quotes from those opposed to them -- but the story about Arnold Schwarzenegger contains commentary from Davis operative Roger Salazar? Just more evidence that a once-great newspaper is now little more than a shill for left wing ideas, even at the price of its own credibility.

[Doug Gamble] 5:50 am
Where's Arnold?
Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't helping himself with those California Republicans still considering whether to put their conservative principles aside and vote for the actor as the best hope to get the GOP back into the governor's office. His decision to skip Wednesday's debate in Walnut Creek, barring a last-minute change of heart, may have him up the creek with undecided Republicans who want to see him engage the issues, and the other major candidates, head-on. | Questioned by reporters during a Labor Day appearance at the state fair in Sacramento, Schwarzenegger said he would be participating in only one of four planned debates because of scheduling conflicts. But what on his schedule could be more important than an opportunity to showcase his views to a statewide TV audience, a viewership made all the larger by recall fever? | Indications are that a significant number of California conservatives, tired of their party being stuck in the political wilderness, are prepared to cut Arnold some slack on ideology. But he has to show them something, and ducking debates is not the way to do it. If this were a movie he could use a stand-in for the debates, but it's not Tinseltown, it's politics. | With Arnold AWOL for Wednesday's debate, score one for Tom McClintock.

[Carol Platt Liebau] 5:44 am
Total Recall III: The "Race" Continues: The California recall election just gets stranger and stranger . . . just last week, voters were treated to the lurid details of an interview Arnold Schwarzenegger gave to Oui magazine back in 1979. The piece was filled with details of what The Washington Post delicately termed "titillating hijinks." | Newspaper editors everywhere pondered whether this news would impact Arnold's support among the conservatives he needs to win. They needn't have wasted their time -- a 24 year old silly interview like this wouldn't dissuade anyone who was otherwise willing to support him. | Over the weekend, Arnold's adversary, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante himself disregarded the magazine interview -- preferring to play the race card by calling Arnold "anti-immigrant" because of his support for Proposition 187 in 1994 (a measure that would have prohibited the provision of state services to ILLEGAL immigrants). Ironic, isn't it, that Arnold is being accused of being anti-immigrant, when he's an immigrant himself? | This is a poor strategy for Bustamante, because there are serious questions to be raised about Lieutenant Governor himself in the ever-perilous area of race. It was, in fact, reported this week that Bustamante has had a long affiliation with MEChA, a radical Latino power group that celebrates "bronze power" and espouses the credo: "For the race, everything; for those not of the race, nothing." | Many young people may join groups without knowing exactly what they stand for, and no one could or should fault Bustamante if that's the story behind his long association with MEChA. What he can be faulted for, however, is his ongoing refusal to disavow any of the radical, racially divisive slogans of this left-wing group.

[Streetsweeper] 5:43 am
Busta Plan:
Today's Wall Street Journal concludes with a choice observation about Cruz Taxalotte's budget plan [The higher taxes being pushed by California Democrats today will do no more to reverse these dismal trends than they did the last time they were tried by California Republicans -- which wasn't that long ago. In 1991 then-Governor Pete Wilson signed off on a $7.3 billion tax package designed to close a budget gap. Temporary 10% and 11% income tax brackets (historic highs) were instituted. The state sales tax was increased by more than a penny and expanded to include snack foods and newspapers. | The result, as GOP candidate Tom McClintock likes to remind voters, is that the tax hike produced less than half the revenue projected, the state's general revenue fund dropped by $1 billion and retail sales fell off a cliff. Over the next three years, personal incomes in the state fell by more than 5%, even while the rest of the nation was enjoying a recovery. In sharp contrast, when these temporary tax brackets expired in 1995, California's general fund revenue grew by 80% over the next six years. | Mr. Bustamante apparently thinks Californians are lemmings, ready to follow him off the tax cliff one more time. If they do, look for another increase in property values -- in Nevada, Oregon, Arizona and Idaho.]

9/1/03 [Monday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 7:54 am
Tender Sensibilities: Yesterday, Tim Rutten speculated that Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1979 interview in Oui magazine might be offensive to women. How interesting . . . after The Times and other major media extolled Bill Clinton's deft touch with the soccer moms all through the '90's, this concern seems delightfully quaint. After all, with a female population that survived the tenure of a President who was credibly accused of rape and who admitted to receiving oral sex at his desk in the Oval Office, it's hard to believe that the recounting of Arnold's "titillating hijinks" in regrettably colorful language is going to cause blushes to stain countless maiden cheeks. Why doesn't Arnold just come out and satisfy everyone by saying that what he did was wrong? He's conceded that his statements were "ludicrous and crazy and outrageous" -- can't he just admit that the behavior was too, and then we can all leave it at that?

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:36am
MEChA, we hardly knew ya: Stefan Sharkansky puts up a devastating couple of posts on The Reconquistador, Cruz Taxalotte, who won’t renounce his support for MEChA and its vision for the reconquest of “what the Mechistas call those parts of the southwestern United States that they plan to 'liberate' from the United States.” But Stefan goes an alarming step further and compares "El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán" with “The Twenty-Five Points” founding principles of Hitler’s Nazi Party. Dare anyone call this Chicano Nazism?

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:34am
Repudiations? Try this one on for size... While The Reconquistador should be repudiating MEChA he should also demand that MEChA - in turn -repudiate the anti-Semitic La Voz de Aztlan cohort group. But MEChA has refused to aggressively distanced itself from La Voz... You see, the struggle for Aztlan is no different than the "struggle of the Palestinians against the Zionist Jews." But, Mr. Taxalotte won’t demand a repudiation because, well... we can only assume... he must share that vision. Pure and simple. And don't miss the La Voz' post of Raza Unida Party group photo-op with Yasser Arafat...


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