Doug Gamble- Contributor
is a former writer for President Ronald Reagan and resides
Oct. 7: Then what?
If Schwarzenegger bombs as governor, look for a full-scale
GOP civil war
[Doug Gamble] 10/1/03
In case you hadn't heard the late-breaking news, Republican
gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger just picked up
the endorsements of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth
Fairy. Attempts by a Schwarzenegger psychic to contact Mother
Teresa in the afterlife for her endorsement are on going.
being facetious, barely, but if Gov. Gray Davis is recalled
one week from today, it looks increasingly like his replacement
will be the movie star, notwithstanding the insistence of a
state assemblyman on giving Republicans a choice.
Schwarzenegger victory, what would it mean to the state and
to the Democratic and Republican parties?
state: A major impact, probably sooner than later, would be a tax
increase, especially since Schwarzenegger has been loath
to identify any potential budget cuts and considering the history
of the advisers he'll rely on for governing. Only a win by
Tom (Over My Dead Body) McClintock would keep the state government's
hand from plunging deeper into our pockets, and that is exceedingly
One thing it will not mean to California is another
recall election anytime soon, despite Cruz Bustamante's warning
that if a Republican
becomes governor there will be an immediate effort to oust
him. Californians are too weary of the recall process to provide
signatures for another election in the near future, plus they're
fair enough that the inclination, even among Democrats, would
be to give the new governor a chance.
A positive tangible of the
recall is that more Californians have been educated about state
politics than ever before in history.
Many who had barely known that Sacramento was the state capital
found themselves actually caring about a myriad of issues that
had previously been far off their radar. Perhaps this will
inspire something that has been sorely missing over the years
TV news coverage of Sacramento politics, the lack of which
has been a disgrace in the most populous and arguably most important
Democrats: A Schwarzenegger victory would be bad news
for any future gubernatorial hopes of Bustamante and good news
Bill Lockyer. The attorney general, who has been planning all
along to run in 2006, would have the advantage of one potential
major opponent for the nomination coming off an uninspired
and failed campaign. The shrewd and media-savvy Lockyer would
to be considered the Democratic front-runner.
Republicans: Beyond general satisfaction at capturing the governor's office,
the outlook for Republicans is more complex
because of what the Schwarzenegger-McClintock battle has done
to rile conservatives. Bitterness may linger among many conservatives
angry at the heat directed at their hero from within. And if
Schwarzenegger bombs in office, look for a full-scale civil
defying party bosses, McClintock could become the political equivalent
of the late Julia Phillips, the Hollywood producer
whose alienation of show business big shots and the price she
paid for it were chronicled in her book, You'll Never Eat
Lunch in This Town Again. I expect McClintock will continue
for a while to eat lunch in Sacramento, and liberals for breakfast,
but there are undoubtedly party honchos who want him to pay a
heavy price for the defiance he has demonstrated.
He will undoubtedly
face a challenge for renomination when trying to defend his
state Senate seat. Also, the future of the conservative
wing of California's Republican Party will be very much in
recall has included such surprises as its benefactor, Rep.
Darrell Issa, dropping out, Schwarzenegger getting in and three
judges temporarily derailing it. Despite what polls show, no
one should be shocked if there is one more big surprise - Davis
beating the recall and the campaigns of all his would-be successors
has written for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush
and other prominent Republicans.
Copyright 2003 Doug Gamble