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]
















Carol Platt Liebau - Columnist

Carol Platt Liebau is a senior member of the editorial board. She is an attorney, political analyst and commentator based in San Marino, CA, and has appeared on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN, Orange County News Channel, Cox Cable and a variety of radio programs throughout the United States. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Carol Platt Liebau also served as the first female managing editor of the Harvard Law Review.


Keeping Our Eyes on the Ball
The Recall is About California
[Carol Platt Liebau] 10/6/03   

True to the written and spoken predictions of the pundits (George Will, as early as August 4 and Hugh Hewitt as recently as last week), anti-Arnold forces have been doing all they can to make the last five days of the recall campaign as ugly as possible.

And it’s tempting to get distracted by the scandalous stories – each more sensational than the next – but that temptation must be resisted. Why? Because otherwise, all of us will do exactly what the Davis forces hope for . . . that is, forget why there is a recall election in the first place.

To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, “what a long, strange trip” this recall season has been. Now, so close to its conclusion, it’s worth remembering how it all began. Remember that Californians, Republicans and Democrats alike, set out to recall Gray Davis months ago because he has hurt the State of California – and all of us. Each month, our state is spending $1 billion more than it takes in, even though Californians sent $130 billion to Sacramento last year. California has a general tax burden that exceeds the national average by 24%, and a corporate income tax burden nearly 40% above the national average. Not surprisingly, California is rated as the most business-unfriendly state in the nation. Our state has the highest workers’ compensation costs in the country, expected to reach $20 billion for California’s employers this year. Since January of 2001 when Davis took office, California has lost 299,500 manufacturing jobs – 16 percent of our industrial work force.

Gray Davis has complained that his policies are being unfairly blamed for the crisis in California. But he is wrong. He is being blamed for having had no policy ever – except that of achieving his own political advancement, whatever the cost to those he swore to serve.

Gray Davis is being recalled because Californians have rightfully resented his constant, corrupt, “pay-to-play” fundraising. They remember the president of the California State Teachers’ Association telling the press that Davis had pressured him to raise $1 million for his reelection campaign. They remember that Davis accepted $251,000 from the prison guards’ union just weeks after giving them a 34% pay increase, even as the extent of California’s fiscal crisis was becoming clear. They remember a state board controlled by Davis approving Tosco’s release of toxins into the San Francisco Bay after he received a $53,000 donation. And they remember that Davis collected $25,000 from Oracle just days after the state signed a $95 million special contract with the company for software that hardly any government agencies could use (a debacle estimated to have cost the state as much as $41 million more than if the software had been purchased without the special contract).

Gray Davis is being recalled because Californians are rightly repelled by the uses to which he has put the campaign funds that he so avidly collected. Along with Democratic Attorney General Bill Lockyer, they are angry about the “puke politics” first noted when Davis compared Dianne Feinstein to Leona Helmsley in 1994, and which continued last year against Bill Simon, a good man if a flawed candidate – after Davis had poured $10 million into last year’s Republican primary to attack former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, whom he feared as a more formidable candidate. And they are rightly tired of a public official who has so little of value in his own record that he is reduced to smearing the records and the reputations of better men and women.

Gray Davis is being recalled for taxpayer abuse. During a period when inflation and population growth combined totaled 21% -- and revenue increased by 25% -- Davis presided over a 40% increase in spending. In fact, if taxes and spending had risen only as fast as population and inflation, the average Californian would be paying over $4,000 less in taxes. Gray Davis is being recalled because, while calling on average Californians for more taxes and more sacrifices, he delighted his union supporters by adding 34,000 new state employees during his first term in office – a larger increase than the next three largest states combined. No one can claim that Californians are being better served by our state government as a result; under Gray Davis, it is more unaccountable and arrogant than ever.

Gray Davis is being recalled because, when a deficit emerged as a result of reckless spending, there was never any consideration of eliminating waste and fraud or reducing the size of the government payroll or suspending state pay increases that have long outpaced inflation or cutting benefits that outpace anything offered in the private sector. Instead, the people of California have heard nothing from the governor but blame and excuses – and have received nothing but bills, most notably a tripling of the car tax.

Gray Davis is being recalled because, when an energy crisis threatened California, he found it more politically expedient to blame the energy companies than to take a stand that would have made him temporarily unpopular – and instead, signed us on to long-term contracts that will leave us paying astronomical rates for the next decade. In fact, our electricity costs are double the national average and the highest in the contiguous United States.

And Gray Davis is being recalled because he first tried to dismiss the threat of a recall as a “right wing coup” being attempted by a “bunch of losers” – ignoring the fact that 40% of the recall petitions’ signatories were Democrats. He is most definitely being recalled because, upon realizing that the threat was real, Davis signed bills that he knows will rend the social and economic fabric of the state – providing drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants with no security measures, signing a “domestic partners” bill contrary to the will of the people as expressed through Proposition 26, and possibly saddling businesses with the responsibility of providing health care to their employees. And he did none of these things because he thought they were right – he did them in a frantic effort to save his own miserable hide.

With a record like that, it’s not surprising that Gray Davis and his supporters have decided to smear his opponent. Yes, the last minute charges that have been made against Arnold Schwarzenegger are serious ones, and they will be investigated thoroughly, no doubt, in the fullness of time. But Arnold has apologized and seems willing to be honest and take responsibility for the offense he has given over the years. Given his honesty this far, I choose to believe him when he says that his “rowdy” behavior will stop – and if it doesn’t, you can count on reading scathing denunciations of him here.

But when you walk into the voting booth on Tuesday, keep your eye on the ball. Know that the power to hand David either a victory or a defeat lies in your hands. And you can’t do it by voting for Tom McClintock – that’s little more than a vote for Cruz Bustamante.

Vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Do it to show Bob Mulholland and the rest of the Democratic smear gang that their tactics won’t work this time. Do it to show The L.A. Times that it can’t get away with serving as a biased handmaiden to a Democratic governor. Do it to tell Gray Davis that his days as governor are over.

But above all, do it for the small businesses who won’t otherwise survive. Do it for the workers across the state, who are counting on having jobs to feed their families. Do it for the immigrants who came for a better life than they had in their native lands. Do it because California is a great state that deserves better leadership than it has gotten.

Recall Davis and elect Schwarzenegger . . . for California.

CRO columnist Carol Platt Liebau is a political analyst and commentator based in San Marino, CA.


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