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Carol Platt Liebau - Columnist

Carol Platt Liebau is editorial director and a senior member of tOR and CRO editorial boards. 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. Her web log can be found at [go to Liebau index]

A Time For Choosing
Vote Bush, and a Few Other Suggestions...
[Carol Platt Liebau] 11/1/04

As Election 2004 enters its final hours, one thing is clear ­ it’s not always easy to be a Californian.  Unlike voters in the “sexy” states of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and even New Mexico, we have seen few presidential election ads and received no visits either from the President or from his challenger.  In a word, we’re easy.  There’s no need to woo us, because California is an Electoral College “sure thing.”

Doubtless this fact is far more demoralizing for Republicans than Democrats, as our mountain of electoral votes will most likely benefit Kerry, rather than Bush.  Even so, there are at least two good reasons for Republicans and conservatives to get out and vote: (1) The President does need us, and badly; (2) Many important state issues, as well as a Senate race, will be resolved. (Thanks to gerrymandering, incumbent turnover in the U.S. House of Representatives, the State Assembly and Senate is so rare that it hardly merits discussion.  Even so, it’s certainly worth reminding those living in Congressional district 26 to vote for David Dreier).

Let’s start at the top.  Granted, given our Electoral College system, no California Republican’s vote is likely to contribute to President Bush’s ultimate victory.  But every Bush vote will help to do one thing: Increase the President’s share of the popular vote, thus subduing political opposition.  For the past four years, the President has been hobbled, to some extent, by his failure to win the popular vote.  Let’s make it easier for him this time.  Remember: Vote Bush ­ if we can’t help him win the election, at least we can still help him win a mandate!

Moving to state business, columns in this space over the past year or so (including Unconvincing, And Certainly Not Inevitable, Hey, Big Spender!, and Going “Mainstream” By the Numbers) have explained why Barbara Boxer isn’t just a lackluster Senator ­ she’s the greatest embarrassment to come out of California since the Chia pet.  Her latest ad, pledging to safeguard abortion rights even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, is vintage Boxer ­ combining utter ignorance of the constitutional and legislative process with hyperemotionalism and a large dose of disingenuousness (abortion rights are enshrined in California’s state constitution, and couldn’t be surrendered without a vote of the people, whatever the Supreme Court does).  Despite his frankly lackluster campaign and his appalling decision to repay himself for his own campaign donations without honoring his oft-stated promise to buy all necessary ad time, Bill Jones would, at least, end California’s Boxerian nightmare.

Key ballot propositions are as follows:

Prop. 1AYES.  Locks in current allocations of property taxes, sales taxes and vehicle license feels, and prevents local government money from being taken by the state legislature.

Prop. 60: YES. Protects constitutional protection for the current primary election process.

Prop. 62: NO! General election ballots would contain the names of only the top two vote-getting candidates in the primary, regardless of party (as in Louisiana).  Theoretically, in a Democrat-dominated state like California, we could end up having to choose between a Barbara Boxer and a Gray Davis.  Perish the thought.

Prop. 63: NO. Marketed as a way to fund mental health services, money derived from this 1% tax on incomes in excess of $1 million could be shifted to other uses, and will only drive high income taxpayers from the state.

Prop. 64: YES. Ruin John Edwards’ day ­ this proposition will help reform frivolous lawsuits, and requires that a plaintiff must demonstrate some actual harm in order to sue for unfair business practices.  Passing this one will give a break to small businesses, which have been preyed on and extorted by unscrupulous trial lawyers.

Prop. 65: NO. This would require voter approval of any legislation providing for reductions in various taxes.  Rather than requiring a vote of the people to raise taxes, this would require a vote in order to lower them.

Prop. 66: NO.  This would make the highly successful “three strikes” law more lenient, thereby allowing more criminals to go free.  What proponents of watering down “three strikes” won’t tell you is that judges already have discretion, in cases of minor felonies, to prevent them from being counted as one of a criminal’s “strikes.”

Prop. 67: NO. This would add a 3% surcharge on telephone use in California.  What next ­ are they going to start taxing air?

Prop. 69: YES. A 10% increase in traffic citations and other criminal fines would fund a DNA database that could help prove the innocence of those wrongly convicted. 

Prop. 70: NO! This would exempt Indian tribes from paying any state taxes if the state permitted any non-tribal casino-type gambling, and would require the Governor to offer the tribes 99-year gambling compacts with no limits on the number of machines or type of games.

Prop. 71: NO.  Marketed as “stem cell research,” this proposition would indeed provide funds for embryonic stem cell research, but would also create a $3 billion unaccountable government bureaucracy that could conduct cloning and other research.  Couldn’t this be done more efficiently through private donations?

Prop. 72: NO!  This is a referendum on John Burton’s out-of-control legislation decreeing that businesses with more than 200 employees pay 80% of health care premiums for employees and their families; businesses with 50-199 employees would be responsible for 80% of employees’ premiums.  Though it sounds good in theory, it’s tantamount to mandating a $6803 raise for employees of large companies, and a $2482 raise for those at mid-sized companies.  When profits disappear at the behest of state government, either (a) companies go out of business; or (b) they leave the state; or (c) they raise their prices (an owner of a McDonald’s franchise has estimated that to pay for this bill alone would require a 40% price increase).

The end of the long and winding road to Election 2004 is in sight.  Don’t forget to convert an undecided and then take him/her to the polls. CRO

Columnist Carol Platt Liebau is a political analyst, commentator and editorial director based in San Marino, CA. Ms. Liebau also served as the first female managing editor of the Harvard Law Review. Her web log can be found at

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