Steel is the immediate past president of the California Republican
Party, activist, commentator, conservative stalwart and recall
proponent. Mr. Steel is an attorney practicing in Palos Verdes,
Recall Choice Really Between Tom, Bill, Arnold
[Shawn Steel] 8/15/03
The wild but wonderful recall phenomenon has acquired
its near-final form. The Oct. 7 ballot will feature scores, if not hundreds,
Californians vying for the highest office in the state.
not really true.
Only a handful
of those candidates will impact the vote, and only a few of
that handful actually stand a chance of winning. The choice
really comes down to three candidates: Tom McClintock, Arnold
Schwarzenegger and Bill Simon.
the choice will be a no-brainer; for many others, regardless
of their ideological bent, that decision is more complicated.
I understand this feeling completely, and have devised a checklist
of sorts I believe will guide the recall proponents to the
who created the recall would lose any chance of restructuring
state government if Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante were to eke out
a victory. Bustamante is supported by the same special interests
as Davis, special interests that have terrorized our economy
and obstructed reform movements.
is on the ballot, the electability of one of the top three
Republicans should be our foremost consideration. After all,
the point of this recall is replacing Davis with a reform governor
who will push goals of economic growth through lower taxes,
less spending, business-friendly rules and real workers' compensation
candidate must have voter appeal that bleeds across party lines.
this fall will need to adopt Ronald Reagan's skills in communication,
voter empathy and visionary leadership.
persona fused as a brilliant communicator is another key factor.
The recall's compressed time frame gives voters much less time
to get to know the candidates. The nature of this election
the candidate best able to quickly forge a genuine connection
who created the recall must believe the candidate sincerely
comprehends the massive outflow of
fellow Californians fleeing our state for a better living
environment. The candidate must understand what it will take to encourage
the middle class to stay and help rebuild.
Davis is recalled, the heavily liberal Democratic Legislature will remain.
Therefore, voters must consider which of the top candidates
commands the necessary charisma, craftiness, clarity of purpose
and force of will to push the Legislature in a new direction.
recall succeed, the new governor's most urgent task is restoration
of the state's economy. If we elect a governor lacking the
political and communication skills to leverage sufficient Democratic
votes -- or absent that, the willingness to obtain reforms
from the people via initiative -- California's economic train
wreck will continue, albeit with a new politician driving the
leadership is crucial for which candidate is most able -- and
willing -- to assemble a cabinet of economic-growth specialists.
Davis proved that simple-minded "experience" can
be the most harmful formula for running the state. Ronald Reagan
and George W. Bush have demonstrated the value of a visionary
leadership surrounded by able, supply-side economists who are
committed to economic expansion. Campaign resources are key.
no one is going to cast a vote based on the size of a candidate's
campaign treasury. At the same time, the replacement with the
best chance of winning the election is the one with a war chest
sufficient for communicating with voters as often as needed
during the next two months. The ideal candidate who can raise
the millions necessary -- or who is willing to spend millions
from his own personal fortune -- stands the best chance of winning.
we need a governor willing to invest significant effort and
resources into rebuilding his party and sweeping Sacramento
clean by electing pro-business legislators.
movement itself has invigorated a demoralized citizenry. Just
months ago, most people felt powerless. Recent polls show that
82 percent of Californians believe the state is headed in the
wrong direction. A recall victory must mark the beginning of
a political renaissance, or else our efforts will be mostly
will be the man who understands the roots of the rebellion
and can lead the charge against those who brought our state
its economic knees.
originally appeared at the Los Angeles Daily News 8/13/03]
2003 Shawn Steel
Shawn Steel is a co-founder of the Davis recall campaign and immediate
past chairman of the California Republican Party. Write to him by e-mail