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]

















Xrlq - Columnist

Xrlq is proprietor of the blog damnum absque injuria and a sometime attorney. [go to Xrlq index]


Yes on Recall, Yes on Schwarzenegger
Tom, it's not your time, yet...
[Xrlq] 09/18/03

The time has come to get behind Arnold Schwarzenegger. Tom McClintock is a rising star, and may one day be one of the finest governors California has ever had. For better or for worse, October 7, 2003 is not that day.

I have not reached this decision lightly. Going into the race, I've long sensed that McClintock's views are closer to mine on every issue except abortion. So if this were simply a vote on the issues, which candidate can be most like Xrlq (albeit less snarky), then voting for McClintock would be a no-brainer. However, this is not just an issue-correctness test; it is a question of (1) who has the best chance of beating the Twin Terminators and (2) who would make the better governor right now. I have to conclude that Arnold wins on both counts.

As to electability, I'm sure there are some Tombots out there who still think the latest L.A. Times poll means McClintock can win. It doesn't. Set aside, for the moment, the credibility problems Times polls have in general (have we already forgotten the last one?), and the fact that no other poll has produced comparable results. Even if we accepted this poll as the gospel truth, it still shows Tom coming in third, not first. The only thing it clearly shows is that McClintock has the potential to blow it for Schwarzenegger and help MEChA-Man get elected, potentially ending not one, but two political careers.

Of course, the true believers in the McClintock camp will reply "Oh, but Arnold's a liberal! A RINO! What good is having the R next to your name if he's not really one of us, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah?" Hogwash. Arnold may not be a hard-core conservative, but contrary to his detractors' rhetoric, he is emphatically not a liberal or a RINO, either. This is a point that often gets lost in the "Tom can't win - Yes he can - Cannot! - Can too! - Cannot! - Can too!" debate. Here are some important differences between Arnold and the Twin Terminators that should not be forgotten:

Taxes. Arnold wants to repeal the illegal tripling of the VLF, and is opposed to any tax increases. You can't get him to talk about California politics for more than five minutes without hearing him rant and rave about how every booger you pluck from your nose is subject to one tax or another. Gumby won't talk about taxes. MEChA-Man, in the fine tradition of Walter Mondale, is actually promising to raise them substantially.
Businesses Fleeing the State. Arnold believes that persuading businesses to remain in/return to California is a top priority. As a successful businessman, he knows what makes businessmen tick, probably better than a career politician like McClintock could. Gumby and MEChA-Man don't appear to care much about this issue one way or the other.
Documenting the Undocumented. Arnold promises to do what he can to repeal SB 60, either by persuading the Legislature to repeal it on its own (rotsa ruck) or by pushing for a ballot initiative. My take is that we the people will obviate the need for either action by passing a referendum in March, but you never know. Gumby, of course, was the jerk who signed SB 60, even after vetoing others over national security concerns that mattered to him as long as his own political career wasn't at stake. MEChA-Man has supported such dreadful bills all along.
Tort Reform. Arnold stresses the need to curb malicious lawsuits against lawful industries. As a legislator, Gumby voted "no" on Section 1714.4 of the Civil Code, which prohibited reckless suits against law-abiding gun manufacturers. As governor, he signed a law repealing 1714.4. MEChA-Man does not appear to have taken a position on this issue.
Crime and Public Safety. Arnold supports the death penalty and the three strikes law, going out of his way to note that he supports the latter "without modification." Gumby probably still agrees with him on this point. Bustamecha? Who knows? But much of the Legislature is chomping at the bit to "reform" (gut) the law any way they can, and partisan loyalty alone dictates that Gumby or MEChA-Man would be under pressure to sign "compromise" bills Arnold wouldn't hesitate to veto.
Abortion. Arnold supports abortion rights generally, but also supports parental notification. Gumby opposes any restrictions at all on abortion. MEChA-Man? No details, but he certainly told Planned Parenthood what they wanted to hear.
Gun Control. Contrary to popular opinion, Arnold is not anti-gun. His general support for the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns has been clear since the 1988 Playboy interview, and during this campaign, he has expressly re-affirmed his view that the Second Amendment means what it says. Between 1988 and 2003, he has occasionally expressed support for "sensible" gun controls. However, the only specific gun controls he has endorsed are a subset of the laws we have now, to wit, the Brady Law (which originally mandated a five-day waiting period, while CA law mandates 10), the elimination of the private party exemption to the Brady Act (which does not exist in California), and the ban on "assault" weapons (which will continue to exist in California when the federal law expires). Gumby and Bustamecha have yet to opine on the Second Amendment or identify a single gun law they don't like.

Based on this, and coupled with the political realities of the day, here are the practical differences between what Tom and Arnold would do as governor:

Illegal Immigration. Tom would attempt to revive Prop 187 challenges, which may or may not succeed. Arnold, unfortunately, would not. On the bright side, though, Arnold does plan to hit the federal government up for reimbursement for the costs of illegal immigration, which are disproportionally borne by this state, which houses roughly one-third of all illegals. By making illegal immigration everyone's problem rather than just a problem peculiar to the border states, Arnold may be able to press the federal government to actually do something about illegal immigration. If he can't, we can always try another 187-based initiative, which will again pass handily (and which either Tom or Arnold could be trusted to defend in court).
Abortion. Tom would prohibit first-trimester abortion, while Arnold would not. If you think Tom can persuade Justices Kennedy and O'Connor to overturn Roe v. Wade, and can then persuade the California legislature to exercise its new-found power to prohibit first trimester abortions, then Tom McClintock is definitely your man. Otherwise, there's not a dime's worth of a difference between Tom and Arnold on the issue of abortion.
Guns. Tom would sign a bill repealing the "assault" rifle ban or allowing private parties to transfer guns without the background checks required of dealers (this is the so-called "gun show loophole"), while Arnold would not. If you think Tom can persuade today's rabidly anti-gun legislature to enact either of these laws, then Tom McClintock is definitely your man. Otherwise, there's not a dime's worth of a difference between Tom and Arnold on the issue of gun control.
Vouchers. Tom would sign a bill allowing school vouchers, while Arnold probably would not. If you think Tom can persuade a majority of this overwhelmingly Democrat Legislature to tell its biggest contributor to pound sand, then Tom McClintock is definitely your man. Otherwise, there's not a dime's worth of a difference between Tom and Arnold on the issue of school choice.

So what am I saying? That there's no real difference between Tom and Arnold on the issues? No. What I am saying is that there is a time and a place for everything, and right now is Arnold's time. It's not just that he is by far the more electable of the two; it's also that given the makeup of today's Legislature (and any Legislature likely to be elected in 2004), Arnold's agenda is the only one that has any real chance of getting implemented anyway. Once the fanfare has died down, either of them will end up pushing the same agenda, except that Arnold will do so more enthusiastically since he'll be asking the Legislature for what he actually wants, rather than for some ugly compromise he had to hold his nose to endorse. And if that sales pitch fails, Arnold's general popularity and his perception as a moderate rather than as "very conservative" will make it an easier sell if he does have to "take it to the people," as he promises to do if all else fails. McClintock can do that too, of course, but he'd face an uphill battle among all segments of the electorate except the RealRepublicans™ who elected him on a plurality.

Tom's time will come someday, I hope. If/when we ever really achieve "Total Recall" and replace our current Legislature with a more rational, center-right one that might be willing to stomach some of the genuinely conservative/libertarian-except-abortion agenda Tom McClintock champions, then and only then will we have a good reason to prefer him to Arnold Schwarzenegger. By then, whoever wins in 2003 will have been "terminated" by Prop 140. Let's save the "real" conservative until we can use one.


copyright 2003 Xrlq




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