Saturday, October 04, 2003
He'll lose some voters at the margins, but the voting public sees Governor Gray Davis' hands all over the assault by the Los Angeles Times. And why not? The Times has shilled for Gray Davis and the California Democratic Party since the present regime took power in 1998.
I remain convinced that Californians are desperate to turn out the Davis Administration and replace it with someone who will give them a new start. I reiterate: people opened up their Car Tax bills this month and saw that they had tripled. That is something real to them, not allegations of Arnie playing grabass with some gal on the set.
But one had to expect Gray Davis, facing oblivion, to fight tooth and nail with everything he had. Arnold knew he was going to get bombed; I don't think he understood just how hard Davis was going to hit him. A telling thing about the public response, however, are the crowds coming to Arnold's rallies: they are in the thousands. They line up at the small Inland Empire towns that dot the landscape of the center of the state to see his buses go through. This guy has made a connection with these people, and I don't think that the California Democrats, the Republicans, nor Davis and his patrons, the Clintons, understand.
A couple of personal impressions about this storm of mud:
Maria Shriver must seriously be reconsidering her political affiliations given what people in her party have tried to do to her husband. This is the man she loves, and the father of her children. Her own Democrats are trying to destroy him. I am positive that she never considered this possible. Now she has to deal with the true face of her Party, an organization that is in a desperate, mad rush to annihilate everything she knows.
Secondly, the press, or more specifically, the Los Angeles Times. When I was in California in July, I purposely refused to pick up the Times. I considered it then, and still do, a propaganda organ for the California Democratic Party. The squalid fashion in which this story was released revealed nothing less than the hand of Gray Davis. For some confirmation of this, read Bill Bradley's expose on the connections between the Davis organization and an individual who steered the Times towards some of Arnold's alleged victims.
This will be the longest 72 hours in California history.
Thursday, October 02, 2003
Personally, I think most of the major media is a propaganda outlet for one party or the other (mostly Democratic, but the Republicans have their own shill media, such as the Washington Times and the New York Post), exemplified by the craven partisanship of the New York Times.
That said, what to make of Arnold? If true, and that remains open to question, his conduct was offensive. However, what the Berkeley Barb veterans over at the LAT fail to recognize is that most people expect Hollywood types to act as monied jerks. It's part of how you get by in that town. What Arnold did early on in the campaign was to inoculate himself against an expected press assault by Governor Gray Davis' defenders in the media. On the Leno show and at other appearances, Arnold indicated that charges of womanizing would be brought up. I do not expect Arnold's campaign to sink on this, however. It will strike too many voters for what it is, an assault on a candidate by a fishwrapper shilling for the other guy. Besides, voters won't give a damn, and that's what the Times hasn't figured out. People just opened up their Car Tax bills this month. My friend Adam (known to veteran readers of this column as "Juan Domingo Peron" emailed me the news that his car tax tripled as of October 1st.
Adam also told me that he's going to register his car in Arizona, having bought a house in Tombstone. Another talented individual is leaving California, and that speaks volumes.
Meanwhile, in ScandalLand, our Andrew Sullivan reports that both the New York Times and the Washington Post are calling for an independent counsel to investigate the Joe Wilson scandal. Andrew agrees that the Bushies should accede, just to put this behind them. I disagree. IC's are unaccountable, and have unlimited budgets. I also believe that IC's operate outside of the Constitution. Their function is best performed by Justice, an organ that is accountable to both the Congress and the President.
My opinion? I'm not trying to be pollyannish, but I don't think that there's much there there to this scandal, which is why the liberals are calling for an independent counsel. I won't get into the gist of the scandal here, as National Review's James Robbins has done a pretty good job on covering the antecedents to Joe Wilson's 15 minutes of fame. One of the central players in the story, syndicated columnist Robert Novak, puts paid to the allegations that this story was intentionally leaked to him. Finally, it is instructive to analyze what these scandal bubbles are all about.
The Democratic Party as an institution made a conscious decision to oppose this President's conduct of the war by any means necessary. In so doing, they made a strategic choice: Democrats chose to tolerate the existence of terrorist states while buying into the consensus of warfare against Al Qaeda alone. Now to do this brings about the consequential risk of terrorist regimes, such as Saddam's Iraq or the Mullahs' Iran, obtaining some very nasty weapons and peddling them to the eager shahid that populate the bin Ladenist universe. The Democrats are willing to take the risk of undermining the rationale for war against terrorist states for short term political gain. That is the bottom line. These scandals are peddled to cover that bottom line, and as a sidebar, anyone who raises that issue is accused of questioning the patriotism of liberals.
Part of this plays into the skepticism of the left for the entire enterprise. I was speaking to my cousin, Marty, an editor on Florida's west coast about this. He maintained that the original criticism of the Noam Chomskys of this world had seeped into the mainstream of Democratic opinion to gel into a nascent antiwar movement. My take is that this is a bit of European social democratic thinking gone haywire when applied to American political conditions. Support for the war remains strong, and support for the President's interpretation of that war remains robust, as well. However, nothing can alter the fact that the Democratic Party's opinion leaders have chosen the path of appeasement. For this, history suggests that there will be a terrible price to be paid, certainly by Democrats and possibly by the country as a whole.
George W. Bush remains consistent, however. He will do what he will do because he is focused on one thing: victory at all hazards. Ersatz scandals cannot change that.
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
You gotta love Arnold Schwarzenegger. Today in Sacramento, he made a speech indicating that he would have an ambitious legislative agenda. This as Governor Gray Davis continues to rail at him, demanding a debate to "set the record straight" and whatnot. Arnold addressed a crowd of several thousand supporters, indicating that he would repeal the infamous car tax, work towards a freeze on government spending, conduct a government-wide audit of the Executive Branch, call the Assembly and the State Senate back into session to hammer out next year's budget, and repeal SB 60, the "Driver's licenses for Illegals" bill. In this speech today, Schwarzenegger went beyond platitudes and gave California voters an idea of what he would do in his first year as Governor.
He's given them a choice. Call it pitchfork centrism (with apologies to the Buchanan crowd). There isn't much that California voters will dislike here, especially as he has told them that he will work to prevent the Federal Government from opening up offshore drilling. Basically, what Arnold is doing here is offering movement as opposed to status quo. People want action of some sort in California. Indeed, if a reformist liberal California Democrat came along and started going on about government the way Arnold does, he would win going away.
However, if that were the case, this reformist liberal wouldn't be a California Democrat. This fact is part of the problem.
Davis offers more of Davis, and it is only now dawning on the Governor and the National Democrats that that is not what the electorate wants. For a time, Gray Davis presumed that Schwarzenegger was going to implode, as did many in both of the state parties. A lot of Republicans held back until they saw Arnold do quite well in his debate. Only in the last week (see post below) has support swung decisively behind Question #1, the Recall itself. The recall lead is anywhere from ten to fifteen percent, depending on which poll you decided to buy into. On the Replacement Election, Arnold has pulled out to anywhere from a five to a fifteen point margin on Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante. Cruz's negatives have gone way up due to shenanigans having to do with Tribal funding of his campaign.
A lot can happen in a week, but I'm betting that by this time next week, Arnold will be Governor of California.
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Just a few notes.
Ever so sorry about not posting over the past couple of days. I have had connection trouble, but now appear to have everything back in order.
One note on California. Arnold appears to be pulling away, no matter which poll you look at. The most remarkable poll was Gallup's, having Arnold up by 15 points on the Cruzer. Some folks, Weintraub, for instance, had some questions about the sampling. Gallup's defense and Dan's analysis of it can be found at the link.
Meanwhile, in Washington, the Press has little to do right now in the runup to the campaign, so it's time yet again for a Joe Wilson scandal boomlet. More on that, later.
Just wanted to let everyone know I was still alive!