Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Comment on the recall and Republicans

A reader, Dave Sheridan of Los Angeles, has a comment on the recall issue. It’s very thoughtful, so I pass along the whole thing, in case you missed it in the NLT Comments section:
"You’ve put your finger on one of the unfortunate truths about Republicans in California. Holding Arnold aside for the moment, Simon, McClintock and even Ueberroth are excellent candidates. Unfortunately: a) That makes four candidates to split the (minority) Republican vote, and b) The party itself is poorly organized to mount a grassroots campaign. The Democrats are organized. The interests backing them can mobilize their core voters, can talk up the recall in their communities, and have the tacit support of all the big media in the state. In the next week or so, the major money interests will decide whether to commit their resources to trying to preserve Davis, or to backing Cruz Bustamante. My money is on the latter, as that is the way the winds are blowing now. The unfortunate other truth about the California electorate, at least the majority not identifying as strong Democrate, is that we are uninformed and apathetic. This is the real reason the state has come to its current sorry state of affairs. That brings me to Arnold. He is not the ideal candidate from a policy standpoint, although it remains to be seen which of his new inner circle he chooses to listen to. Warren Buffett was an unfortunate choice, to be sure, but Arnold has conferred with others who are solidly pro-growth. Ultimately, he has two advantages in our current situation: 1) He is the candidate most likely to increase turnout for the recall, which is vitally important. 2) Whoever is elected must contend with a liberal and (if a Republican is elected) a hostile majority in the state legislature. Arnold at least has the advantage of being able to attract media attention, and not just from those on the Sacramento beat. The real battle for the "soul" of California is the 2004 elections that could begin to weaken the control of the hard left. The key will be, again, to engage the segment of the electorate that has traditionally stayed away from the polls, or who has voted reflexively along party lines. Arnold may be the person who can spearhead the effort to sustain the outrage that has led to the recall."

Discussions - 1 Comment

Nice analysis pointing to the main chance to defeat the Democratic strategy described in the Jeremy Lott piece linked earlier.

Bustamante is already looking like he wants to help out, but, more important, as his latest tax proposals emphasize, he can’t jump over his own shadow. "No on Recall, Yes on Cruz might make some sense in the abstract," but it also equates with "Yes on the Status Quo, by any means necessary." Bustamante’s strategy ensures that, for him to win, he’ll have to do so while representing a demonstrably minority position (no on recall). Outside of the unlikely event that he wins a majority vote, he’d have the exact opposite of a mandate to govern. In this and other ways, he presents to the electorate the prospect of a weak governor at a time of crisis.

Simon and McClintock are already identifying themselves as fire-breathing hard rightwingers of a type highly unlikely, in my opinion, to win an electoral mandate, and not very likely even to approach a plurality in a multiply split ballot. Figuring that the social conservatives already know Arnold has "problems" and that the social issues play poorly statewide, S&M are left to hit AS for not being sufficiently extreme on taxes. Simon hurt himself by firing off a transparently phony ad against Arnold on this theme as his first move out of the box. McClintock has an abrasive edge, and, like Simon, is trying to get people upset about the fact that Arnold, citing the possibility of natural disaster, terrorist attack, or other emergency, took the "grown-up" position on the no-tax pledge. For the broad California electorate, such criticisms of Arnold from the hard right amount to praising with faint damns.

S&M will be pressured to bow out, but I don’t think it matters. The two are acting like politicians - reflexively "going negative" right out of the box - and the state is sick to death of typical politicians.

If I hadn’t already decided, Dianne Feinstein’s asinine attacks on Arnold’s image (based on his movies) would probably have been enough to make my decision. Most of the time, anything that annoys a fatuous California liberal is probably worth doing. On this note, the FCLs are very annoyed by the recall, but losing the governorship and having the legislature exposed for what it is would really, really annoy them, and AS has the best chance of making both happen.

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