NLT is not the only website with a lively in-house debate about how McClintock should behave in the last week heading up to the election. On NRO, Arnold Steinberg and Wesley Smith are having an argument similar to the one Peter and I were having here with Steve Hayward and John Eastman a couple of days ago. (Smiths piece is posted on the NRO Corner, on Wed. the 1st, so youll need to scroll down.)
Wesley Smiths take is to say that McClintock is positioning himself for statewide office, e.g. like running against Barbara Boxer in 2004. He knows hes not going to win the recall, but hes using his message and the free media to build toward next year or thereafter. Even though he is not conceding to or endorsing Arnold, Smith argues, McClintock has taken the high road by not speaking ill of Arnold. This is not an unreasonable interpretation of events. The obvious questions are: Could McClintock earn more gratitude -- and reciprocity for 2004 -- from nonconservative Republicans by conceding to Arnold to cement a victory now? On the other hand, how much does McClintock protect his fortunes and those of Californias conservatives against Arnolds being a disaster of a governor by not endorsing Arnold?