Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review July 30, 2003 / 1 Menachem-Av, 5763

Laura Ingraham

Laura Ingraham
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Gray skies just got darker | For California Democrats desperate to defeat the effort to recall Governor Gray "Skies" Davis, the strategy is summed up this way--ABGD.

That stands for: Anything But Gray Davis.

"The governor's advisers say they intend to shift the focus away from Mr. Davis's personality and his record to what they characterize as the 'right wing' agenda of the recall proponents," reported the New York Times. The ABGD fight is being led by by DNC attack dog Chairman Terry McAuliffe, who told the Times: "This is about more than Gray Davis. It's about an attempt to undo an election, like Florida." (When all else fails, go back to the recount!) One senior campaign aide of Davis candidly remarked, "If it's Davis versus Davis, he loses."

This anonymous Davis staffer revealed more than he should have about his boss: "He has spent millions trashing other people and has never spent any time, effort or money telling people why he was a decent guy. How can you rehabilitate the guy at this point? You have to move him off the scene and make this about something bigger."

The nauseating truth about Gray Skies is that he represents the absolute worst in American politics today: the politician's love affair with power over the what's best for the people. Davis's contemptuous reaction to the recall--a procedure first authorized in 1911 and included in state election law in the 1970s--once again demonstrates just how self-centered and negative he is. He defeated White House pick Richard Riordan in the last gubernatorial primary by savaging him as captive to the far-right. Ditto in his defeat of his general election opponent Bill Simon (who also ran a horrid campaign). It is no exaggeration to say that if Gray Skies spent as much time during his first term as governor atttending to the state's looming budget disaster and the energy mess, as he did in raising the $78 million for his 2002 reelection, there probably would never have been a recall.

Donate to JWR

It's wishful thinking here, but the only way for Davis to rehabilitate his own reputation is to resign, which would turn the reigns of power over Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, and make the recall effort moot. Each day that Gray Skies has failed to lead the California legislature toward a budget agreement has cost the state $20 million. (The recall election itself will cost the state an estimated $30 million.) By allowing an October special election to go forward, Davis risks not only losing the governorship to Republicans, but also risks killing any chance the Democrats have to recapture the White House in 2004. If a recall is successful, a Republican is installed as Governor, and the state shows ANY sign of fiscal improvement, California could suddenly become Republican-friendly again. If Bush wins California, he wins reelection. But none of this matters to Gray Skies, whose popularity hovers in the mid-20s.

Davis is instead reverting to the slash and burn style of campaigning that has won him election to state-wide office five times. But this time he's calling for reinforcements, including Bill and Hill. Bill Clinton, after all, was the darling of Tinseltown and Silicon Valley during the irrationally exhuberant 90s. Democrats hope they can get some of that magic once again--that the "Comeback Kid" can make Davis comeback from the political graveyard.

Don't stop thinking about tomorrow.

As Davis and his aides claw to remain in power, painting the recall organizers as "a band of right wing nuts," things in the state keep deterioriating. Although a tentative budget deal could prevent bankruptcy, just last week the bond rating agency of Standard & Poor's, dropped the state's credit rating by three notches--we're talking almost junk bonds at this point. Bring back Michael Milken!

What the political elites of both parties fail to understand is that you can only abuse power for so long. Eventually, the people will rise up and demand that their voices be heard. Regardless of whether this recall effort is successful, 1.3 million people who signed the California recall petition spoke up and demanded accountability.

Back in February, my Democrat friends were laughing at me when I told them that the recall movement was serious. They're not laughing anymore. They now realize that far more is at stake here than one state's discontent. John Kerry, who hopes to be his party's nominee in 2004, recently waded into the recall issue saying: "I would hate to see California be rash here and do something that is silly."

That is precisely the sort of arrogance that may just be the Republicans' secret bullet in California. As the Davis campaign strategists are talking about ABGD, voters might start thinking ABGD, too.

Anyone But Gray Davis.

Every weekday publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Laura Ingraham is the host of a radio show syndicated nationally by Westwood One Radio Network and the author of "The Hillary Trap: Looking for Power in All the Wrong Places". Comment by clicking here.

07/23/03: Sticking it to the Children
07/08/03: He's not invincible
07/01/03: It's time to take back the Constitution
04/01/03: Peter Arnett's MOAB
03/25/03: The Dems' Michael Moore Problem
03/18/03: Dixie Chicken out
03/11/03: The real predator drones
03/04/03: The French PR machine crashes
02/25/03: Keep us safe --- let's be more like Europe!
02/11/03: Hollywood loves dictators
02/05/03: First Amendment frauds in Cincinnati
01/28/03: The elites versus the voters
01/22/03: Playing (and losing) Homeland Security politics
01/14/03: What have you done for the free world lately?
12/17/02: Who is the better leader: Gore or Lott?
12/10/02: Who, more than anyone else, is actively advancing the cause of civil liberties around the world?
12/04/02: 'Tis the season to hope for the worst
11/27/02: The Federal P.C. Police Versus Small Business Owners (Cont'd)
11/19/02: Bipartisan moves to reward illegals
11/13/02: Eminem, a rebel? You gotta be kidding!
11/05/02: In defense of low turnout
10/30/02: Hell, no they won't go!
10/22/02: Where are the moderate Muslims?
10/15/02: California dreaming, cont'd
10/08/02: Slick Willie's running
10/01/02: Euro-worries about wall flower status
09/26/02: How lucky we are that the Straight Talk Express drove off the cliff!
09/18/02: What Jackson and Sharpton know about conservatives
09/12/02: The Today Show v. guns
08/27/02: Bush not attending the UN-sponsored "bash Amerika" conference!?
08/20/02: The NEA: Let the anti-American indoctrination begin!
08/13/02: Bubba's revenge
08/07/02: Bilingual bust continues its drag on our schools
07/30/02: Dems love for big lawyers=big opportunity
07/23/02: No time for vacation
07/16/02: Is Homeland Security all wet?
06/25/02: The firing season has arrived
06/18/02: Picking the next chief
06/11/02: Intelligence coup, with much more to do
06/07/02: The Bush administration's foul ball
05/30/02: Post-feminism in the aftermath of 9-11
05/23/02: The press gunning for Ashcroft
05/19/02: El Jefe basks in Carter's Light
05/15/02: Former presidents who don't understand the word "former"
05/07/02: Ozzy deified, many mortified, drugs glorified?
05/01/02: Bush: "California here I come ... sort of"
04/27/02: The good news about conservatives versus Bush
04/17/02: While the cat's away....
04/09/02: Preview of 2004: See how Dick runs!
01/29/02: A kinder, gentler human-rights violator?
11/27/01: Military tribunals provide streamlined justice
09/07/01: Scariest animal wears pants
08/17/01: Depressed after seeing uncut version of Apocalypse Now --- and for good reason
07/20/01: The other, maybe more important, news
06/22/01: Washington's pro-Bono worship is unnerving
06/01/01: Burying conservatism
05/17/01: Ashcroft's abuse of power

© 2002, Laura Ingraham