Jewish World Review August 28, 2003 / 30 Menachem-Av, 5763

Greg Crosby

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The Last Gray Days of Gray Davis | And there they go! The California gubernatorial recall race is officially on. And what a race it is! California may be strapped for cash, it may be losing businesses, it sure as hell has lost prestige, but there's one thing it certainly isn't short on these days -- candidates to run for governor. I think I'm about the only one in this state who isn't running for the office.

With about 259,000 candidates in the running (okay, I exaggerate -- it's only 137,000) the days are looking pretty gray for Gov. Davis. We've got absolutely everybody in this contest from strippers to porn peddlers to 100 year old grandmothers to washed-up kid actors. And guess what? They're all looking a lot better than Gray Davis! Or to put it in technical political parlance, Davis is toast. And it couldn't happen to a better slice of white bread.

If there was anybody in this world who really looked like what his name is, it's Gray Davis. I mean, could the guy be any grayer? His hair, his clothes, his skin, even his personally -- all gray. And he painted the whole darn state gray to match him. Remember the "Stepford Wives?" Davis looks like a Stepford politician. Come on, doesn't he sort of remind you of one of those ghost characters in The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland? Every time I see him, I hear that song, "Grim Grinning Ghosts," from the ride. Next to Gray Davis, Al Gore looks almost human. I said almost.

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Actually we shouldn't be too hard on Gov. Davis. It isn't his fault that he's a bottom-feeding, blood-sucking, lying crook who sold California down the river and turned our $10 billion state surplus into a $40 billion deficit. He can't help himself - he's Gray Davis. That should be the campaign slogan for every one of the candidates, "vote for me - I'm not Gray Davis." That's all anyone needs to say to have a pretty good shot at getting elected.

Naturally, now that Arnold Schwarzenegger is in the running, the national press is having a field day. I find it amusing that up until Schwarzenegger, the New York Times, Washington Post, and other east coast papers and weekly newsmagazines had only a passing interest in California's recall election. It took a movie star to really peak their interest and make front page headlines and magazine covers.

Look for the media to pull out all the stops now in their attempt to tear down the "Terminator." Katie Couric has already started doing it on the Today show by asking a Democratic strategist loaded anti-Arnold questions just a day or two after he made his announcement. But all this will be par for the course, of course. The media, by its very nature, digs up the worst it can on popular figures. They especially love to rip into Republicans who may not exactly fit in with their own elitist left-leaning views on the world.

The mainstream media has been waiting a long time to get their fangs into a guy like Arnold Schwarzenegger - like ever since Ronald Reagan left office. Now they are so happy they don't know which way to pull him apart first. They've finally got another Republican movie star they can lambaste. Remember which film the media latched onto when talking about Reagan's movie career? It wasn't "Knute Rockne-All American." It wasn't "King's Row" or "Storm Warning." Oh, no -- to listen to the media tell it, Ronald Reagan only made one movie, "Bedtime for Bonzo."

They loved to show how Reagan played second fiddle to a chimp and they used that film to attempt to show the absurdity of his screen career. But in reality Reagan appeared in a wide variety of movie roles and had a solid acting career. As far as "Bonzo" is concerned, the film is a harmless, cute little comedy, no worse than some of the things Cary Grant and many other esteemed actors were doing at the time. So watch and see if the media doesn't try the same tricks with Arnold. You can bet you'll soon be hearing titles of crumby little films he made that you never heard before in your life.

I'm not so sure that in the end Schwarzenegger will make it to the governor's mansion. There's no such thing as a sure thing in politics, as we know, and an awful lot can happen between now and Election Day. Maybe another candidate will outshine him for the office. Maybe the public will latch on to someone else. Maybe Arnold will do or say something really dumb that will turn people off. Any one of a hundred things can happen in an election.

But there is one thing I'm sure of with every fiber of my being. In just a few short months Gray Davis will be no more. The people have already weighted in on that one. Chalk one up for the regular folks. We threw the bum out. The people of California do not require Gray Davis' services any longer. California's Gray days will soon be over, and unlike Arnold, he won't be back.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2001 Greg Crosby