Jewish World Review Oct. 24, 2003/ 28 Tishrei, 5764

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Dems, beware! | A mighty struggle consumes the hallowed halls of liberalism. Liberals are flummoxed because, just as I predicted days after Arnold Schwarzenegger announced on The Tonight Show that his hat was in the California gubernatorial 3-ring circus, the Terminator won in a rout.

An "R" now follows the governor's name in a state that was the Democrats' sure thing for electoral votes. The LA Times anti-Arnold groping campaign failed, generating both votes for Arnold and canceled subscriptions. Gray Davis's edict of driver's licenses for everyone backfired as well - more votes for Arnold because he supported Prop 187, the voter rebellion to fix the immigration mess. Accusations that Arnold was anti-Semitic were laughable. Fuming citizens swarmed the polls because 135 candidates needed their votes.

The left can't get its bearings on California because, as with welfare reform, economics, taxes, perjury, and presidents, they lose the forest in the trees. Rather than own up to a slap-in-the-face defeat in California, the New York Times instead ran an editorial from an Austrian who was dismayed over Arnold's victory. Imagine the egg, in addition to the zinc oxide, on California surfers' faces after that tongue lashing, "Dude! Austria doesn't like Conan?"

The Dems battle mightily but they just can't take the pulse of the people. They are like self-proclaimed inventors who never quite get a patent. Their 10 presidential candidates cite John McCain as their model candidate. I wonder if they realize that McCain lost.

Time magazine's post-recall analysis, one of many liberal quagmires of mourning and confusion, entitled "The 5 Meanings of Arnold," offers parody that puts us satirists to shame. Arnold, they write, is a "Republican who sounds sort of like a Democrat." Their proof? The Shrivers joined Arnold for his victory speech. The Shrivers might have some pull in Berkeley, if the Peace and Freedom party candidate ate meat or drove an SUV.

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But the proletarian masses west of Cape Code, or much past 1968, for that matter, aren't Shriver fans. Time cited Conan's victory speech in which he pointed to wife Maria Shriver and said, "I know how many votes I got today because of you." Maria is a Dateline anchor. People in California don't know who the vice president of the United States is, including one of their candidates, former child TV star Gary Coleman, Ten bucks says 90% of those who voted don't know Maria is a Democrat, let alone what a Shriver is.

Time also concluded: "The national economy is failing, and the President is out of touch. He should be frightened by today's results." The recall portends victory for Howard Dean, "The former Vermont Governor is not the only one who sees parallels between the antiwar fury that has propelled him to the front of the Democratic pack and the economic discontent in California." Time closes with a chilling warning, "Incumbents beware."

Mr. Bush must be shaking in his boots. How does a magazine print such analysis and fail to mention that Republican red meat conservative Tom McClintock and Arnold garnered 62% of the vote in a state in which only 37% of voters are registered Republicans?

Earth to Time: The recall was rebellion against Draconian taxes. Think Twisted Sister and the Arnold campaign theme song: We're not going to take this any more. The tripling of motor vehicle taxes, a straight out-of-pocket fee, was the straw that broke soccer moms' backs. This pitiful introspection ignores the real meanings of Arnold, to wit:

Arnold is a famous movie star with name recognition. Most Hispanics were outraged when Miguel Estrada withdrew from the federal appellate judicial confirmation process. They thought Erik Estrada, Officer Ponch from the TV show, CHIPS, had been trounced. Arnold is their guy.

Arnold is happy and grateful. His oft repeated message was: I love California! California gave me everything! Name one happy or upbeat Democrat of the 10 presidential candidates. Lieberman sounds on the verge of tears. Kerry looks like he is in tears. Al Sharpton still carries Tawana Brawley anger. Carol Moseley Braun seems to be holding back hiccups. Wesley Clark is Ashley Wilkes with more angst. Dean is angry that he has to even run. He wants ascension.

Arnold is a fiscal conservative. He told his advisor, Warren Buffett, to take a hike when Warren suggested raising property taxes. Hello, Oracle of Omaha - Proposition 13? Buffett is right up there with Time on voter pulse. Even in Seattle, a seat of liberalism, voters rejected, by 68% to 32%, a latte tax that would have funded preschool programs. Hell hath no fury or hyperactivity like an overtaxed espresso drinker.

Arnold is neither devil nor angel. The footage of Arnold smoking pot and touching the backsides of dancing women is horrifying. But Arnold is no Clinton. Some of the footage and stories are 3 decades old. Americans see the difference between a president having his way with an intern in the White House and a weightlifter whose maturity was a long time coming.

Arnold is a fiscal conservative, a motivated and charming outsider who took 41% of the Latino vote, 20% of African American vote, and 53% of the female vote, more than Bustamante and Davis together. The meaning of Arnold and California is that Republicans win elections when Democrats make a mess with taxes and big government. Democrats beware! Heck, just wake up and smell the espresso tax!

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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2003, Marianne M. Jennings