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Jewish World Review May 1, 2002 / 19 Iyar, 5762

Laura Ingraham

Laura Ingraham
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Consumer Reports

Bush: "California here I
come ... sort of" | Los Angeles When I first heard that Pres. George W. Bush was headed to California for a two-day visit, I was heartened. First, GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon who is 14 points behind Gov. Gray Skies Davis in the recent Field Poll, needs the support. Second, since Bush lost California by more than 1 million votes in 2000 (and over the last several years, Republicans shut out across-the-board), Californians needed to know that the President wasn't writing off the Left Coast.

So the ballroom of Los Angeles's Century Plaza Hotel was buzzing Monday night. Even Rosie O'Donnell showed up at the VIP reception before the dinner. Fifteen hundred of the state's high-rollers had kicked in an impressive $2.75 million for Simon and the GOP, with the President as the star attraction. And when the lights went up, the CEOs and real estate developers sitting around me, jumped to their feet. A feeling of "We're back!" was palpable.

The President started off strong. On a day which marked the anniversary of the L.A. riots, he went where too few Republicans go--the inner city--where he met with minority leaders to talk about redevelopment progress since the devastating violence and looting that followed the verdicts in the Rodney King case. But of his 30-minute pre-dinner speech, he devoted only about seven minutes to Bill Simon and the specific challenges facing California.

And that seven minutes, it was just generic stuff. We learned that Simon is a "good man" with a "great family" and an "entrepreneur with a generous heart." There was a passing plug for educational accountability, and the need for leadership in energy (an implicit swipe at Gray Skies). But then the President quickly jumped to more comfortable terrain--his "we're-hunting-down-the-evil-doers-speech." By the end of the address, California's governor's race seemed like a footnote. Bush could have been speaking in Pennsylvania.

This is all wrong. To send California's GOP activists the message that the state is still in play, the White House needs to dig deep, which means confronting the reasons for the party's losses over the past ten years. Bill Simon can beat Gray Skies, but he will needs the support of a popular President who takes the time to understand the issues particular to this cultural melting pot--not a one who just makes a cameo appearance.


Countenance, v. Tolerate; put up with.

"I will not countenance incompetence on my staff," she bellowed.

JWR contributor Laura Ingraham is the host of a radio show syndicated nationally by Westwood One Radio Network. Comment by clicking here.

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