Jewish World Review June 23, 2003 / 23 Sivan, 5763
Why California Dems are running scared
A political earthquake is shaking the ground in California. Its tremors
could extend across the nation, influencing next year's presidential
election, and changing the national debate about government spending.
Backers of a campaign to recall Gov. Gray Davis say they have collected
800,000 of the 897,158 signatures on petitions required to force a recall
If they collect the requisite number of valid signatures by July
18, California law requires there be a recall election in October or
November. (Davis' opponents have until September to gather the signatures,
but that would put off a recall election to next January or February.)
If there is a recall election, the odds are Davis will lose it. A recent
poll indicated that 51 percent of Californians support the recall effort, a
number that is likely to grow if it actually qualifies for the ballot.
Davis is the nation's most unpopular governor. Three recent opinion polls
put his approval rating at below 30 percent. Californians think Davis misled
them both about the extent of California's fiscal crisis, and about how he
intends to deal with it.
California has a $38 billion budget deficit. Davis plans to solve it by
borrowing as much money as he can; by raising existing taxes a lot; by
creating new taxes, and by expanding the authority of local governments to
raise their own taxes. This has won him the staunch support of public
employee unions, because any other governor - even if he or she is a
Democrat - is likely to look more seriously at the option of cutting
California is arguably the most Democratic state in the nation. Gore beat
Bush here, 54 percent to 42 percent. So California's next governor ought to
be a Democrat. Should Sen. Diane Feinstein (approval rating 62 percent)
choose to run, she would be a strong favorite.
But Feinstein and other Democratic heavyweights have a problem. A recall
election is two elections in one. Voters vote first on whether to recall
Davis. Then they vote on his replacement. The victor is whoever gets the
most votes. Depending on how many candidates there are - and who they are -
the next governor of California could be elected with less than a quarter of
the popular vote.
The dilemma for Democrats is that they cannot run without undercutting
Davis. State Treasurer Phil Angelides and Attorney General Bill Lockyer have
said they won't run. Feinstein adviser Bill Carrick said he did not think
she would run.
Republicans are under no such constraints. Rep. Darrell Issa, whose
contributions have fueled the recall campaign, is certain to run. Bill
Simon, who despite running the most feckless campaign in modern political
history, came within five points of beating Davis last fall, is another
likely candidate. But the favorite - should Feinstein chose not to run - is
actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Terminator has name identification it would take other candidates
millions of dollars to buy. He has no record for the famous Davis attack
machine to pick apart. Since Californians are disgusted with the entire
political establishment, being an outsider is an advantage. As a moderate on
social issues (he supports gay rights and abortion in most circumstances),
Schwarzenegger can focus on fiscal mismanagement without making liberal
Calfornians' teeth grind. And the last actor to run for governor of
California (Ronald Reagan) did rather well.
It isn't only California Democrats who lose if there is a recall election.
It would be the Political Event of the fall, sucking such oxygen from the
Democratic presidential contenders as remains after Hillary's book tour.
Davis will raise a ton of money to fight for his job. Other Democratic
contenders will be soliciting funds, too, emptying wallets that might
otherwise open for those seeking to oust Bush.
And if Schwarzenegger wins, his inauguration would take place about the time
the Democratic presidential primaries begin, diverting attention from them.
A Republican governor. Empty Democratic campaign treasuries. A diminished
Democratic presidential field. Lockyer called the recall effort "a profound
threat to democracy." That's hyperbole.
But the recall could be a profound
threat to Democrats.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com 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 Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a
deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan
administration. Comment by clicking here.
06/17/03: Rumsfeld's surprise
06/11/03: Credibility is lying in order to accuse your opponents?
06/04/03: Who said it's over?
06/04/03: Trans-Jordanians aka Palestinians must take cues from Iraqis
05/30/03: Our best and brightest are not at Harvard
05/28/03: Military man says he feels more welcome in Iraq than in many European countries
05/23/03: DISPATCHES FROM THE DESERT: Hard-won capture lost in a mix-up over papers
05/21/03: In danger of losing the peace?
05/19/03: Dispatches from the Desert: The truth tellers
05/14/03: They won the battle, but lost the morale
05/12/03: Dispatches from the Desert: Cavalry scout's skills include coffee-making
05/08/03: Dispatches from the Desert: Ammo boxes in trucks get attention of soldiers
05/06/03: Syrian border diarist: Only trouble in Iraq seems to be news
04/28/03: Loser generals : They shot (off their mouths) and missed
04/25/03: A war we could lose
04/21/03: The "Collaborators' News Network"
04/14/03: Axis of Weasels is coming to its senses?
04/11/03: Peace will be a mess
04/08/03: It's a mad, mad (Arab) world
04/03/03: Ah, the life of a war correspondent this time around
04/02/03: The difference between hopes and expectations
03/31/03: Iraq is a steppingstone, not a final stop
03/24/03: European media and former 'human shields' are beginning to get it
03/20/03: Was getting the UN involved worth it?
03/18/03: South Koreans no longer behaving as if they were the French of Northeast Asia --- why?
03/11/03: Ultimatum's moment of truth
03/11/03: Thank you, Turkey, we needed that
03/07/03: The fight against Saddam isn't a distraction from the war on terror --- it's is the main event
03/04/03: Bioterror nightmare approaching --- how it could likely happen
02/27/03: Iranian student: Can America hurry up with Iraq already, so they can get on with attacking us?
02/25/03: Yahoos on both the Left and the Right are trying to prevent government from maximizing technology in protecting us
02/20/03: Anti-war group gets it right about great humanitarian tragedy in last Gulf War
02/18/03: Iraqis: Why are these people marching for tyranny?
02/07/03: French kiss(ed)-off
02/05/03: Does the FBI have the ability to protect us from terrorists already here?
02/03/03: The "Axis of Weasels"
01/29/03: A bit of the jitters
01/27/03: The world's mediocre intelligence agency
01/21/03: By reaffirming GOP opposition to racism, president demonstrates willingness to confront liars
01/16/03: Why the United States should withdraw all of its military forces from South Korea as rapidly as we reasonably can
01/14/03: Federal incompetence driven by political correctness, not trampling of civil liberties, is what we should fear
01/09/03: Bag this boondoggle: The V-22 Osprey would hurt our national defense
01/07/03: Another Korean war?
12/26/02: Learning from Canada's economic suicide
12/24/02: A moral dilemma: Support a vicious fascist dictator or the poor and downtrodden?
12/20/02: Time to tell the truth: The great movement of blacks to the Democratic Party took place for economic reasons, not because of civil rights
12/18/02: Nothing better illustrates Trent Lott's unfitness for the post of Senate
Majority Leader than his desperate efforts to cling to it
12/16/02: Debunker mentality: It's hard work not seeing ties between Iraq and al-Qaida
12/12/02: GOP ideologues turning on Lott --- better sacrifice the leader than the party
12/06/02: Curing our democracy of afflictions
12/02/02: Conscription, like the horse cavalry, is an artifact of a bygone time
11/27/02: What Saddam faces
11/25/02: Why war with Iraq can be averted
11/19/02: A draft would harm the military
11/12/02: The 2002 elections and Nixon
11/07/02: Democratic overreaction to our recent "cosmically important" election
10/30/02: Show North Korea we're serious: Polish off Saddam
10/22/02: The squealing in the Pentagon is a proof of Rummy's effectiveness
10/16/02: The tactical challenge we face
10/10/02: Silence more despicable than seditious noise
10/08/02: Bu$h and the bu$ine$$ of war
10/01/02: Gore's calculated risk may well get him the Dems' nomination
09/25/02: Schroeder may find the fruits of victory sour
09/25/02: Making Saddam change his spots
09/19/02: Bush's resolve already has paid dividends
09/17/02: Courageous Iranians
09/13/02: If you never served in the military, you have no right to an opinion
09/10/02: Why the 'air marshals' will fail
09/05/02: Resurrecting the "Happy Darky"
08/31/02: Are Bush's inactions against Iraq calculated?
08/23/02: Dems can't take the minority vote for granted any longer
08/20/02: No proof of Saddam's wrongdoing? Yeah, right
08/15/02: Mineta's war on what?
08/13/02: When Gore said he wanted to be his 'own man,' what was he thinking!?
08/08/02: Picking a tree for Cheney's hanging
08/06/02: Fears about the Department of Homeland Security are misplaced
08/01/02: The greatest strategic deception since Eisenhower convinced Hitler the Allies were going to land at the Pas de Calais?
07/30/02: State Dept.'s anti-American actions
07/26/02: Journalists are making sure Americans can't differentiate between the stock market and the economy
07/23/02: Iran's is on the verge of a social and political explosion. So why is media ignoring it?
07/17/02: FBI isn't supposed to stand for Foolish, Blind and Incompetent
07/12/02: The ICC tramples on rights Americans take for granted
07/09/02: Was LA International Airport shooting, in fact, good news?
07/02/02: What the "intelligence community" can learn from Alexander the Great
06/28/02: Muslim link in Oklahoma City bombing revisited
06/25/02: A good environmental scare needs two ingredients - an impending catastrophe, and someone to blame for it
06/21/02: Stirring the security pot
06/18/02: Why the military is so messed up
06/14/02: Vast majority $68.7 billion proposed for weapons will be spent on systems of little use in the war on terror
06/12/02: Bush saw them and raised them, and he's holding the aces
06/10/02: Some heads need to roll
06/04/02: A new draft for the 'war on terror'?
05/31/02: So the FBI has finally caught up to our priorities?
05/29/02: Taking on common sense
05/23/02: Political terrorists
05/21/02: There is a great deal to fret about, but I've never been more optimistic
05/15/02: If there is a way for America to lose the war, Gen. Tommy Franks can find it
05/13/02: Impartial justice against Americans by the UN?
05/07/02: Want to win the 'war on terror'? Reinstate the draft
05/03/02: An expanded NATO is needed as a counterweight to the UN and the EU
04/29/02: Islamic 'smarts'
04/26/02: Did Bush play his Aces with Abdullah wisely?
04/23/02: Why peace in the Mideast is closer than ever
04/19/02: What the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank gained from the "peace accords"
04/17/02: Logical Muslim allies
04/10/02: How to guarantee an infinite Mideast war
04/08/02: Saddam's American friends
04/05/02: Arab winners and sinners
04/01/02: Why is the commander of U.S. Central Command not coming clean to the American people?
03/31/02: Dubya under attack … by conservatives
03/26/02: Saddam watch coming to an end?
03/21/02: Get the Jews!
03/19/02: It's time pols and gov bureaucrats be held to the same
standard of accountability we insist for corporate execs
03/15/02: Khaki Throat
03/12/02: Making foreign cheaters pay
03/08/02: Timidity and indecision by senior American commanders
03/04/02: Why 9-11? Ex-CIA officials come clean
02/25/02: Don't rule out a quick victory --- even if prez says otherwise
02/21/02: Saving our military from itself
02/19/02: Front Page fiction
02/15/02: Our European allies are like the fat kid who wants to play quarterback
02/13/02: Is the Army in danger of becoming "irrelevant"?
02/11/02: So, I "propagate hatred" …
02/06/02: Bush whacking the media
02/04/02: Why serious folks disregard the European Union --- and why Bush must, too
01/30/02: Give economy pneumonia in order to protect it from a cold
01/28/02: Media is its own worst enemy
01/25/02: Journalists making road to peace a bumpy ride, or: A case study in stupidity
01/23/02: Toward a stronger defense at a lower cost
01/21/02: How Bush could be Generations X and Y's Kennedy ... and guarantee a GOP victory in the midterm elections
© 2002, Jack Kelly