The Political Werewolf
If you know me, then you know I'm a big political nut. So, I've decided to add my own personal flavor to the realm of political discussion. We'll be talking about various issues - some of them having to do with current events, others perhaps more on a philosophical level. But in any case, you're free to respond to whatever you read here, either by E-mail or on the message board.
All righty, here we go.
We're Not Gonna Take It
I'm a big conservative. I think that's been pretty well established. However, that doesn't mean that I can't look objectively at the situation regarding the California recall, which has just resulted in Gray Davis essentially getting fired, and Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming his replacement. I think this is the sign of a sea change in this state, but honestly, it didn't have to be this way.
Let's face it: California is one of, if not the most Democratic state in the union. With liberal havens like San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley in our midst, not to mention a major population hub in Los Angeles, all the raw numbers favored the Democratic party here. As I mentioned before, there is almost a monopoly on this state from the Dems. This recall should've been a paper lion for them. There should've been no way a Democrat could have lost in this fashion. But there was, and in the process it exposed a major flaw in the party. Put simply, nobody ever points out when the emperor has no clothes.
By almost all accounts - including those from Democrats - Gray Davis' tenure as governor was an abject failure. By rubberstamping all of the legislature's wacko social programs, he transformed a $12 billion surplus into a $38 billion deficit. He botched the energy situation to such a degree that we might be paying for his gaffes for years. In order to save his job, he signed two poisonous bills into law, one of them an illegal tripling of our car registration fee, the other a green light for illegal immigrants to get valid identification. Everything Gray Davis touched turned to ash.
If I were head of the Democratic party, and I saw that the governor of the country's biggest state was fouling things up, I would've stepped in. I would've made the recall a non-issue. Or, more accurately, I would've spent more time looking for a replacement candidate. It was pretty much a given that Arnold was going to run if he had the opportunity. That known, I would've found a relatively moderate Democrat to run as a replacement candidate. Someone who could go toe-to-toe with Arnold on the issues, shore up the Democratic base, and keep the independents from bailing out on them. I would've told Gray Davis that he's making the whole party look bad the way he's run the state, and that for the state and the party's best interests, it would be best for him not to put up a fight in this recall election.
Under those circumstances, the Democratic party would've maintained their hold on the state. Arnold's vote was already being splintered by Tom McClintock. The population of the state was decidedly on the left side of the street. There should have been no way the Democrats could have lost this.
But they didn't do any of that. Instead, they went back to the tired playbook that they've been using for the last 10 years. They complain about a right-wing conspiracy being the source of the recall. They whine about overturning the previous year's election. They get a replacement candidate who's even more to the left than Gray Davis - even though it's plainly obvious that the liberal hegemony of this state is the reason we're in this mess. They tried to litigate the recall into oblivion. When it became apparent that Arnold was pulling away, they tried to smear him by coaxing women into charging Arnold with groping or fondling them.
What they didn't realize is that all this stuff was exactly the reason why Gray Davis' neck was on the choppnig block, and why a Republican ended up taking his place. Californians are growing tired of the left's monkey business. The fact that this recall election had a turnout that was nearly twice as big as that for the original election should be an obvious clue to that. This was a group of people rising against an inept governor and the party he represented, a party of platitudes, smears and hatemongering. In the end, Arnold wound up getting more votes than Gray got against the recall.
The two propositions that also were on the ballot both went down. Prop 53 would have mandated a certain percentage of the budget be spent on infrastructure. Prop 54 would have prevented the state from accumulating information regarding residents' race. I voted for them both, but it's no big loss for me. We won the part of the vote that mattered. We got rid of someone who will likely go down as the worst and most unpopular governor in the nation's history, and replaced him with someone who isn't tied to special interests and who will cut spending before raising taxes. I think this state is in the midst of a sea change, much like the rest of the country was back in November of last year. The old tactics of the Democratic party are losing their usefulness, and now we're starting to see the public lose their patience with those tactics.
Looking back on the recall, one thought stands out in my mind: It's amazing how people will get involved in politics that otherwise wouldn't bother when you piss them off enough.
Previous columns:8/27/03: Getting Rid of Splinters
7/14/03: Where's the Utopia?
6/30/03: Minority Reports
6/9/03: With a Capital D and that Rhymes With D and that Stands for Democrats
5/26/03: Where's the Harm?
5/12/03: The Ten Questions a Liberal Will Never Answer
5/5/03: Let The Fun Begin
4/21/03: It's My Money, Not TheIRS
4/14/03: Bush Won - Get Over It
4/7/03: Conservative Business 101
3/31/03: I'm a Celebrity - No War in Iraq!
3/24/03: Patriotism vs. Nationalism