11 October 2003
More sunshine, less Gray
From her perch in Toronto, Debbye's sized up the California results very well:
The American media tried their best to portray the recall as a circus and thus not serious; California voters knew better. This was a opportunity which could not be manipulated by the Party Machines however hard they might try. On a national level, the Republican party wisely stayed out of the fray and the state Republican party endorsed Arnold only in the final weeks of the campaign. The Democrat Party brought in Clinton, Jackson, Dean and Clark, among others, to raise the Democrat profile of Davis and try to play the campaign with an "us vs. them" strategy (props to me for predicting that bringing in Clinton would hurt Davis' chances) and cynical moves to postpone the recall only further infuriated voters who correctly perceived that, after complying with all the requirements for a recall, they were being railroaded by the Party Machine in ACLU clothing.
Of course, there are those who remain convinced that it was all part of an Evil GOP Scheme. For example:
Gray Davis may have been a poor governor and a lackluster leader, but the Republicans should have defeated him when they had the chance in a scheduled election. If Schwartzenegger wanted to be governor, there was clearly nothing that could have kept him from victory in 2002, sparing the state a costly and disruptive process, and keeping the extreme measure of the recall on a high shelf, away from the hands of any ambitious politician or party (and please, spare me the pious lies about this being some kind of citizen initiative it was clearly bought and paid-for by Republican insiders and stage-managed from the White House, and to suggest otherwise deeply offends the intelligence of anyone who was paying attention).
If the Republicans had had any sense, they would have come up with someone other than Bill Simon, a right-wing Walter Mondale minus the charisma, to run against the Gray Eminence in 2002; they would never, ever have turned to the likes of the Terminator. The initial recall push was indeed the brainchild of an actual Republican, but nobody is arguing with a straight face that there weren't Democrats anxious to see Davis given the boot, and considering the sheer number of wicked plots attributed to the Republicans in recent years, it's amazing how few of them have actually worked: were the GOP truly in thrall to Satan, I'd be forced to conclude that the Prince of Darkness was way past his prime and should probably be replaced. Or recalled, even.
Now when you see recall movements catching fire in other places that have been run as badly as California say, Zimbabwe then you can start to think of it as a trend.