Skip to comments.Total California Recall [David Horowitz: Arnold is "the only possibility of a win for state GOP"]
Posted on 08/11/2003 9:16:06 AM PDT by RonDog
Total California Recall
By David Horowitz
FrontPageMagazine.com | August 11, 2003
From the outset the California recall was a bad idea for Republicans. It was a lose, lose, lose situation. Without the recall Republicans would have contended for an open seat in 2006 against a non-incumbent Democrat running on a crippled legacy. The recall introduced three basic possibilities into this mix, all of them bad.
The first of these would be a defeat of the recall and hence a win for the Democrats. The second would be a victory for the recall but the election of a Democrat to replace Davis, forcing Republicans to face an incumbent in 2006. The third would be a victory for the recall and a Republican governor. Ironically, this would have created the possibility for the worst scenario of all.
The victory of a Republican would have meant a conservative governor with a plurality of 20 percent. Even this would probably be optimistic since Republicans notoriously lack discipline, guaranteeing a full Republican field. Thus a conservative victory would set up a conservative disaster.
If Issa, Simon or McClintock had indeed won with 20 percent of the vote, he would have absolutely no mandate to govern. He would inherit a $38 billion deficit. He would face an overwhelming Democrat majority in the state legislature and the press. Moreover, being an isolated conservative with a small constituency, he would be unable to counter these disadvantages by going over the heads of the legislature and the media to the public to promote his agenda. He would have no popular base in the state. Thus, he would have no option to reduce the deficit by cutting the programs and payrolls fattened in the Davis years as the economy and state revenues were bottoming.
In other words a Republican victory would have led to the discrediting of fiscal conservatism and the prospect of twenty years of unchallenged liberal Democratic rule.
But the entrance of Arnold Schwarzenegger into the race has changed all that. Suddenly Republicans have an opportunity to take back the governorship, revive their all but dead party, and make themselves competitive again in the Golden State.
To understand this one must first understand that Schwarzenegger is above all a "modern" candidate (I borrow this term from Democratic strategist Michael Berman, who wickedly defines it as being pro-choice, anti-cigarette companies and believing that God is a tree). The last Republican Governor, Pete Wilson, if not entirely modern in this sense, was nonetheless a pro-choice, social moderate, He put together an electoral majority by taking two conservative issues which some modernists covertly support -- opposition to racial preferences and illegal immigration and forging a winning majority behind them.
Nearly a decade of statewide electoral contests since Wilson's retirement have shown that no candidate can win statewide office in California -- any statewide office -- who is not "modern." The insipid Gray Davis beat a pro-life typically starched Republican conservative, Dan Lungren, in a 1996 landslide election that took down the entire state Republican Party. In the wake of the Davis's tsunami, Republicans were left with two minor statewide offices. One of the offices was held by a crook, who had to resign. Now Republicans hold none.
Four years later, Barbara Boxer -- unpopular even with Democrats -- beat Matt Fong over the gay issue and with a phony but effective attack that represented him as an anti-environmental extremist. George Bush who is pro-life and does not believe that God is a tree, lost to Al Gore by a million votes in the same election despite a campaign of "compassionate conservatism." The Gore camp did not have to spend a penny in the state to win. Then in 2002 a hugely unpopular Gray Davis thrashed conservative Bill Simon despite droves of Democrats who sat on their hands because they could not bring themselves to even hold their noses and vote for the incumbent. These results should show anyone who cares to look that the California electorate does not resonate with social conservatism and will not vote for anyone who isn't "modern."
Another term for "modern" might be "cool." John McCain is a cool Republican and could have carried the state in 2000 if the Republican primary electorate had not preferred George Bush.
Now comes Arnold Schwarzenegger a fiscal and national security conservative who is the epitome of cool. Suddenly Republicans have become people that Hollywood not only wants to know, but already does know. And respect. With Arnold's entry into the race the political landscape of California -- and beyond it the nation -- has changed.
I am amazed at Democrats who have been quoted saying that Schwarzenegger can be damaged with references to possible amorous indiscretions and dalliances with Sixties recreational substances. Californians will love him for that -- or forgive him. I am more amazed at Dick Morris who thinks that Arnold's celebrity has peaked. It is only beginning. He is one of the few actors in Hollywood that the American public regards as serious person, a shrewd businessman and a master of his own image. Perfect credentials for a prospective governor.
I am less amazed at conservative Republicans who still don't get it (because that's actually what Republicans are famous for) and are still in the race. As previously noted, even if a Republican candidate like Tom McClintock or Bill Simon could win the plurality to become governor, which they can't, their administration would be a disaster -- for them, for Republicans and for their conservative cause. If conservatives want to make California a conservative state they need to lay a lot more groundwork for that to be possible.
Arnold's is a dream candidacy for the Republican Party, which he alone can rescue from the dead. He has already made Republicans more user friendly to the public at large. He will make it easier for media talent in the state to relate to the Republican Party, which has ramifications for campaigns beyond California. He will inspire significant numbers of independents to vote for his party. And if he is elected -- unlike the conservatives biting at his heels -- he will be a formidable counter-balance to the Democratic legislature, which means he could actually improve the financial condition of the state.
If Governor Schwarzenegger were to do the right thing -- for example veto Democratic attempts to protect their expensive programs -- he would be in a position politically to resist their override. He could just take his enormous popularity and media presence into their individual senatorial and assembly districts and immediately threaten their electoral futures, so great is his popularity and media presence. Of course politics has its uncertainties and unseen pitfalls and no one knows if Arnold will be able to navigate them successfully. But if he manages to do so and win, he will actually have a chance to revive the state and run for a second term.
Even more important, Governor Schwarzenegger would change the political equation for the next presidential contest in 2004. A Bush 2004 campaign with Arnold as the President's point man in the state would unquestionably turn it into a competitive affair. This means that even if Bush does not ultimately win the state, the Democrats will have to pour big dollars into the state to contest the election. The drain of money and resources will impact close races across the country.
For all these reasons Republicans of all factions should rejoice at the Schwarzenegger candidacy. It offers the only possibility of a win for state Republicans or for the Bush campaign in California. It will help to revive the California Republican Party. And it could reshape the politics of the nation.
David Horowitz is the author of numerous books including an autobiography, Radical Son, which has been described as the first great autobiography of his generation, and which chronicles his odyssey from radical activism to the current positions he holds. Among his other books are The Politics of Bad Faith and The Art of Political War. The Art of Political War was described by White House political strategist Karl Rove as the perfect guide to winning on the political battlefield. Horowitzs latest book, Uncivil Wars, was published in January this year, and chronicles his crusade against intolerance and racial McCarthyism on college campuses last spring. Click here to read more about David
"...For all these reasons Republicans of all factions should rejoice at the Schwarzenegger candidacy.ping
It offers the only possibility of a win for state Republicans or for the Bush campaign in California.
It will help to revive the California Republican Party.
And it could reshape the politics of the nation." - David Horowitz
I don't see this as any worse than not attempting a recall to begin with. In fact, it would be better, because even prevailing in the recall won't be a plus on the Davis resume. In 2006, the race would be against a Democrat non-incumbent whose party leader faced the first gubernatorial recall in state history, and whose miserable record was seared into the consciousness of the voters. That couldn't be anything but an improvement for the Republican in that race.
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Funny you should put it that way, because David Horowitz was one of the main whiners/cynics/leg piddlers that said we "could never get this recall on the ballot."
Don't think I have forgotten where you stood David Horowitz.
You're too cool.
Profile: Arnold Schwarzenegger
The best scene in The Last Action Hero (1993) was a clip from Laurence Olivier's Hamlet. Arnold Schwarzenegger, edited into the 1948 monochrome and taking dear Larry's role as the eponymous ditherer, starts off the soliloquy, cuts it short and opens fire on the castle, all the while puffing on his stogie. As the unseen narrator puts it, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark - and Hamlet is takin' out the trash!"
A week ago, it looked as if the roles had been reversed. The conventional wisdom was that Ah-nuld wasn't man enough for California politics. Instead of saying "Hasta la vista, Gray Davis!" and blowing the punk out of the Governor's office, he was nancying around in doublet and hose whimpering, "To be or not to be, that is the question". He'd been scared off. His Kennedy wife didn't want him to run, and, besides, too many people had too much dirt on too many of the sexual perks your big-time Hollywood star avails himself of over the years. He was going to wiggle out, no doubt promising that "Ah'll be back, maybe next election, or the one after, if my wife will let me."
And so not for the first time the experts underestimated Schwarzenegger. On Wednesday's Tonight Show, he announced that he was in. Something is rotten in the State of California - and Arnie is takin' out the trash! Collyvurnja, here he comes!
Whether or not he'll win, nobody can say for certain: the rules of the recall election are as whimsical as a sudden-death gameshow round. The standard line is that it's a "circus", but pre-Arnie it was more of a freak show, filled by various unsatisfying midgets: the pornographer Larry Flynt; the diminutive ex-sitcom-player Gary Coleman; a bounty hunter from Sacramento; the extravagantly-endowed self-proclaimed "Love Goddess" Angelyne (she's a one-woman circus, if only in the sense that she has a big top); and the wannabe celebrity, obscure populist and rumoured fourth Gabor sister Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington, best remembered in Britain (if at all) as Bernard Levin's ex-squeeze. But no matter how many little clowns pour out of the miniature car, it is the entry of the muscleman that has made this a circus worth seeing.
Whatever happens, he has played his opening hand at a crowded table brilliantly. Arnold has wanted to be Governor of California for two decades, but October 7 represents his best shot. For one thing, there's no primary election in a recall campaign. In a normal election, Arnie wouldn't stand a chance of getting his watered-down "moderate Republicanism" past the death-before-electability crowd who dominate GOP primaries in California. He's unsound on almost everything that matters to them. On the other hand, that supposedly puts him closer to the average voter...
but do nothing to counter the stereotype they OWN of being radical right wing oligarch extremists filled with hatred that are the biggest threat to the US ever.
Are you sure you are "at war with liberals"? This sets off alarm bells that you trying to appease them, quite pathetically, into thinking that you are a moderate voice of reason. If you are the definition of "at war" with liberalism, than I am switching foxholes and getting closer to the front.
This one smells too "French."
hehe ! I found that first one, and started posting it shortly after Arnold was brought up as a possible candidate. Just recently, someone fixed up that 'vote early, vote often' design and I 'borrowed' it from them ...
August 8, 2003
Posted at 10:20 AM, Pacific
REASONS TO SUPPORT ARNOLD:
Rush is reported to be slamming the AS candidacy. I haven't heard him do so, but many conservatives are most definitely doing so, so here are the reasons why center-right Republicans and conservative Republicans should vote for AS:1. AS can win. The others in the race who would make acceptable governors --Bill Simon, Tom McClintock, and Peter Ueberroth-- cannot marshall enough votes to top the almost certain 25 to 30% that Cruz Bustamante will roll up. Objectivity matters a great deal here, and even if AS hadn't gotten into the race, the presence of more than one "movement" candidate dooms them all. Period. End of story. Arguing this point doesn't change the facts on the ground.
2. AS is best positioned to withstand the Graystopo, as the slime machine Gray has perfected has come to be called. Even if there was only one movement conservative in the race, he would be a target that would be mercilessly mowed down. Complaining about it doesn't stop it from happening.
3. AS does great things for the candidacy of Tony Strickland against Boxer in '04 and of course puts California in play for President Bush. So he's closer to Pataki than to Reagan, so what. A candidate who wins and governs to my satisfaction 65 to 75% of the time is better than a candidate who talks like I talk and loses.
4. Imagine you are Jim DeMint and you need to raise some money. Wouldn't you love to be able to call the Bush people and ask them to get AS on a jet to Charleston for a little $1,000 a head gathering? This is what Bill Clinton does 24/7/365. AS is a hyperdraw, matched only by the President and the Veep. Three such draws is better than two.
5. Finally, the state is in desperate shape. AS is right, businesses and talent are fleeing. Unless the bleeding stops, this economy continues to drag the national economy down, and with them both, the re-elect numbers of the President.
The purists have to get over it and get behind a winning effort. - Hugh Hewitt
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