Skip to comments.Winners and Losers: Recall Edition -
Posted on 10/08/2003 2:45:19 PM PDT by So Cal Rocket
WE KNOW the big winner and loser in the California gubernatorial recall. Arnold Schwarzenegger is not only the governor-elect, he got a higher percentage (48.1) of the vote among 135 candidates to replace Gray Davis than Davis himself got (45.3) on the separate ballot on whether he should be recalled. And when you combine Schwarzenegger's vote with Tom McClintock's (13.3), it adds up to a Republican landslide.
But there were other winners and losers in the recall that may not be so obvious. Here are a few of them:
Winner: Pragmatic conservatives. Conservatives mostly voted for Schwarzenegger though he wasn't the most conservative candidate by a long shot. McClintock was. But they recognized the election was about ousting Davis, not ideological purity. So they voted for the most conservative candidate with a chance of being elected.
Loser: Interest-group liberalism. Davis began his governorship as a centrist who battled with the loony liberal Democratic legislature. Then he capitulated and concentrated on giving unions, state employees, trial lawyers, Indian casino operators, and various liberal pressure groups whatever they wanted. The result was higher taxes and a bloated budget deficit--and a populist revolt.
Winner: Senator Dianne Feinstein. She opposed the recall and rejected strong pleas to enter the race as the Democratic alternative to Davis. My guess is she'd rather be a senator than a governor at this point in her career. She emerges as the top Democrat in California with no real party rivals.
Loser: DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe. This is the guy who guaranteed Florida governor Jeb Bush would lose to a Democrat in 2002. Bush won by 13 points. In California, he was crucial in keeping a strong Democratic candidate out of the recall. Thus his effort proved to be crucial in producing a Republican governor.
Winner: Tom McClintock. He didn't drop out to help Arnold, but he did make a strong impression statewide. In the lone TV debate with all the major candidates, McClintock was the star. Now he's the logical Republican to challenge Barbara Boxer next year and prove that a pro-lifer can win in California.
Loser: Recall critics. It wasn't a circus. Instead, it created political interest in notoriously indifferent Californians--and a bigger voter turnout than any election in years. The large field of candidates was quickly winnowed to four serious ones. The recall was grass roots democracy at its best.
Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.
These pragmatists also voted for Clinton in 1996, I assume.
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Likewise, the over-the-top "pro-Hitler" hyperbole, along with a handful of brutally ugly women who made unbelievable claims about being groped...clearly got rejected by the voters themselves.
Yeah, when NARAL Pro Choice America and EMILY's List and Sierra Club and the NAACP and the AFL-CIO and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and Planned Parenthood and the NEA and the Human Rights Campaign and Handgun Control and League of Conservation Voters and the rest air their ads and mobilize against him, he'll be not just toast, but burnt toast. Bush will not win California and McClintock will not beat Boxer. It's incredibly naive. This is a state that rejected Prop 54 and supported by an incredible margin someone who isn't a social conservative. In federal races, social issues do matter-- a lot.
We have had an election in which Arnold Schwartzenegger will eventually be certified as the winner, probably around the middle of next month. Until the secretary of state certifies Schwartzenegger as the winner, GraySkies remains governor. That is, unless GraySkies elects to resign. If GraySkies resigns, BustaMyTaxes must be sworn in as governor. That would require BustaMyTaxes to vacate the office of lieutenant governor. When Schwartzenegger is certified, he would become the governor and BustMyTaxes can go back to working at McDonalds or whatever it was he did before he became a hack politician.
Schwarzenegger's margin is reduced becuse McClintock's votes should be combined with Bustamante's (coz we all know a vote for McClintock is really a vote for Bustamante. Right?)
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