Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Monday, October 06, 2003  

Everybody's got an opinion on the Cali recall, and so, of course, do I. It falls along the traditional lefty/Dem lines--the recall is bad for the state, it's motivated by the worst partisan politics, yadda yadda--so I haven't bothered to weigh in. But as the performance nears its crescendo--bigger! more shocking! sit-on-th-edge-of-your-seat exciting!--I wonder if the sky really is falling.

First off, Gray Davis is a bad politician, and he's a worse Democrat. He's guilty of everything that good lefties hate about Karl Rove's soul-crushing politics. As the election nears, is anyone surprised that his whole campaign depends on how badly Arnie gets smeared? Davis is backed by big money, he doesn't seem even remotely interested in his constituents, and he's got a pretty bad record (maybe it's not as bad as conservatives allege; it ain't good, either). After five years of Gray Davis, voters have a bad taste in their mouths for Democrats. If he was doing anything for the state, maybe that's an acceptable trade-off. He's not, and his tenure has hurt Dems.

The other caution is that California's legislature is still Democratic. Arnie, despite everyone's fears to the contrary, isn't going to stride into Sacramento and start issuing edicts that raze the redwoods and give the beaches to Jerry Bruckheimer. He's an inexperienced politician who has to deal with Congress. Checks are there to balance him.

This isn't exactly an endorsement for Schwarzenegger--I'd vote "no" to recall if I had to (I've never been happier to be an Oregonian). It's just an acknowledgement that the "circus" arises not just from Californian wackiness, but genuine, and reasonable, anger. Also a notice that just because you're Democratic doesn't mean you should expect unyielding support. Davis is a Dem, but his politics are the negative, corporate-backed politics real Democrats should condemn. The patient is different, the disease is the same.

So, I'll just watch the news with fascination and hope for nothing. On Wednesday, the State of California will have a less-than-perfect governor and a whole truckload of problems. The recall was a fun party, but eventually, everyone always has to go back to work. The "inbox" is still full.

posted by Jeff | 8:29 AM |
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