August 07, 2003

Voter Apathy, Et Cetera

I wonder if many of the people who are now so exercised about the California recall election are the same ones who so frequently lament voter apathy? Isn't it funny that the correlation coefficient between opposing the recall and being a Democrat is so high? The converse is true for Republicans, by the way. And for those outraged by Arnold Schwarzenegger running, where was the outrage for Larry Flynt? Maybe having people who aren't professional politicians in charge could be a good thing, though it might well be offset by the further cementing of celebrity in our culture as prima facie evidence of value.

Personally, I don't think the recall is a terribly good idea in this instance since the Democrats can turn around and get 1.2 million signatures to recall any Republican if they try. I'm certainly not going to defend Gray Davis, but as far as I can tell all he has done wrong is to try and implement really bad policies. Going nuclear in this case just lowers the standard of political incivility and makes it that much more difficult to govern effectively in the future. On the other hand, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy than Gray Davis, and it might well convince President George W. Bush to ake a real shot a California (and Barbara Boxer) in 2004 if Arnold wins and does well enough to consider running for a full term.

The apologists for Gray Davis are remarkable in their distrust of the populace though. My favorite argument has to be that this means any future governors will not be able to make unpopular decisions for the benefit of the people of the state without having to worry about being recalled. Please name one unpopular thing Gray Davis has done that actually benefitted the populace of California. Gray Davis is a poor governor and not a very nice man by all accounts. Watching him squirm does produce a bit of schadenfreude. The only thing more entertaining to me about the whole process is watching the Democrats put up a facade of solidarity that crumbled when the first ill wind hit.

If Arnold wins, I can see the commercials for the next election -- "I'll be back."

Posted by Charles Austin at August 7, 2003 03:58 PM

One can never underestimate the gullibility of the California electorate...they re-elected Davis. However, my gut tells me that our next Gov will be Bustamante. California has a majority Hispanic population that has yet to flex it's political's only a matter of time.

The big question for the Dems is do they dump Davis and organize the turn-out for Bustamante to stop Schwarzenegger or press a high profile non-Hispanic into the race? There must be a lot of second guessing and flop sweat behind the scene as the filing deadline nears.

Is the white old boys club in SF and Sacramento prepared to make good on their equality rhetoric and transfer power to the Hispanic base in Southern California.

Perhaps forever.

I wouldn't bet on it.

Posted by: feste at 07:57 PM

If Arnold does win, I say he only stays on long enough to take care of the budget crisis. Once that's fixed, he can ride into the sunset and wait it out and take on the California Democrat of his choice in a race for a Senate seat (which is as high as he can go politically anyway).

Posted by: Eric at 01:57 PM

And I can see the Democrats' commercials: You're Terminated!

Posted by: MarcV at 03:57 PM

Getting the petitions isn't tough, but getting over 50% of the votes required to actually topple a sitting governor probably is. And if the governor's somewhat popular, the recall organizers may have destroyed their own political viability.

Posted by: Zhang Fei at 11:56 PM