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Governor Arnie At least California is safe from invisible aliens and robot assassins from the future
by Bryan Zepp Jamieson
October 12, 2003

Don't be fooled by the right wing spin machine. Republicans are trying frantically to pretend that the Gropinator's win in the recall represents a shift in values in California to the right. From the drug-addled Rush to the slimy Ann Coulter, the Voice of the Right howls that the recall shows a failure of liberal politics, and that California has rejected the Democratic party.

Like most things the right wing claims, this is sheer nonsense. Yes, the voters did reject Gray Davis, and while he was in part a victim of the machinations of Enron, Dick Cheney, FERC and all those criminals, he was also slow to deal with the energy crisis, and for a politician, surprisingly hard to like. When we canvassed the club in July as to what stance should be taken, the unanimous choice was to oppose the recall and reluctantly support Davis.

Bustamante self-destructed with his fund-raising games. Republicans used the fact that he was taking donations from the gaming tribes to appeal to people's latent racism, but he lost ground in his own Democratic base because a majority of Democrats are appalled and sickened by our corrupt and anti-democratic methods of campaign fund-raising. Even worse, when he said he would return the money and then only returned $71,000 of the $3.1 million, he sealed his fate.

But if you really want to gauge Republican strength in the state, Tom McClintock's 13% of the vote was a far more reliable indicator of voter sympathies than Arnie's 48%. McClintock, after all, was the only significant conservative candidate. And Republicans who supported McClintock aren't going to support Arnie unless he sells his tail to them. Nobody knows if Arnie will do that or not, but if he does, he loses the liberal and moderate support that he had in the election.

And he did have support from our side. One in four of his votes came from Democratic voters, according to Sacramento Bee exit polls. It may be depressing to think that there are so many custard heads in our ranks, but it's definitely better than to believe the whole state has suddenly and unexpectedly embraced neo-fascism. In point of fact, Arnie embraces quite a few Democratic ideals. He's pro choice. He favors gun control. He is for gay rights. He is strongly for education. He spoke out against the Clinton witchhunts.

Moderate to liberal candidates got roughly 83% of the vote. No, California may have had an attack of the stupids, but they haven't abandoned the liberal values that are America's foundation and strength.

Arnie deserves a fair shot at governing. We aren't Republicans. We won't shoot him down on the premise that partie is uber alles and anyone who is not in lockstep must be crushed. Arnie is going to be getting that from the Republican right, who, of course, -do-think that way.

That said, there are concerns about Arnie that Democrats, as well as all Californians, should be wary of.

There's his sleazy attitude toward women. Will that reflect itself in policy? Probably not, but it's something to watch for.

He isn't real honest. He ran, among other things, on a vow not to take money from special interests, and then promptly received millions of dollars from ranchers, farmers, banks, developers, and a host of other vested, mostly GOP, interests. That he's a Republican taking money from other Republicans is not notable. That he lied about it is. He even boasted that he was rich, and therefore nobody could buy him. It's the same fatuous nonsense that every millionaire dilettante running for office spews, and it's nonsense. A rich person's interests reflect those factors that made him rich, and he's just as bought as the guy working the rubber chicken circuit for donations. When a rich man's interests don't coincide with yours, don't expect him to take your side over his own. Class warriors are bought, not made.

So Arnie is not the honest fresh face to politics that he pretends to be.

One thing to be particularly wary of. Arnie has been accused of working a fiddle with Ken Lay and other energy regulators. If he becomes governor, California takes the heat off those people who cheated the state out of tens of billions of dollars (and who adroitly shifted the blame for the fallout to Davis) and in return, Arnie completely deregulates and privatizes the states power system.

Sound outlandish? Go to http://www.joinarnold.com/en/agenda/#C1 and read for yourself. "As governor, I will create a working wholesale power market based on the lessons learned from other states and the (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) standard market design. California is one of several states that adopted electricity restructuring. However, only California's restructuring caused severe price hikes and energy shortages. It is time to learn from other successful restructurings enacted by Texas, the New England states, and the Mid-Atlantic States of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. In addition, California should also look to the standard market design created by FERC."

One way to tell quickly if Arnie is a right wing plant there to sell us out to the energy providers is to watch what he does with the pending state suits against Enron and the other thieves. If he drops them, you'll know why all those right wingers were so anxious to get the "moderate" Arnie in office. One imponderable is how far Arnie will go with the "conservative" economic policies of the GOP. We've seen a huge disaster unfolding on the federal level due to Putsch's lunatic notions that big tax cuts for the rich will cause them to invest and thus spur the economy (the rich ALREADY had lots of money invested that's what made them rich in the first place!), combined with the idiocy of "starve the beast." This is best described as controlling government spending by slashing government revenue. It failed miserably under Reagan, it's failing miserably under Putsch (who has actually increased government spending at a rate higher than any president since FDR), and it will be catastrophic under Arnie, since much of the state's spending is non-discretionary, in the form of items that must be paid, such as bonds, pensions, and funding for propositions. Another huge chunk comes from legislative mandates, the nutty notion that if you tell the budget makers they MUST spend a certain amount on something it will make the budget easier and more flexible. In fact, it does the opposite.

Arnie wants to cut taxes and balance the budget. Fortunately, he can't start a war or run an arms race. Arnie will quickly learn that about the only area left that can be cut is in education. He'll either have to raise taxes or do something like close the prisons.

One last note of cheer for Democrats. Both the Propositions on the state ballot were soundly thrashed. Prop 53 was another one of those "feel good" initiatives, mandating the government spend X percent of the budget on infrastructure. Infrastructure is important. But so is budgeting flexibility. And Prop 54, backed by the vile Ward Connerly and designed to eliminate any evidence of racism in hiring or admissions, was similarly crushed at the polls.

So even though Arnie may or may not be a GOOD choice for California, his victory does not signal that the state has suddenly gone to the far right.

Incidently, one thing to watch for. Diebold Machines, the voting machines that have no paper trail and thus cannot be used for recounts or for random checks for accuracy, were used in various parts of the state. In Tulare County, several of the more obscure candidates running for governor got a majority of the alleged vote. None of the three lived in Tulare County, and none took strong stands on agricultural issues, the paramount concern in that county. One had never even BEEN to Tulare County, yet 91% of his statewide vote was from Tulare County.

There's no way to go back and find out through hand counts what the voters there really intended. As mentioned, Diebold, a company owned by Christian Reconstructionalists who have vowed to work for the reelection of Putsch, leaves no paper trail.

October 13, 2003


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