Wednesday | July 23, 2003
Thoughts on the California recall
At the California Democratic Party convention earlier this year, Davis had secured himself an obviously choice speaking slot -- right before Edwards and Dean were to speak.
His political troops had placed "Davis" signs on every single chair in the convention hall. The idea, of course, being that party delegates would wave the signs and cheer as Davis made his speech.
Davis wasn't the only speaker with signs -- Boxer and a host of state officeholders all did the same thing, and all got enthusiastic support from the delegates.
But when Davis spoke, the reception he received was cold. Downright icy, in fact. I'd be shocked if more than six delegates waved their "Davis" signs. And at the end of the day, when all was said and done, there were hundreds of Davis signs littering the floor, almost as if the delegates enjoyed wiping their feet on the signs.
The short of it -- no one in California likes Davis, who is a sleazy afront to everything that the Democratic Party should stand for. And this recall effort simply confirms my distaste for the man -- yes, the recall effort is ridiculous (disowned by the national GOP, as a matter of fact), yes it is crass politics, yes it is an afront to Democracy, but in the end, Davis is hanging on and fighting the effort when Californians clearly want another option.
Republicans obviously want him out, thinking they have a chance to retake the governor's mansion. They don't. Especially since they're running multiple candidates, and the winner of the recall election needs only more votes than his opponents (Arnold, Simon and Issa will split the GOP vote).
Californians obviously don't like Davis, given his 20 percent approval ratings.
Progressive Democrats don't like Davis, considering Davis has no conviction that can't be bought, no ideal that can't be pandered away.
If Davis was an honorable man, he could've stepped aside before the recount was certified, thus handing the governorship to Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and sparing the state the trauma of the recall election (not to mention wasting Issa's millions spent on the effort).
Davis actually has a few hours to do the right thing.
Politically, Davis' team will destroy the Republicans arrayed against him. He's ruthless that way. But I'm not going to celebrate. Davis is slime, and if this effort knocks him down a few pegs, then great. If this effort helps Democrats portray Republicans (rightly) as Enemies of Democracy, that's fine too.
But I can't get to riled up, or waste too much time thinking about it. The California governorship is worth saving. Davis isn't.Posted July 23, 2003 08:35 AM