Wednesday, October 08, 2003

GRAY DAVIS DEAD

I can't remember when I made the first "Gray Davis Death Watch" post. It was awhile ago. And the end now seems somewhat anticlimactic. But only because I've been convinced since the instant he announced his candidacy that Arnold would be the next Governor of California. The others didn't have a chance.

The reason I knew that is I lived there long enough to know there was a strong undercurrent of true hate against Davis, but many who felt that way were strangely apathetic in a "California" way -- you know, a laid back, I-just-smoked-a-joint-so-don't-bother-me kind of hate. Not strong enough to actually vote for a Republican, but strong enough to bitch about Davis 24/7.

True, Davis had his deaf-blind supporters who thought he walked on water. I used to delight in asking my left/liberal neighbor why she thought a man as boring and obviously deceptive as Davis deserved to be Governor. Her only response always came back to "George Bush and the Republicans" and the "vast right wing conspiracy". No one could really say why he was such a great guy or even talk to what he'd accomplished, other than he was the candidate of the Democrat party -- the party against Bush. That was all they needed to know.

What's really got me a bit perplexed is the "morning after" analysis, which shows that a substantial portion of the left/liberal vote was for the recall AND for Arnold.

I'm shocked. They just re-elected Davis a year ago and, even if they had second thoughts, they could've replaced him with another colorless bureaucrat, Bustamante -- maybe a better example of a career bureaucrat than Davis.

But no. They kicked him out. And told Bustamante they'd just as soon see him keep his job as Chief Do-Nothing.

This will cause a lot of soul-searching, second-guessing, rationalizing and god knows what for months to come. Fortunately, given the seemingly classy way that both Davis and Bustamante conceded, it's doubtful there will be a "chad" war in the courts, though I'm sure the rationalizers in the Bay area will be crying in their lattes this morning about how the "vast right wing conspiracy" somehow re-programmed the voting machines. The tough part is (given the exit polling) they have to come to grips with the fact that 1 out of 4 of their liberal friends voted for Arnold -- and I bet their friends who did won't admit it.

It's over. Arnold won. This could be as important an event as when Reagan was elected Governor. It's up to Arnold and his team. They have the chance to do something in our most populous and valuable state that could affect the American political landscape for the next couple of generations. Love it, hate it, but recognize that virtually every cultural and political paradigm shift happens first in the granola state.

The question is, can Arnold lead a new "Reagan revolution" that pierces through the cabal of labor unions, leftist media and the California legislature? Reagan did it by face-to-face negotiating with the opposition until he would get filibustered. Then, he'd take it to the people. And the people would remind the legislators who they worked for.

This will be fun to watch.


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