Friday, August 8th, 2003


Here’s my Friday morning quarterbacking for what it’s worth:

1) Sad to say, but I think the election is Arnold’s to lose at this point. He’s motivated media, which is mobilizing the Republican party and national right-wing money. This could end up as big as Prop 13. Clearly Bush folks are going to be raining cash if they can lock Cali and its electoral votes for next year. I figure Bill Simon, like Issa (THE OTHER WHITE RICH PUNK) did yesterday, will drop out in 2 weeks when he realizes he can’t raise a nickel from a dead guy.

An NYTimes article, Actor Calls for Overhaul of State Economic Engine, noted today Arnold’s inexperience and the fact he went on Access Hollywood over CNN. But to me that’s East Coast snobbery. Who watches CNN outside of New York City anyway?

He doesn’t have to impress Harvard-educated pundits, he has to impress my man in the trailer park in Gardena. And that’s a done deal. The less he seems to stand for, the better shot he’s got–all the political consultants’ advice to the contrary. All they’ve got to do is figure out how to get homie out of his refrigerator and into the polling booth. This should be good for Coors sales.

2) The Dems have 2 months to get themselves an anti-recall machine in place. They got the labor unions which is good, but even the labor leaders admit they will have a tough time energizing their base to do the phone-banks and the walks. Nobody as far as I know, has been hit up in communities of color. Gray made 2 TV appearances in the Bay Area last week shaking confused kids hands, and that’s the extent of his work to excite the progressive base. Can you say, “Wham bam thank you ma’am”?

In polls, their best tested line is “Can you believe this thing costs $60 million?” In the mind of most voters, hell, that’s probably less than the cost of “Terminator 4”. And if Arnold can gross that much in 2 weeks, hey, maybe he can do a better job than Gray. That’s the logic that the Dems have to fight now. Now you’ve got a national figure in Arnold focusing the race on the Richard Nixon of California politics. How will the Dems get their message out? As my 2 year-old Soli says, “I dunno!”

3) Party disunity is their downfall. Bustamante has no chance. Nor does Garamendi. These guys have a better chance trying to make P-Diddy’s band and freestying with Wyclef. But as long as these guys are sucking up Democratic money to boost their opportunism, that’s more money off-message. And off-message is not going to cut it against Conan money. What does the stump speech look like, “This recall is wrong. But vote for me!” Most folks who come to their rallies will be asking, “Now who do I need to see about getting my $50?”

4) If I’m leaning to someone now, it’s Arianna. Whatever her strange past, she’s become a true progressive. But it looks like her role is to play spoiler, the role that third party candidates are so ambivalent about. No one wants to run thinking they are going to lose, but the fact that no major media outlet covered her leak on Tuesday, but waited for Arnold and then buried her in the 18th inch means she has little to no chance at all. She’s ahead of the Dems in getting on local and national TV, but she won’t be able to sustain the interest after this weekend.

Her campaign is run by a consultant whose biggest win appears to have been the still-embattled medical marijuana initiative (which had big bank behind it) and her team consists of wonderful, great, smart progressives who have mostly never won statewide victories. If this article, Hollywood Is All Eyes as One of Its Own Takes a New Stage is correct, she and Arnold are tapping the same circle of friends for their cash. Where she gets money to make it to October 7? See Soli’s comment above.

She’s got the ideas, though, and a more mediagenic edge than Peter Camejo, the perennial Green (pun intended) ever had. All she can do is keep the Dems honest if they can get it together, and if they can’t, then steal their votes and assure Cali gets Terminated.

5) All this, of course, is predicated on Nixon, I mean Gray, not making it interesting. He may. He has before. But I can’t imagine how he gets himself out of this predicament. He’s been buried this week. Yesterday he promised to come out swinging for the Sunday papers, once the ballot is almost final on Saturday night, so I guess we’ll see then.

posted by @ 9:37 am | 0 Comments

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