Arnold Wins

I have been copied on a round of emails among California Conservatives who supported McClintock to the bitter end and loathed Arnold — all this as if beating the Democrats was some kind of side issue. They are all, like me, pro-Life. They are not, unlike me, people who think that incremental gains and actually winning elections is an OK strategy. As news of Arnie’s win came in, I was copied on an email with the quip that we will now see if Arnold is the lesser evil. That frosted me. I responded as follows:

I saw one report that Arnold won with 51% of the vote. In other words, he doesn’t need the conservatives at all. He doesn’t have to answer their phone calls, ever. So much for McClintock’s principled stand. He and his (on current reports) 12% have proven their political irrelevance — a Republican candidate can take an absolute majority in California in the face of their active opposition. Wow. McClintock and his supporters held a weak hand and they played it very, very badly, doing a serious disservice to their (and my) cause. Reagan would never have made that kind of missplay. Anyway, despite the best (i.e. inept) efforts (de facto, intent aside) of McClintock and his allies to serve as spoilers and keep the Democrats in, they and their de facto allies Grey and Cruz have (thank God) lost after all.


Now, the Democrats face the miserable prospect of a hostile governor in our largest state, a ringing defeat and humiliation of their party and its governance, a crushing blow to the Clintonian triangulating model of politics, the need to expensively campaign there in 2004, materially enhancing the chances our pro-life president will be reelected. So, all is well.

———‘s grudging query as to Arnold being the lesser evil will be answered in due time. But that fact that any conservative can actually wonder whether Grey or Cruz would be “better” just shows that I have entered, since —- got me in on this round of emails, from my perspective, some kind of twilight zone where my view of things is totally out of step. It has been an interesting visit to this odd realm.

Arnold will be lots better than Davis. That is good enough. Be happy about it. Only two years olds cry if they can’t have all the cake, now.

11 thoughts on “Arnold Wins”

  1. California has come up Golden on two counts tonight. In recalling Davis, they relieve themselves of a political operative whose philosophy can be summed up as: “Anything, at any cost, for my benefit”. Second, they avoid saddling themselves with a west coast version of John Stroger Jr., Cook County Board President and professional political hack. Bustamante and Stroger are twins under their skin, two dullards who have done nothing more than put in their time and been rewarded for it with their current positions. Todays outcome may bolster some waning faith in our political process.

  2. I honestly think those conservatives need to realize that, in a state like California, they’re not going to win unless they are (relatively) liberal on social issues.

  3. To be fair to them it’s an old dilemma: How much can you compromise before you’ve compromised *everything* away? If there isn’t a point where you’d “rather be right than President” then you just end up being a Machine hack like Davis, Bustamante, or Stroger. The Illinois GOP certainly provided, and continues to provide, a very sad example of that.

    Throw in the fact that there’s a little bit of paranoia and egotism in any run for office and I can see why McClintock made the decision he did even if I disagreed. But then again, that may reflect more poorly on me than on him. Striking the right balance between pragmatism and principle is never easy.

    The question is, will they mend fences with Arnold now? I suspect so and hope so. 12% is not a bad sum and may make a difference in the *next* election (& there’s *always* a next election) so they *do* have something to offer. And the heat of rhetoric is always higher during an election then after it. Making Arnold was a good start but only a start – If he is to truly accomplish anything more than spiting the Dummycrats then the moment must come when he has a legislature to support his plans.

  4. I voted for McClintock and I’m glad he stayed in. I am also glad that Arnold won. It would be better if someone who believed in GOP principles had won, but getting rid of Davis is certainly a benefit. If you add Schwartzenegger’s and McClintock’s votes you get nearly twice as many as Bustamonte’s. It would have taken a miracle for McClintock to have acted as a spoiler. At least Arnold knows that he cannot abandon conservative principles without risking defeat in 2006.

    The Democrats would gladly support someone of Arnold’s views if he called himself a Democrat. I hope he does get Sacramento under control, but I cannot say I trust him. Social “moderates” tend to forget their fiscal conservatism when they feel some social program is desirable. At least we can rest assured that Arnold won’t sell off the Capitol dome for a campaign contribution.

    Recalling Davis was a victory and the most important one tuesday. Electing Arnold was a draw at best.

  5. On the contrary, If McClintock was elected Governor his opposition would be the same entrenched Democratic foes he has dealt with for years. His stubborn uncompromising streak has undoubtedly earned him animosity. McClintock would have also been beholding to the party hacks and special interests just like Davis was, the only difference would be the flavor of hack.
    Schwarzeneggar is particularly well suited to the role of Governor in California because it is precisely that. A role. Governor has only one special power. The ability to galvanize public opinion. McClintock is skillful is the nuts and bolts, but Arnold brings the *package*. Think Shindler’s list. Arnold has the prestige to make it happen,like Oscar Shindler, and perhaps McClintock could make a behind the scenes Itzack Stern fitting the puzzle together.

  6. Many “true conservatives” were torn in this race. First, many of us initially viewed the recall as somehow unsavory. We believed in the process, and accepted the blame for the poor campaign run against Davis last Fall. When presented with the fact of the recall, however, the party answered with excellent candidates.

    Now we have been scolded by George Will and Jonah Goldberg for responding to the need for an alternative, in an election that many of us did not initially support. Others criticize those of us who abandoned our principles to support Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    I really don’t think many of our critics understand what we are up against in California. Not only do Democrats significantly outnumber Republicans, but we suffer a generally apathetic and disengaged electorate pre-disposed to feel-good politicians. Arnold was the perfect candidate partly because he has allowed the Republicans to meet the electorate where they are. My reading of the election results suggests that Tom could not have won this thing, even if Arnold had never entered the race. This election was won with the support of independents and with 25% of Democrats. The day for a true conservative may come, but it is not here yet. Let’s take one step at a time.

    Finally, as Papertiger mentions, Arnold can engage the electorate in ways traditional politicians cannot. This will be invaluable in dealing with a Left-liberal and hostile Legislature. Give him a chance.

  7. i find it funny that a group of University of Chicago educated men cheer at the election of action-movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger to the governership of California.

    and the most educated response is:

    “Arnold will be lots better than Davis.”

    And regarding the previous blog entry, In case you aren’t aware, sexual battery is a crime in the state of California. To describe the accusations and ensuing LA Times story as “a ginned-up deal [that] only mattered because lefty journalists, who don’t want Schwarzenegger to win, wanted it to matter,” is disgusting. I’m sure being grabbed and fondled on the ass and breasts “only matters to lefty journalists.” Is this what you would say to the women who came forward and made the allegations? If you were the chief of police, is this what you would say to them? That it doesn’t matter? That it’s just a left-wing conspiracy?

    I’m used to the press making victims of sexual assault look like perpetrators.. but what you and many other partisans have said and done is hypocritical and sick. What if one of the women who had come forward were you wife? or daughter? Would that sexual assault only matter to “lefty’ journalists?

    get over yourselves..

  8. Hey anonymous,

    If 1) some guy (maybe) fondled you twenty-five years ago and 2) you did nothing about it at the time but 3) now suddenly raise the issue the week before the guy is going to run (representing a party you have a long history of opposing) in a major election, what does that make you? Full of integrity in your book, I’m sure.

    But then why should I take moral and political instruction from someone who lobs insults behind a screen of anonymity?

  9. Hey, you anonymous you are a worthless sack of dirt. You can’t even make up a phony name?

    Thanks for the legal advice: “sexual battery is a crime in the state of California”. If anyone has anything criminal to report, let them file a police report. If anyone has anything actionable, let them file a lawsuit. No one has, no one will, because there is nothing there. What a joke. You are willing to slander someone whose political views you don’t like, that’s what it boils down to. The voters of California had the opportunity to assess the merits of these claims. They made a good choice.

    Where you on Clinton? You know, the president who actually had a lawsuit pending which he perjured himself in because he sexually harassed his female employees? Remember him? I don’t even need to ask. He is no doubt one of your heroes.

    You and those like you are on notice. Comments which are nothing more than insults directed at the people who post on this blog will be deleted from now on. Life is too short. Spend your time and your typing at whatever repugnant places welcome your views.

  10. lex,

    feel better now that i have a name?

    Although sexual battery is a crime

    disagreement is not

    and posting anonymously on a blog isn’t either.

    Gray Davis was a dipshit.

    Arnold Schwarzennegger is nobody. He’s a symbol. An action movie hero who never publicly declared a worthwhile plan to fix California’s budget.

    How is something slander when the accused publicly agrees with the allegations. Recall: “Where there is smoke, there is fire.”

    Tom McClintock was the only decent candidate on the ticket. He was railroaded by the media.

    Don’t assume anything about my views of Bill Clinton. He has nothing to do with Arnold, the LA Times, or the recall election. While I think Bill Clinton is disgusting, that doesn’t mean i should like Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Mutual Exclusivity)

    I watched when Arnold stood there and basically admitted to the allegations. I’m sure you did as well.

    And Jonathon… what do you think about the men and women who have come forward 25 years after being sexually assaulted by their priests? Do they have no integrity because they were afraid and embarrassed to tell their stories? Was that all politically motivated as well, because, gee, they’re just doing it because they don’t like the Catholic church.

    We have every right to question the integrity of the women who came forward. And we have every right to question the integrity of a man running for PUBLIC office who has admitted to “bad behavior in the past”.

    If guys you want to silence people who disagree with you, move to china, get a job in the government. Don’t start a blog with a comments section.

    I read this blog because I find it interesting and informative. While I sometimes agree with the sentiments, I sometimes don’t. I’ll stop being a participating audience member if you think that would make for a better audience.

    But for now, I, along with anyone who cares to read this blog, reserve the right to remain anonymous. If you have a policy that states otherwise, please direct me to it.

  11. It is bad form not to put some kind of name down. That is my take on it. I don’t need a policy. There is a body of custom and practice, which you should be attuned to. It looks sneaky and weird to not put something in the name box. Anonymity is fine. But put some tag on yourself. That’s what I do. You can go by worthless bag of dirt, or something else. I’d prefer something else, but I leave that to you.

    Voting for Arnold because he is better than Davis is the best reason of all. I have rarely faced an election where I had a strong positive liking for either candidate. Usually, I had a strong dislike of one, and the other looked more tolerable. That’s democracy. In our system, we always end up with two candidates who are near the center, and opinionated non-centrists like me are never happy. So be it. The system works.

    You are miffed that I was mean to you about your comment. But the whole tone of it was “if you vote for or support Arnold you don’t care about how women get treated.” Yeah, I took offense, and responded in a retaliatory fashion. Three reasons. First, it comes off as holier-than-thou, and condescending. Who the heck are you to tell me what my motives are, or what my attitudes are toward women? Second, whether Arnold gets elected or not will have zero influence on how women get treated by anybody. This was not a referendum on respect for women, it was a referndum on Gray Davis. Third, I sharply discount any allegation that Arnold did anything serious. If he had, there are remedies available at law that no one availed themselves of. Why? Because anything serious he ever did was consensual, and anything non-consensual he did was not legally serious. If someone wants to bring a sexual battery claim, the clerk’s office at the courthouses are open weekdays in California. That’s how I read it, and I think the California voters read it the same way. Is Arnie a bit of a pig? Yeah. Was Clinton? Yeah. Do I think that fact, by itself, has anything to do with how good a job either of them would do in office? No. Some of my more starchy conservative friends would answer yes to all of the foregoing. I don’t.

    As to Arnold being a figure-head, I don’t think so. He is a smart guy who started with nothing and made a heap of money. He is libertarian-minded on economic issues and seems to have done some reading. Lots of people who made their pile in other industries have gone into politics. I don’t think a weightlifter and actor is necessarily less qualified than some guy who made his dough in some other business. Jerry Brown, former liberal governor, recently commented that you don’t really need that many qualifications to be governor of California. We’ll soon find out.

    Finally, I don’t want to “silence” anybody. I want people to rise to what I consider a minimal level of civility. This is a forum established by its owners for their free expression and the comments section is a place for a dialogue. But is not a public square. It is more like my front porch. It faces the street, and passersby are welcome to drop in. But it is still my front yard. I don’t mind being disagreed with or argued with there, I don’t even mind if voices are raised once in a while, since we take on contentious subjects. But I do mind being insulted there, and if the tone or content strike me as insulting or otherwise seriously unreasonable, I won’t tolerate it.

    You may comment on this blog as much as you want, but that is the way I’m going to play it — I reserve the right to strike any impertinent matter that appears in a comment to any of my posts. Jonathan or Ralf or Sylvain may want to do things differently, but that’s my approach.

    Incidentally, I have never had to strike anything. But I don’t rule it out. If that makes me like the Politburo of Communist China, so be it.

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