A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003 :::
This is being posted in the evening, West Coast time. I am a slave of the Macs after 5 pm, so such simple things as linking will be unavailable until tomorrow morning. So this will be un-sexed-up blogging.

Readers who are still coming in from National Review can scroll down for my intro. This is back to real blogging here.

It Still Looks Funny from This Angle. Everyone in the world is looking in on California because of its loopy gubernatorial election. The whole crazy recall system has never been put to the test on this scale before, and, boy, does it sure seem stupid. The ballot may have as many as 200 names on it, although right now it seems more like 130. You would think, of course, that being out here would give A Mind That Suits a slightly different perspective on it, and perhaps it has.

He actually knows people who have to decide and vote.

That does make it seem more real. That does not make it seem less surreal. In fact, it is rather like watching Michael Jackson try to explain himself. A Mind That Suits finds himself thinking that at some point, this poor man will start to seem real, that some gesture or expression will connect him to the rest of humanity. And yet it never comes. So, too, with this election.

The key thing, of course, is that California is unimaginably big, both geographically and demographically. Big, big, big. So even in a prime fund-raising area like the Santa Clara Valley--known to out of staters as 'Silicon Valley'--you don't actually see any candidates. They have to campaign on TV, so the campaign is just as real to someone in Ulan Bator or Istanbul as it is to any actual voter in the Bear Republic.

But the real problem is the way the system is set up. Make no mistake about it: this is one crazy way to run a railroad. And that's when this system was invented: when the railroad barons ran California and the Progressives crafted ways to control them. It's taken nearly 100 years to test it, and guess what? This is one bad, bad idea. It might make sense if the governor was recalled, and his term was deemed to end after the next general election--his term was cut in half, basically. He was told he was out of a job, and then the new candidates filed and ran in the regular series of primaries and the general election of 2002, as would any member of the State Assembly. But nooooooooo...we have to have the whole thing at once.

And then there are the problems particular to this shipwreck of a governor.

For one thing, if Gray Davis were forced to stay, the Republicans would likely gain control of the legislature, or very nearly. Then real change could come about, if only because Davis would have to talk to people. As it is, after Davis is chucked out, which A Mind That Suits thinks he will be, everything will be passed on to the shoulders of the new governor, Democrat or Republican, and the debate will go back to zero.

On the other hand, it could not have happened to a nicer guy. Davis is arrogant and incompetent. He should go.

But, of course, this kind of nonsense gives ample room for the Devil, or at least the Devil's cupbearer.

The Palo Alto Daily News reports that Davis's closest political advisor is one William Jefferson Clinton. This does not make A Mind That Suits happy, but it does call to mind one little bit of political trivia that everyone, including ace political reporter Fred Barnes, has forgotten.

Throw your minds back to 2000. George W. Bush is defying the expectations of the cloistered elite press and doing as well as he has always done in campaigns. Al Gore, as nearly all Vice-Presidents who have gone on to run for the Big Office have been, is very anxious to be his own man, and so does not want Bill Clinton to campaign for him. Gore is sinking fast. So fast that Gray Davis's three top political advisors, in separate statements within 24 hours, plead with Clinton to campaign in Califorinia, or this most Democratic of states will go rightward with a bang. So Clinton campaigns for nearly a week as the guest of the California State Democratic party, steering clear of Gore's campaign. Gore wins California by a mile. Clinton particularly electrified LA, both the city and the separate county. Over 1 million votes right there.

The Clintons have been playing a smart game during the war. As the Democratic left leads the party off the cliff, they have been sounding very moderate. A Mind That Suits is firm in his conviction that the Junior Senator from New York will sit out 2004, instead pulling a Nixon and campaigning around the country for candidates in marginal races that could be pulled down by a leftwing Presidential standard-bearer. She will save some of them, and be remembered by the voters as the voice of reason in a divisive race. She will then be the logical choice in 2008, provided she is not in jail, and who knows? Anything can happen.

A Mind That Suits now expects to see both of them here in California a lot over the next 8 weeks, and they may well pull it off. Certainly, Gray Davis has the politlcal skills of a kid robbing a liquor store, so if he staves off the recall, it will be because of Bill and Hillary. And, as they have no concerns whatsoever about the fortunes of other Democrats, they will sit and laugh as the national party goes collectively insane come convention time. They will plead with the convention for sanity, then give it the extra shove it needs to go over the line. And then they will remind everyone how "we were there" in California and every other marginal race.

They dominate the party now; in about 10 weeks' time, they will have made a huge down payment on owning it.

As for A Mind That Suits, if he were still registered here, he would have no problem making a choice. Arnold Schwatzenegger, whose name A Mind That Suits cannot spell with confidence, is an immigrant who has made a real success of himself. He is brilliant, and has managed his career well. Nevermind Kindergarden Cop. It was actually a pretty funny movie. The guy has brains. A Mind That Suits would not want to have a powerful pro-death Republican, and that, alas, is what Arnold is. But if he were Californian, he knows he would spend the five minutes it took to pick Ahhnold's name out of the pack of no-names and novelty acts. He would not be happy, but then, he would be robbing the Clintons of a little lustre. And that would soothe the pain somewhat.

Have a good Thursday, y'alll...coming up, further reflections on being back in California, and on Stanford Campus, after all these years...a reader of the National Review asks for a little biographical information, which will also be forthcoming.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 10:47 PM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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