The Republican meltdown
The California Republican Party, also known as the Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, has once again shot itself in the collective foot. We have elected a candidate for governor who is a novice in California politics, was the chosen candidate of his Democrat opponent, and espouses positions that have proven to be inimical to the majority of California voters. We had the opportunity to elect a pragmatist in the person of Richard Riordan who has shown the capability of working with the disparate elements of the California electorate. However, he apparently did not possess the ideological purity desired by the party base, or too many Republicans bought in to the negative campaign waged by the Davis camp.
If the primary season is any indication of the tone of the coming campaign, Mr. Simon will be subjected to an assault that will make Herr Goebbels blush. Davis has no solid achievements to run on. His is the “no-fault” administration – everything bad that has happened to Californians during the past two years is blamed on someone else. The energy crisis, the squandering of the budget surplus on the “goofy” solution to the crisis, the dubious contracts negotiated in secret with energy suppliers, and the rather sudden appearance of a $15 billion budget deficit is a tough record to run on. So what do you do then? You smear your opponent with every conceivable negative, true or imaginary, much like the anti-Riordan campaign during the primary. Add to this the frustration of a politician whose presidential aspirations for 2004 are now looking pretty dim and you have candidate driven to win at any cost.
On the off chance Mr. Simon beats Davis, it is problematical that a Republican governor can implement a conservative agenda in a Democrat-dominated Assembly and Senate. Unless he can bring in more Republicans into the state houses on his coattails, his reign promises to be a difficult one.
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