August 02, 2003

Mattwelch.com CalGov Field ...

Mattwelch.com CalGov he center and Bill Simon to his right. In a Huffington-Riordan-Simon race, who do you think would win? And who would you vote for? My answers -- no freakin' idea, and The Dick. Let the voting begin!

Posted by at August 2, 2003 12:38 PM
Comments

No kidding, I'm voting for Larry Flynt if he runs. I like him better than the professional gland-handing smile machines now huffing up their windbags. Flynt has shitloads of biz experience, experience fighting fucked up moralism and bureaucracy, and it would be great seeing the DemPublicans having some well-deserved sand kicked in their faces. You're welcome.

Posted by: stan (not its real name) at August 2, 2003 12:58 PM

Riordan for both, with the fervent hope that Simon would finish a distant third (though I am no fan of Zsa Zsa Throatstomper) as a final rebuke to the lackwits who gave him the Republican nomination in 2002.

Alas, I am no longer a Californian and will miss out on the fun, except via TV.

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at August 2, 2003 01:39 PM

"Zsa Zsa Throatstomper" is pretty damned good....

Posted by: Matt Welch at August 2, 2003 01:47 PM

""Zsa Zsa Throatstomper" is pretty damned good...."

Anyone who can send Henry Kissenger into mumbling retreat with one thirty second exchange deserves to be feared and respected for that ability, though IMO she's a lightweight as far as real ideas are concerned.

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at August 2, 2003 02:15 PM

Riordan's politics are right for California, and I'd vote for him. But he's a dilettante, and it's not clear that he's prepared to run a serious campaign. Last time we saw him, he squandered an 80 point lead by running home to momma and crying like a little girl the first time Davis attacked him. California politics is hardball, no game for pussies. So Riordan's candidacy is problematic.

Take Riordan out of the race, and Gray probably beats the recall. I'd vote for Gray over Simon and Arianna because they're both morons without a room-temperature IQ between the two of them. Arianna got run out of England for plagiarism, and she changes politics faster than most Hollywood women change implants. If she was to enter this race, and win, by the time she was sworn in she could be on to her next incarnation as a lesbian separatist, a Nazi, or both. Who knows.

It appears to me that Davis' support, strictly from party loyalists at this point, is crumbling, and a major Democrat will enter the race and finish him off. He's twisting slowly in the wind right now, on his last days as a politico, which couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at August 2, 2003 03:07 PM

Richard -- Just curious: How would you vote on the yes-no recall if there were A) no replacement candidates acceptable to you, or B) no acceptable (to you) candidates who had a chance of winning? I'm inclined to vote the bum out regardless, though I felt negatively about the recall all the way until the day it was announced.

Posted by: Matt Welch at August 2, 2003 03:13 PM

That is assuming the replacement election takes place as scheduled. BTW, what happened to the Man from Modesto, Hank Denny? Was he scared away by the "puke politics"?

Posted by: Steve Smith at August 2, 2003 03:16 PM

Oh yeah, to answer your poll, I think Riordan would win, and I would vote for Flynt or Russell, assuming, of course, I don't get on the ballot. But I would vote against the recall, and I have a feeling that Davis would survive it if those are the available candidates.

Posted by: Steve Smith at August 2, 2003 03:19 PM

With just those three on the ballot as replacements, if Riordan puts up a halfway decent campaign, I'll vote for him, the recall will succeed, and Riordan will win. If Riordan spends the campaign taking potshots at the Right (rather than at Davis), I'll vote for an obscure candidate, and the recall will fail.

But I really hope to have better choices.

Posted by: Dave at August 2, 2003 04:06 PM

Won't Davis get stronger (relatively) as more of the bad news about the cost and choas of changing governors come out? Especially if it's a Republican who must then nominate a replacement to head every agency in the CA govt who each must then be confirmed. Won't this just lead to a follow on recall by the Dem's if a Repub wins?

What a mess!

Posted by: Don Means at August 2, 2003 04:14 PM

I'll probably abstain on the recall question. Vote for Riordan, and predict his win.

What happens to LA Examiner if DR becomes gov?

Posted by: Howard Owens at August 2, 2003 04:22 PM

Howard -- LAexaminer.com remains our very own neglected stepchild, to be beaten, redesigned and used for cheap Riordan jokes at our whim ("our" pertaining exclusively to me & Ken). This has always been true. If Dick becomes governor -- and right now I'm hoping he does -- then I cannot currently fathom a situation where he would also be taking any role whatsoever in any publication called the LA Examiner.

Posted by: Matt Welch at August 2, 2003 04:48 PM

I don't feel all too comfortable with the whole idea of a recall, but hell, my dislike for Gray outweighs my uncomfortability. I think that a lot of Californians would agree with me, too.

Assuming that Arnold's not running (I want to hear straight from the man, once and for all, whether he's in or out), I'm with Dick, who'll probably win.

Posted by: Robert Tagorda at August 2, 2003 05:14 PM

Here's another good poll question: we've got something like 100-200 people who've taken out papers for the gubernatorial race. How many will actually go through with it and make the ballots? What do you say, Matt? Would it trouble you to see even half of those people on the card? How about all the "Gray Davises" who supposedly have political aspirations?

Calpundit had something on this the other day, I think.

Posted by: Robert Tagorda at August 2, 2003 05:17 PM

I just had a look at that list ... hard to tell. Though I hope the "Gary Leonard" is the famous weirdo L.A. photographer....

It's real easy to get on *that* list, not so fun to pony up the $3,500. I'd bet on something like 15-30% of those people ending up on the final ballot ... leaving us with, I dunno, 60 candidates? It'd be hilarious to find another creature named "Gray Davis"....

Posted by: Matt Welch at August 2, 2003 05:31 PM

Best estimate I've heard is about 50 names. Arnold is most likely to have cut a deal to support DR for visibilty, maybe an actual job and a promise that DR will not run in '06, and will set Arnold up.

The Dem's are trying to hold back the near panic that must have siezed all those ambitions and bankrolls. Probably Clinton has threatened no support to anyone who breaks ranks. If one does, it'll be total chaos.

Posted by: Don Means at August 2, 2003 05:37 PM

It'll be chaos anyway. Think how many voting systems are in mid upgrade and in the worst shape to handle a sudden election with 50+ names.

Then consider a certification of those votes. It could easily be a FL type nightmare paralysing the state in courts for months longer.

Posted by: Don Means at August 2, 2003 05:44 PM

Richard...I'd have to disagree that AH "changes politics faster than most Hollywood women change implants." As far as I can tell, her positions have remained reasonably stable since at least the 2000 Shadow Conventions which she organized -- and which also provided the only relief (with respect to the discussion of real issues) to be found from the vapid Republicrat pukefests down the street.

I fear that Matt *might* be right about Riordan winning in this scenario. OTOH, I would hardly call it a foregone conclusion, given that the conservative vote would be split between the three. Whether you like Arianna or despise her, you've got to admit that she's the most progressive of these three, and CA remains a progressive state. The math could easily work out in her favor.

Posted by: Ethan Straffin at August 2, 2003 09:12 PM

I think Simon wins that race. Simon then is the only "far right" candidate. And he gets the Republican vote. Huffington gets the protest/lefty vote. And Dick gets the moderate Republican vote. I think the most energized voters are the righty Republicans -- talk radio has been all over this recall -- and, given a choice, righty Republicans won't hold their nose to vote for a guy -- RR -- who backed Tom Bradley for Guv, who's donated to Dems, etc. I'm not saying that this will happen -- obviously the far-right vote at this moment is split between Issa, McClintock, and Simon and also I think a Dem will run. Both those circumstances improve Riordan's chances because the far right vote would be split and some Huffington voters will vote for the Dem, splitting the lefty vote. So far, unless a name Dem gets into the race, this is Dick's to lose (if voters vote to recall Davis -- and I don't think that's a lock).

Posted by: jime at August 2, 2003 11:17 PM

Matt, as you know, to assume is to make an "ass" out of "u" and "me". Never were truer words spoken than right now. But so long as we are assuming, I'm afraid that on the Republican side, we might want to include Msrs McClintock and Issa along with Simon and Riordan. As for the Dems, the mathematics and logic of this thing are decidedly in favor of a veritable Vesuvius of candidates erupting by the 9th unless Feinstein changes her mind (in which case we repubs are toast) but if not, then look for Bustamante, Chechi, Sanchez, and whatshername from Hermosa Beach along with Huffington. For what its worth, I'd rather "waste" a vote on McClintock or even Simon than see Dick in Sacramento. Tho I might go for Ahnold, close call. Both Dick and Ahnold are badly in need of some testosterone when it comes to dealing with their respective demwives. Pathetic.

Suggestion- set up a pool for yes/no on the recall, the # of candidates on ballot and the winning percentage of the vote. I'll say yes, 75 and 25 respectfully.

Posted by: Lloyd at August 2, 2003 11:29 PM

Gee, Ethan, you're impressed that Arianna hasn't done a 180 since, um, at least three years ago? You're easy to please.

Matt, I'm treating this recall as I would a general election, which means I'll vote for the best candidate regardless of party. If Gray's the best one, and that's not completely unreasonable given that he has at least some experience in government, then I'll vote not to recall him. I'd definitely vote for him over Arianna or Arnold, because they're both neophyte phonies.

The last election was tainted by Gray's attacks on Riordan and Simon, most of which weren't factual, so I figger the people are entitled to a do-over with better information.

It looks like Tom McClintock is in, and I'd gladly vote for him because of his insight into the budget and the structural problems with the state income tax, which is too heavily indexed against high-earners to generate a predictable revenue flow. He's anti-abortion and all that, but that's totally irrelevant since the Supreme Court decides abortion law, not some dude in Sacramento.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at August 3, 2003 04:52 AM

Two comments:
1) I'm glad Arianna is running as a Dem. Maybe the press will stop calling her a conservative.

2) We have Huff. Simon, based on his 2002 candidacy, is mainly Puff. Sadly, there's something wrong with referring to a guy called "The Dick" as "Blow Your House Down."

Posted by: Dan Lewis at August 3, 2003 06:28 AM

Riordan in a walk.

I'll vote for him, probably, although I do like Larry Flynt. Great sesne of humor.

Posted by: Roger L. Simon at August 3, 2003 07:37 AM

"The last election was tainted by Gray's attacks on Riordan and Simon, most of which weren't factual, so I figger the people are entitled to a do-over with better information."

Simon's going to have a hard time mining that vein of voter outrage, considering the proven to be false accusation of illegal campaign contributions that he made against Davis. It takes *real* talent to slander Gray Davis (given all of the slimy things he actually *has* done), and Simon rose to the challenge like a real trooper, right down to the mumbling apology when his idiocy was publicly confirmed.

If a substantial number of California Republicans waste their votes on Simon during this recall, it will be a confirmation that they deserve to be under Gray Davis' (or someone equally irritating) thumb until 2006--or longer, as a substantial number of Republicans might decide they want to live in a state where the Republicans display more sentience than the average house plant.

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at August 3, 2003 09:55 AM

I'll vote No on the recall, and then I'll vote for Arianna if it's the three choices in your example. If a name Dem runs I vote for them, while still voting No on the recall.

If no name Dem runs, Davis survives. If a name Dem runs he/she is the next Guv.

This is a real test for the CA Dems. If they don't put up a name candidate on the second half of the ballot, they deserve to lose. If Davis cared about anything other than himself, he'd encourage his supporters to vote for the Dem on the ballot as well as voting No on the recall, "just in case". If Davis can keep a name Dem off, and then manages to lose, he'll never eat lunch in this State again.

Posted by: Brian Linse at August 3, 2003 12:58 PM

I think the real question is: should I vote for Larry Flynt or Angelyne?

And if there are over 50 candidates, which seems quite likely based on what I've heard, how many "butterfly ballot"-type problems you think we'll have, where people vote on every page?

Also, what about Huffington saying she won't run if her gay ex-hubby does, to spare the children? Is this true? He's the one who needs to drop out.

Posted by: LYT at August 3, 2003 01:37 PM

Logic aside, is it legally possible for Gray Davis to list his own name on that ballot? I don't live in California, so be gentle with me.

Posted by: Timothy Z at August 3, 2003 02:36 PM

No. Gray Davis, along with Pete Wilson, who is term-limited out, are the only two people in California who can't run. Because of the lack of a run-off feature, there will probably be more people who vote to keep Davis in office than will vote for the winning candidate in the replacement election. I have thought that Davis could trump those in his own party scheming to get rid of him by running his wife in the replacement election.

Posted by: Steve Smith at August 3, 2003 03:05 PM

Who cares if the recall is successful and who the next California governor will be? The "winner" will inherit an even worse fiscal mess than the current one.

I recently moved to Nevada after over 15 years in California, and the reason was simple: California is turning into another Argentina---a place with enormous resources that somehow manages to squander it all---and I wanted to get while the getting was good. (I'm a small business owner serving a national market, so there was no good reason to be in California, and many good ones---tax and cost savings in Nevada amounting to a minimum 15% boost in my bottom line---to leave.)

California has always attracted dreamers and visionaries, and that has long been its greatest strnegth. But dreamers and visionaries are often short on pragmatism and common sense; couple that with a population inflow attracted by California's generous social benefits (like MediCal) and you have a perfect fiscal, and eventually social, storm.

It doesn't matter who is governor of California as long as the bulk of the electorate believes you can avoid having to make hard choices involving services, taxes, and economic growth.

Posted by: Harry at August 3, 2003 05:25 PM

Still working on getting a few more B-list celebs on the ballot. M.C. Hammer, anyone? Gary Coleman? Ozzy Osbourne or any number of "Survivor" or "Big Brother" contestants? I'm *shocked* no reality producer has stepped up to the plate-- this is a no-brainer show. As for Dick, considering his half-assed effort last go-round, does he honestly want to be governor? Or does he just want to play one on TV?

Posted by: Mike at August 3, 2003 07:30 PM

"As for Dick, considering his half-assed effort last go-round, does he honestly want to be governor?"

As opposed to Simon's *all*-assed effort? Riordan lost because Davis ran a bunch of slimy ads against him, and because the Republicans decided that he just wasn't ideologically pure enough to be their guy. Oh, and he supported some Democrats in the past. Wasn't there some guy who ran for Governor of California as a Republican in the sixties who used to be a Democrat? Ray-gun or Regan or something like that? How did *that* poor sap pass muster among the True Believers?

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at August 3, 2003 08:21 PM

M. Scott -- In fairness, Riordan *did* run a half-assed, barely competent campaign. He did a poor job of appealing to anyone outside of L.A. (and remember, he only beat Simon here by 48 to 42, or something like that); he didn't look like he wanted to be there, he spent way too much time bashing the party's activist base (it was a freakin' *primary* election ... Sistah Souljah moments are supposed to happen *afterward*), and he had mushy, non-specific answers to whatever it was he planned to do with the state.

Posted by: Matt Welch at August 3, 2003 08:36 PM

"M. Scott -- In fairness, Riordan *did* run a half-assed, barely competent campaign."

OK, fair enough--I was only able to catch bits and pieces of it up here in Oregon, whereas the epic ineptitude of the Simon campaign was given wall to wall coverage and caught my attention rather more thoroughly. I just think that since 1) Simon is running again, 2) it looks like there will be a ton of frivolous candidates in this election, and 3) getting one's ass kicked does tend to focus one's attention if one is possessed of reasonable competence and intelligence, I wouldn't be inclined to point my finger at Riordan first when wondering whether someone was going to take this race seriously or not.

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at August 3, 2003 08:59 PM

i've thought the whole recall thing to be pretty interesting...it isn't often that lots of money gets spent to remind people that they can kick their leaders out of office...quite a precedent. Could become a fairly popular thing in california--popularity politics...its a chilling future.

Posted by: phil at August 4, 2003 08:22 AM

Matt- Very nice summation, and reminder, of the lame Riordan effort, especially given your past and prospective dealings with Dick. Too bad too, since I've always liked him and thought he was great for our city of angels. To your knowledge does Dick share our assesment of his campaign. I and other rightwingers would conceivably vote for the guy if afforded a modicum of respect by he and his posse. Those 5 and 6 figure contributions to Gray and the like are a little tough to get over though. Somehow I've wound up alongside Bennett on this whole thing. Also, don't forget Prop 56 for we miscagenating mongrels.

Posted by: Lloyd at August 4, 2003 11:18 AM

Lloyd -- Yeah, Dick knows he Dicked up. Or at least, the smart people around him (Jill Stewart, for example) have joined retards like us in telling him the last campaign was lacking.

I have more positive expectations this time around, though I am optimistic by nature, because his prospective campaign people are already more respected. And I think he is the right type of problem-solving pragmatist to tackle the state's horrors, though in truth I have zero idea about what it takes to get things done in Sacramento.

Posted by: Matt Welch at August 4, 2003 11:28 AM

BTW: Your movie bombed this weekend.

Posted by: Howard Owens at August 4, 2003 11:39 AM

With only those three candidates, Riordan has the edge, but only if he gets off his ass and shows he can be decisive and actually wants the job. Nothing he has done so far this summer gives me any hope he will do that soon. Looks like a replay of his last campaign to me.

Put one or two "name" Democrats (Connell and Panetta, for example) in the mix, however, and Simon wins.

The only people going to the polls on October 7 are the energized party activists. The GOP base is energized and the Dem. base demoralized. For God's sake even the teachers are calling him "Governor Doofus." For some strange reason, the GOP base loves Simon despite his loss in November. The private polls show it.

Posted by: Randy at August 4, 2003 11:56 AM

Dick will win with my support. I'm just wondering who in the hell is advising Simon. Superficially, he might seem like he has a decent shot after losing the election by a few percentage points, however, his negatives during that race were lower than even Davis'. He was more of a protest candidate than anything else. I voted for the guy only holding my nose. It just shows how stupid the guy is.

The other guy I would support is McClintock.

Posted by: Bob at August 4, 2003 12:24 PM

I'm now predicting that Panetta will run. Simon should give way to McClintock, in my view, thus setting up a Mclintock/Issa/Riordan choice on the right....

Posted by: Matt Welch at August 4, 2003 12:30 PM

Don't rule out Angelyne. She has what it takes to stay afloat.

Posted by: Mike at August 4, 2003 01:35 PM

**...his prospective campaign people are already more respected...**

Noelia Rodriguez has never run a campaign before. By all accounts she's a competent press aide who Riordan trusts (he mentored her in the mayor's office and recommended her as Laura Bush's press secretary). But she doesn't have a lick of experience in running a statewide campaign.


**... and I think he is the right type of problem-solving pragmatist to tackle the state's horrors..."

Dick's a lot of things, but problem-solving pragmatist ain't one of them. What problems has he actually solved?

His education programs (LEARN, Coalition for Kids) failed.

His public safety initiatives never delivered on the promise of expanding LAPD (check LAPD force numbers for the eight years on either side of his election), and Rampart happened on his watch.

Dick could well stumble into the governor's office. But with paper-thin skin and the attention span of a hummingbird, he'll no doubt find running (let alone actually governing)just too much like work...

Posted by: Mark at August 4, 2003 03:49 PM

A "name" Dem will surely run (probably Feinstein). They'll just wait until the last minute to file.

In your hypothetical -- Riordan wins. He may win even if Feinstein runs. He'd probably beat Pannetta too.

Posted by: Martin at August 4, 2003 11:24 PM

Dan Weintraub has a good new theory (e-mailed from a friend) that Barbara Boxer will run. This, the theory goes, will force some Republicans to vote *against* the recall, since the dwarf feminist is worse than the corrupt robot sadist....

Posted by: Matt Welch at August 4, 2003 11:42 PM

As opposed to Simon's *all*-assed effort?

Simon didn't run a bad campaign as much as he is just a thoroughly unpalatable candidate to most California voters. Unless, of course, you mean by running an *all*-assed campaign he told the voters what he really thought. If that is what you mean, Simon is guilty as charged.

People like Richard Bennett were screaming from day 1 that no matter how much people hated Gray Davis, there was not a chance in hell that Simon would win. He was right, and all things considered, I can't think of a scenario in which Simon would get more votes than he did the last go around- maybe if the CA Democrats nominated Bob Dornan, Simon would get more votes.

Posted by: John Cole at August 5, 2003 08:41 AM

Panetta, if he runs.

I've moved from California for law school and although done now, don't forsee returning in the near future. However, the state still means a lot to me.

Although my political leanings are libertarian/old liberal, my party politics are strictly Republican.

That being said, Panetta would get my vote. I'm not in tune with his politics and I really don't like his last boss. However, I do believe he is a capable manager and can get things done. Right now that's what California needs, someone to cut through the bullshit and start forcing some change. I'm not sure Panetta will, but of all the candidates; I think he is the only one capable. The rest are either light-weights, or in the case of Davis, more interested in looking good than getting something done.

Posted by: Scott at August 5, 2003 08:56 AM

With 4 days to go, there are 189 "official" pending candidates and 155 "unofficial" candidates, bringing it to a total of 344, all still pending. This according to the Secretary of State's website.

I like the idea of Sen. Boxer instead of Sen. Feinstein on the ballot. It might just save Davis, even if for all the wrong reasons. Likewise if Willie Brown were on the ticket, that would scare those white folk in the valley and southern California into voting to keep Gray.

Interesting times, gentlepeople, interesting times.

Posted by: Ray Bridges at August 5, 2003 10:47 AM

*waiting for Ah-nuld's post Tonight Show press conference*

Well, *that* hypothetical just got shot to hell. :-)

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at August 6, 2003 05:44 PM
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that is what you mean, Simon is guilty as charged.

People like Richard Bennett were screaming from day 1 that no matter how much people hated Gray Davis, there was not a chance in hell that Simon would win. He was right, and all things considered, I can't think of a scenario in which Simon would get more votes than he did the last go around- maybe if the CA Democrats nominated Bob Dornan, Simon would get more votes.

Posted by: John Cole at August 5, 2003 08:41 AM

Panetta, if he runs.

I've moved from California for law school and although done now, don't forsee returning in the near future. However, the state still means a lot to me.

Although my political leanings are libertarian/old liberal, my party politics are strictly Republican.

That being said, Panetta would get my vote. I'm not in tune with his politics and I really don't like his last boss. However, I do believe he is a capable manager and can get things done. Right now that's what California needs, someone to cut through the bullshit and start forcing some change. I'm not sure Panetta will, but of all the candidates; I think he is the only one capable. The rest are either light-weights, or in the case of Davis, more interested in looking good than getting something done.

Posted by: Scott at August 5, 2003 08:56 AM

With 4 days to go, there are 189 "official" pending candidates and 155 "unofficial" candidates, bringing it to a total of 344, all still pending. This according to the Secretary of State's website.

I like the idea of Sen. Boxer instead of Sen. Feinstein on the ballot. It might just save Davis, even if for all the wrong reasons. Likewise if Willie Brown were on the ticket, that would scare those white folk in the valley and southern California into voting to keep Gray.

Interesting times, gentlepeople, interesting times.

Posted by: Ray Bridges at August 5, 2003 10:47 AM

*waiting for Ah-nuld's post Tonight Show press conference*

Well, *that* hypothetical just got shot to hell. :-)

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at August 6, 2003 05:44 PM
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