Man Without Qualities

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Davis Descending XV: Untimely Ripp'd?

The news is just getting worse and worse for California Governor Gray Davis. He is attempting to demonize much - if not most - of the California electorate, or, as the Los Angles Times euphemizes today, Mr. Davis: appealed aggressively Saturday to his Democratic base, hoping to cast the upcoming campaign in sharply partisan terms to survive California's first statewide recall election. .... "This is not simply about me," he said. "This is about all Californians who believe in a progressive agenda." But Mr. Davis has never been good at convincing people to vote for him because of his "agenda" - progresive or otherwise - he has won office by demonizing his opponents - and his new focus on a "progressive agenda" where he has never previously identified himself for the voters as a "progressive" is some measure of his increasingly nervousness.

But Mr. Davis' need to identify himself with an agenda not his own and on which he was not elected may not be his biggest problem. His biggest problem may simply be time. The Los Angeles Times reports that a recent judicial decision means Davis' future could come to a vote earlier than once thought possible, with an election as soon as Sept. 30 That decision held that California counties cannor delay in verifying the recount signatures - but have to count and submit them on a rolling basis. From there, California statutes suggest that the Governor is to learn the truth of something the Marschallin famously said: When we are living our lives away, time is absolutely nothing. Then, suddenly, there is absolutely nothing else:

The timing of an election would be determined by a number of requirements spelled out in the state Constitution and statutes. Once county elections officials submit to Shelley enough valid signatures to qualify the issue for the ballot, an election must be held within 60 to 80 days, unless an already scheduled statewide election would occur within 180 days anyway.

California's next scheduled statewide election is in March, so if the recall is not certified until early September, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, who has the job of picking the election date, could consolidate the vote with that election.

But recall proponents say they already have submitted more than 1.6 million signatures and want a quick count now to confirm that. If enough signatures — 897,158 — are validated and approved by Shelley before Aug. 15, then an election would have to be held before November, when many California cities and counties have local elections scheduled, because that would be more than 80 days away.

In that event, the election would have to be held in late September or early October.

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