Man Without Qualities

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Davis Descending XIX: Ranks Close On One Side Only

In addition to Cruz Bustamante, many Democrats, quasi-Democrats and pseudo-Democrats have entered the race or may enter. Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, former U.S. Rep. Leon Panetta, ever-daffy U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (who the media blessedly seem to have stopped quoting so much recently) may run. Megalomaniacal author, syndicated columnist, Picasso-basher, reborn-progressive political chameleon Arianna Huffington announced that she is running, gratuitously adding that her entry is as an "independent" - but, of course, in a "loose affiliation" with Peter Camejo, of the Green Party, who is also running. Larry Flynt - the noted pornographer and Clintonista - is in there. Got all that?

The entry of each of these leftish people seriously undermines Governor Davis' ability to characterize the recall as an elitist or Republican "coup," which undermines the Governor's ability to survive the first recall vote (which asks only: "Davis, yes or no?").

But if Davis loses, all these names seriously dilute the left's chances of having one of their own win the election - the second recall vote. Why, Larry Flynt alone can probably siphon off more than a dozen votes.

What is even worse for the left is that the rightish/Republican side seems to be closing ranks around Arnold, and its presence on the ballot has just shrunk significantly with the decision of Darrell Issa - who funded much of the California recall efforts - to withdraw from the recall race. Richard Riordan has also indicated he will not enter if Arnold Schwarzenegger did. Arianna's former husband, former Republican Rep. Michael Huffington, also withdrew from the election today, saying that he would not enter the race because his children "come first"(Ouch! Michael slips her the blade!), and threw his support behind Schwarzenegger - it must have been a nasty divorce for the Huffingtons. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) said today that he would endorse the actor and predicted that many other California House Republicans would follow. "Most of them are very much impressed with Arnold," Rohrabacher said. "He will have overwhelming support in the Republican delegation right away."

That basically leaves Bill Simon and Tom McClintock. Simon is expected in some quarters to file on Saturday. Republican Peter Ueberroth, the former baseball commissioner who ran the 1984 Summer Olympics took out papers Thursday, but hasn't yet filed.

My prediction: Simon, McClintock and Ueberroth will throw their support to Arnold Schwarzenegger within days.

UPDATE: Ueberroth, Time magazine's man of the year in 1984 after he successfully organized the Summer Olympics (news - web sites) in Los Angeles, was expected to announce his decision Friday, said GOP consultant Dan Schnur.

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