Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Davis Descending XV: No Softening

Contrary to many recent media reports (1) there has been no material softening of Democratic Party support for Governor Gray Davis, and (2) his chances of surviving the recall look better and better.

A typical "softening" article includes something like this:

Rep. Loretta Sanchez said Monday she believed the Democrats would have an alternate to Davis on the ballot even if their first choice, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, decides not to run. "If Dianne's not the name, maybe I am. But I will tell you this, I believe there will be a prominent Democrat on that No. 2 question," Sanchez said.

Well, with respect to Representative Sanchez's name being on that ballot, somebody might want to point out to her that "prominent" does not mean "notorious." But, more importantly, somebody might want to point out to her that after reviewing their polls over the weekend, the major public employee unions have strongly stated that they are completely opposed to any other Democrat's name being on that recall ballot, especially Dianne Feinstein's:

Gov. Gray Davis gained ground Monday in his effort to keep other prominent Democrats out of the recall election, as the nation's largest labor organization greeted him with rousing support here [in Chicago], and [California] state labor leaders prepared to warn other party members not to put their names on the ballot. Davis asked the union leaders at a national meeting of political directors from the AFL-CIO to pledge $10 million to his campaign — half of the $20 million he told them he would need to fight the recall. Delegates greeted the governor with rousing applause, and the AFL-CIO leadership is expected to vote on the financial request today.

Meanwhile, Democratic members of the state Senate caucused in Sacramento to discuss the recall. Some members have called for the party to back an alternative candidate, but that suggestion received only mixed support from the 17 senators who converged on the Capitol and others who joined by conference call. ....

Although some prominent Democrats have talked about U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) as a potential alternative candidate, union leaders have strong disagreements with her and have discouraged any talk of her candidacy. That puts the unions on the same side as Davis' strategists, who argue that the presence of any prominent Democrat on the ballot could fatally undermine the governor's efforts.

"He said he needs to raise$20 million, and he would like to raise half of that from the house of labor," said Miguel Contreras, leader of the Los Angeles County labor federation, who promised strong labor backing for the governor. Davis "is our horse," Contreras said.

Davis' push to keep other Democrats off the ballot is expected to receive another boost today, when the California Labor Federation plans to issue a warning that it would "punish" any Democrats who break ranks and challenge the governor. The consensus among leaders of the union group is that any Democrat "who broke ranks would never again receive a labor endorsement," said Dan Terry, president of the California Professional Firefighters union and a member of the federation's executive council. Davis is scheduled to meet this morning with the AFL-CIO executive council, the governing body of the national labor group, before returning to California.

Why do the media keep presenting every expression of Democratic Davis-hate as a sign of Democratic "softening" or "fraying" - when it has always been common knowledge that Davis has always been widely regarded with contempt and envy in many quarters of the many-quartered California Democratic Party. What the heck is so hard to understand about Democrats supporting Davis as much as they ever have? Why do the media keep quoting Loretta Sanchez, of all people? Why do the media keep suggesting that the Republican-appointed California Supreme Court may come to Mr. Davis' rescue?

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