Monday, October 06, 2003

As you may be aware ...,

we're on the eve of the big special election, and everyone I know is working madly to bring in the vote. We share a sense of real desperation with a touch of disbelief that the governor we elected only last November may be ousted in favor of a neophyte body builder! Something has gone terribly wrong with the process, and no one seems to understand just why. It's pretty frightening.

Find myself wondering why those 15 women waited so long to come forward? And, these are legitimate charges by credible women, but we've grown so accustomed to these last minute hit pieces that cynicism kicks in and makes some doubt the validity of the complaints. Not so with those I work with, because we are just familiar enough with some of the sources of news, that we know these particular reports are legitimate. But we've certainly seen the times when they weren't, and that they emanated from all camps, liberal and conservative. It's the nature of the political process in these times of mass media and deep pockets.

Tomorrow we'll walk precincts and do the phone-banking, help to get voters to the polling places and do anything and everything humanly possible to stop the recall. I admit that -- to some extent -- I find the ritual exciting and usually relish this exercise in democracy. This time it's different. I'm running scared. Despite my feeling that those polls cannot be right because not one person that I know has been polled. No one has asked my intentions. Maybe there are millions like me out there who have not been counted and who will be the no voters. But then I worry about the more than one million who had already voted before the disclosures of the gross sexual misbehaviors of Mr. Schwarzenegger had been revealed by the L.A. Times. I cannot believe that most women voters won't be turned off by those charges, but in the few interviews I've seen on the tube in the last hour, many are accepting his denials that this is no more than "puke politics!" (his words). What an un-statesman-like praise that is! He should fire his PR firm, or they should muzzle him! What a horror show this has become.

I'm persuaded by Greg Palast's last column that links Arnold with Enron and Ken Lay. It sounds reasonable. The story is that there were several meetings earlier in the year when the pending court case in which Governor Gray Davis and Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamente are suing in the name of the state in order to recover $9 billion dollars in energy overcharges. It appears that the vanity recall initiated by Darrel Issa afforded the opportunity to insert Arnold into the ballot process, crowd Issa out, and try to capture the state house and kill the lawsuit at the same time.

There are some problems with that for me, I'm not sure that -- even if their ploy is successful and Arnold makes it into the Capitol -- he's faced with a Democratic administration -- from top to bottom -- both houses (Assembly and Senate) -- so how that could possibly be managed is a mystery to me. However, the present administration in Washington (where this is assumed to be coming from) hasn't got all that great a record on exit strategies, or follow up plans. The only one they've pulled off successfully was the seating of the president, but that took the Supreme Court to accomplish!

On Wednesday I'll try to get back into my "past lives," but over the next 48 hours I'm expecting to be preoccupied with the immediacy of this $70 million dollar recall election in a state that's already facing a $9 billion dollar shortfall in the coming year. The lion's share of our staff time was taken up with the budget only a few months ago. We're still smarting from the pressure of that. The new budget process will begin in only a few months. In order to keep on top of that, I'm sure that the governor's staff is deep in the preliminary stages of planning even as the state struggles with this untimely election. The budget must be in place in early spring. The effects of this craziness will be profound, and the voters have no idea of just how devastating this additional loss can be in a time of a national crisis in the economy.

Not sure why, but I do have a feeling that -- just maybe -- the polls are skewed by the media, and that the vote will be closer than expected. I cannot believe California will not turn back the recall. But, either way, look for this to eventually be settled in the courts. We may not have the outcome for many days. And, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that many of those who voted absentee early will be sorry that they did so.

Now I'm off to do some phone-banking tonight, and probably won't write again until after this agony is past.

Vote no on the Recall!

No on Prop. 54!

No on Prop. 53!

If you need an explanation, send me an email.