Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Sigh: What surprised me about the whole recall is that Arnold Schwarzenegger received 48 percent of the vote -- almost an actual majority. He only needed a plurality to win, and if the votes were divvied up evenly among the 130-someodd candidates, somebody could have won with less than 10 percent of the vote.

Granted, part of the reason he did so well is because people tend to vote for who they think will win. Now we get to wait and see what Gov. Schwarzenegger does during the next three years he'll be in office -- or at least until he gets recalled.

After watching The Daily Show's live coverage on Comedy Central last night, I switched back over to the news networks to see what the talking heads were spewing. It seems people are trying to figure out what national implications this recall has.

Democrats were charging that this was an anti-incumbent backlash, and that all sitting officeholders will be recalled -- especially George W. Bush. Then the Republicans came out and said that with 60 percent of Californians voting for the GOP (including McClintock's 13 percent), the once Democratic stronghold that is California is now competitive.

Both sides need a quick reality check. This was an election for governor of a single state, not for President Bush. Local issues prevailed. I understand that California, the most populous state, is incredibly important to the presidential election. But not everything that happens there is a national referendum. Schwarzenegger is much more moderate than Bush, falling to the liberal side on social issues (abortion, gay rights). Predicting that the people who voted for Arnold will also vote for George is still far-fetched.

More: On the other hand, I wonder how Wesley Clark is reacting to Schwarzenegger's victory. They have a lot in common. They're both moderates with no political experience who are being ridiculed in the press as pretty boys with no substance. They, in turn, are marketing themselves as "outsiders". But they're in opposing parties (although either one of them could switch, given their policy stances). Reporters should, at the very least, bait Clark and see what he thinks about Schwarzenegger's win in relation to his presidential candidacy. Will he take the line that this was an anti-incumbent vote? Fat chance. But I'm sure he's excited by the recall results.

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