In my column on Tuesday, to which I will link in the morning, I discuss some of the serious takes on state government, and serious proposals, floated by many of the 130 or so "also ran" candidates on the ballot. One I don't mention is Dan Feinstein. I wish I had. A reader just happened to point me to his campaign blog, which is great. And his top item at the moment is a spirited defense of the "circus." Check it out here for his story about the "chautauqua."
Back in the day when the circus came into small towns to entertain, there was another type of show also passing through. It was called a "Chautauqua" (shE taw kwE). One source says Chatauquas could be thought of as a "rural 19th century American's Public Broadcasting System." These travelling shows provided education, a little entertainment - and sometimes religion - to people hungry for knowledge.
The concept was not just to entertain, but to edify. It was where "our ancestors went to recharge their intellectual batteries."
Posted by dweintraub at 8:15 PM
The Justice Department has cleared the recall election go forward in Monterey and the other counties challenged under the Voting Rights Act. But Justice hasn't ruled on the question of Prop. 54, which is supposed to be part of the ballot. So it's not clear this resolves anything. Plus the federal court in LA has yet to be heard from on the ACLU suit. Here's an AP story from SFGATE.
Posted by dweintraub at 8:01 PM
Reason's Matt Welch unearths quotes from Arianna backing Prop. 187 days before the 1994 election. Today she considers it the work of that evi devil and friend of Arnold, Pete Wilson. Link via LA Observed.
Posted by dweintraub at 7:56 PM
The interest groups have landed. The no/yes Cruz for Gov campaign has now won the support of some of the most powerful labor lobbies in Sacramento: the California Assn. of Highway Patrolmen, the California State Employees Assn. and the California Conference of Carpenters. Look for the money to follow. This was not in Gray Davis' grand plan.
Posted by dweintraub at 7:13 PM
The Assembly, after years of struggle, just passed a consumer financial privacy protection bill on a 76-1 vote. The measure was a compromise crafted to beat a deadline for backers of a privacy initiative to turn in signatures that would have placed their measure on the ballot. The compromise was supported by consumer groups and the business community, which had opposed earlier efforts to prohibit firms from sharing personal information without the consent of consumers. This bill would not have passed but for the threat of the ballot measure. Critics of direct democracy, take note.
Posted by dweintraub at 5:22 PM
Rick Hasen is now getting reports from his own correspondents attending the court hearings! He says his mole in federal court says the judge in the ACLU case expects to rule by Wednesday. I love this. It's participatory journalism....
OK, AP reporting the same thing (no link yet). But that's not as much fun.
Here is the AP story.
Posted by dweintraub at 4:18 PM
Arnold Schwarzenegger met via confernce call for 45 minutes today with the brass at the California Teachers Assn., which is considering endorsing in the recall. Anthony York has the details at politicalpulse.com
Posted by dweintraub at 4:05 PM
The Legislature's Latino Democratic caucus voted today to join the "no/yes" campaign, opposing the recall and backing Cruz as the just-in-case option. According to Sen. Richard Alarcon, the vote was unanimous, with 23 of 24 members attending. This will probably be the first of many such endorsements, with the major interest groups falling into line next.
Posted by dweintraub at 3:31 PM
Arnold says he wants to debate Gray -- and the other major candidates in the race. He's appointing Rep. David Dreier to work out the details. Don't get too excited. Debate negotiations are notoriously fraught with posturing, stalling, setting of conditions that cannot be met. But the California Broadcasters Assn. is intent on proceeding with their plans for a Sept. 17 event featuring the top six candidates. As far as I know, they have set the terms and invited the candidates, avoiding a hopelessly protacted six-way negotiation. And if Arnold doesn't show for that, they will set an empty chair in his place...
Posted by dweintraub at 1:33 PM
The political buzz at the moment is that Arnold is in trouble. And on the surface, his campaign looks shaky right now. But the deeper fault lines in this race still favor him. Other than Ueberroth, who has yet to be heard from, Arnold is the only candidate in the field who has the potential to win significant crossover votes while gaining a large share of the independent vote. That makes him the candidate to beat unless he simply runs a terrible campaign.
Unlike many of my colleagues, I think the winner in this race is going to clear 40 percent. I see the Democrats coalescing around Cruz. And I think the Republicans, or most of them, will eventually rally around one candidate.
No one is going to overshadow Schwarzenegger’s personality. But with pressure from Simon and McClintock mounting on the right and Bustamante looming on his left, it’s clear that Arnold is being squeezed on California’s ideological spectrum. The irony is that he’s probably perfectly positioned in the mainstream, even if so far he has done almost nothing to communicate that fact to the voters. Poll after poll and election after election have suggested that Californians want limited government that works -- with taxes as low as possible. They are willing to consider higher taxes, but they want to know the money is going for something they value, especially education. They support abortion rights, gay rights, and some gun control. They favor smart government regulation that protects the environment and they are becoming more supportive of health care programs for the poor. They hate the idea of special interests controlling the Capitol.
Simon and McClintock are to the right of the California mainstream on social issues and the environment, so they are running on one issue – smaller government. While I share their reflexes, polls suggest that Californians are unwilling to give up any of the government services they get now in exchange for the ideal of limited government. And while both candidates can credibly claim that there is still plenty of waste to cut in state government, I don’t think the budget can be balanced by cutting waste alone. The gap is too large, and most of the money is in transfer payments to program recipients, not bureaucrats. Californians are simply demanding more services than their taxes can support. The state must either cut programs or raise taxes or both.
Bustamante is in line with Californians on most social issues, but probably is to their left on taxes. He is set to propose a big tax increase this week as part of his plan to balance the budget. That will be a good chance to see how he plays. Gray Davis did something similar in January and then, when the heat got too strong, ran for cover. But Bustamante has the advantage of playing to only one party. If he can get the lion’s share of the Democratic votes in this race, he can win while the Republicans carve up their votes and the independents scatter to the winds.
Which leaves Arnold. Schwarzenegger is never going to get the hard-right or the hard-left vote, but with an effective campaign he can capture the middle. The fastest growing group of voters in California right now is the one made up of those who belong to no party or one of the minor parties. In the most recent Field Poll, Arnold led Bustamante 27-14 among this group, with more than half of them undecided or favoring minor candidates.
Right now, Field, based on its interviews with voters, is projecting turnout at 45 percent Democrat, 40 percent Republican and 15 percent independents and others, which is almost exactly what it was last November. If that held, and Arnold got 70 percent of the Republican vote, half the independents and 10 percent of Democrats, he’d finish with an even 40 percent of the total vote.
Bustamante could still top that, but he would have to come close to matching how Davis did last year among their own party. According to the LA Times exit poll in 2002, Davis got 81 percent of the Democrats’ votes, while getting 39 percent of the non-partisans and 12 percent of the Republicans. It’s hard to see Cruz getting even 5 percent of the Republican vote in this field, and he will probably not top 30 percent among the independents. If that’s the case, he would need to hold about 75 percent of the Democratic vote to clear 40 percent overall.
If Arnold can move up to either 15 percent of the Democratic vote or 80 percent of the Republican vote, he would begin to close in on 45 percent and be all but unstoppable. And that assumes that the turnout holds to what Field’s respondents are telling the pollsters now.
Even if Arnold collapses, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario that gets either McClintock or Simon to 40 percent. They are unlikely to pull many Democrats or independents and would thus need close to 100 percent of the Republican vote behind them. Not going to happen.
Posted by dweintraub at 8:56 AM
Get ready for a wild week:
Today, the Legislature returns to the Capitol for the final four weeks of the 2003 session, and Democratic lawmakers are itching to send Davis a bushel of bills, hoping to force him to sign them before the recall election as he seeks to bring Democratic voters back into his camp. Tax swaps, gay unions, privacy protections and health care are just a few of the issues on the table. The Bee's Jim Sanders sets the scene.
Also today, a federal court in Los Angeles hears the ACLU’s case to delay the election until March. This is the lawsuit challenging the planned use of punch card voting systems in the Oct. 7 election. For more details, check in with Election Law blogger Rick Hasen.
On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante plans to release a comprehensive budget plan built around the idea of repealing the recent tripling of the car tax and replacing it with higher taxes on the wealthy, cigarettes and possibly, alcohol. Bustamante on Sunday accused Davis of trying to undermine his campaign by persuading Democratic donors not to give to the lieutenant governor. Here's the story in the Bee.
Republican candidate Peter Ueberroth is scheduled to start rolling out his ideas this week in a series of interviews with the state’s political and business reporters.
Bill Simon has been putting the finishing touches on an updated budget plan and might be ready to roll that out by mid-week. Meanwhile, he is pressing Arnold to sign a "no new taxes" pledge.
Schwarzenegger plans a public meeting with economic advisers and others in Los Angeles Wednesday, according to Newsweek.
Posted by dweintraub at 6:11 AM