Mickey Kaus thinks I've left the planet because I suggested, and the California Broadcasters picked up, a radical new idea for a political debate: publish the questions in advance. But I think it's Mickey and the rest of the traditional political crowd who have lost touch with reality. Debates as we know them are phony affairs where reporters pretend to ask tough questions and candidates pretend to answer them. Then the pundits rate the pols on their performance. They have nothing to do with governing and rarely tell us anything we had not already known. If I had my way, there would be ONE question Sept. 24 and the whole world would know it today: What are you going to do to bring state spending and revenues back into balance? The candidates would go at it for 90 minutes, with one moderator on hand to keep the peace and keep their feet to the fire. You think this would be easy for Arnold? What exactly would he say after mentioning his famous 60-day audit, the "crazy deficit" and waste, fraud and abuse? Education is off the table? Then how do you get $12 billion out of $45 billion in spending? Could he even talk about the budget for three minutes without making a fool of himself? I'd like to see. Could he answer Tom McClintock's followups on spending, or Arianna's on taxes? I'd like to know. If he could survive that test, I would be much more comfortable about his ability to solve the problem than I would be seeing him bat away "surprise" questions about offshore oil and water policy in 15 or 30-second pops. Let's give it a chance, people. It might just work. If not, what have we lost? Another one of those truely illuminating traditional debates? Wow.
Posted by dweintraub at 2:09 PM
Arnold's campaign ad saying the state is losing $29 million a day is untrue, notes Finance Director Steve Peace. That figure is apparently based on the outdated estimate of a $38 billion budget shortfall, which many of the candidates are still using on the campaign trail. But the budget passed this summer shrunk that gap, mainly with borrowing and other stop-gap measures. Peace tells the Sacramento Bee here the state is actually taking in more than it's spending, and even if you account for one-time measures that will disappear at the end of the year the daily shortfall would be more like $7 million. Finally, I find it odd that Arnold says he must wait for a 60-day audit after the election to assess the state's fiscal condition but he can put out an ad detailing the problem down to a daily number....
Posted by dweintraub at 7:34 AM
From the Contra Costa Times debate transcript, here is the best exchange of the night, when most of the other candidates gave Cruz the business for selling out to the gambling tribes:
SHANDOBIL: WELL, THE GOVERNOR DOES HAVE SOME DISCRETION OVER SOME DECISIONS INVOLVING TRIBES. AND SURELY YOU HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT IF YOU WERE GOVERNOR, THE FIRST TIME A DECISION INVOLVING THE TRIBES CAME UP, YOU WOULD REMEMBER THEY GAVE YOU $2 MILLION.
BUSTAMANTE: YOU KNOW, THE TRIBES ARE, I BELIEVE, THEY ARE SHOWING THE SAME RESPECT THAT I SHOWED THEM DURING THE TIME WHEN THEY HAD NOTHING. WHEN THEY HAD NOTHING. AND I REMEMBER GOING TO THOSE RESERVATIONS, THAT I MENTIONED EARLIER, WHEN THEY HAD NOTHING. AND NOW THAT I'M RUNNING, I THINK THAT THEY ARE SHOWING THEIR FRIENDSHIP BY HELPING ME IN TRYING TO BASICALLY LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD. LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD BY THOSE CANDIDATES WHO ARE MULTIMILLIONAIRES. I DO NOT HAVE THAT KIND OF WEALTH. AND I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY NOW TO BE ABLE TO LEVEL THE PLAYING FEEL BY HAVING A TREMENDOUS NUMBER OF PEOPLE, BOTH FROM THE CALIFORNIA INDIAN TRIBES, AS WELL AS LABOR TO HELP ME.
SHANDOBIL: WE'LL HAVE TO GO TO REBUTTAL, I'M SORRY.
SHANDOBIL: PETER CAMEJO, YOU HAVE THE FIRST CHANCE TO REBUT.
CAMEJO: YOU KNOW, CASINOS, I WOULD NEVER ACCEPT MONEY FROM CASINOS, TOBACCO COMPANIES OR ENERGY COMPANIES, WHATEVER. ONCE YOU ACCEPT MONEY FROM THEM, THERE IS A COMPROMISE THERE. THE TRUTH IS, CASINOS ARE NOT A GOOD THING. THEY ARE A REGRESSIVE TAX. OF COURSE, DEEP INSIDE ME, I HAVE TO FEEL SOME SYMPATHY FOR THE NATIVE AMERICANS WHO HAVE FINALLY FOUND A WAY, BUT IT IS THE WRONG WAY, PREADING CASINOS OVER AMERICA, EVERY COMMUNITY, IT IS DAMAGING TO OUR SOCIETY, NOT HELPFUL.
SHANDOBIL: ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, YOUR CHANCE TO REBUT.
HUFFINGTON: IT IS NOTHING BUT LEGALIZED BRIBERY, YOU HAVE MADE A MOCKERY OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS BY USING A LUDICROUS LOOPHOLE TO GET THAT MONEY INTO YOUR CAMPAIGN AND BYPASS THE LIMITS AND IT IS REALLY ABSOLUTELY ABSURD AS GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA YOU WOULD CONTINUE TO DEPRIVE OUR GENERAL FUNDS OF TAXES.
BUSTAMANTE: TELL ME HOW YOU REALLY FEEL.
HUFFINGTON: I WILL.
SHANDOBIL: I'M SORRY, WE HAVE TO MOVE ON. I'M SURE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO RESPOND. HOWEVER, WITH SO MANY CANDIDATES, DO YOU NOT GET A CHANCE SENATOR TOM MCCLINTOCK, YOUR RESPONSE.
MCCLINTOCK: ON THE POLICY, I BELIEVE THAT WE MADE A PROMISE TO THE CALIFORNIA INDIANS A CENTURY AGO THAT THEY WOULD HAVE SOVEREIGNTY ON THEIR RESERVATION LANDS, AND IT MEANS THAT LOCAL AND STATE JURISDICTIONS END AT THE RESERVATION BOUNDARY BUT I AGREE WITH ARIANNA RECEIVING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS THROUGH A SUSPECT HOLE IN THE LAW CIRCUMVENTS THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE IN ESTABLISHING CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW IN THE LAST ELECTION. THAT IS WHAT I ON TO. TECHNICALLY I HAVE THE SAME KIND OF COMMITTEE. OUR PEOPLE BELIEVE IT IS ILLEGAL. IF IT IS LEGAL, IT IS ON THE SHADY SIDE OF THE LAW.
SHANDOBIL: TIME IS UP. FINALLY, WE GO TO PETER UEBERROTH.
UEBERROTH: IF HE WANTS TO ACCEPT MONEY FROM ANY SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP, I'M NOT GOING TO CRITICIZE HIM. HE WILL DO WHAT HE WILL DO. BASICALLY, WE'RE AVOIDING ISSUES AND NOT TALKING ABOUT THE REAL STUFF. JOBS ARE WHAT ARE REAL STUFF. THAT IS HOW WE PAY THE BILLS IN SACRAMENTO. IT TAKES SALES TAX AND THE PAY CHECK TO PAY THE BILLS HERE. WE'RE DRIVING JOBS OUT WITH ALL OF THE SPECIAL INTERESTS, AND WE DO NOT -- WE WILL NOT SUCCEED IF WE DO NOT STOP IT AND BALANCE THE BUDGET. SIMPLE AS THAT.
Posted by dweintraub at 7:19 AM