The California Republican Party has scheduled an emergency board of directors meeting for Monday at 1 p.m. in Burbank to consider endorsing a candidate in the recall replacement election. It's clear that at least some of the directors want the party to go on record endorsing Arnold. Once again, this bullying of McClintock strikes me as futile. Unless he has sent a signal that he would withdraw if the pary directors endorse Arnold, I don't see how this will change anything, other than to give McClintock one more "backroom deal" to rail against and give his supporters one more reason to consider him a hero. Then again, with Arnold and Cruz running neck-and-neck, if Arnold can somehow take half or more of the 15 percent to 18 percent now backing McClintock, it might provide the margin of victory. I'm just not a fan of political parties, especially when they act this way, so I have a natural adverse reaction to this sort of thing. I still think Arnold gets those votes anyway on Election Day, but doing it this way further polarizes the race and makes it tougher for him to win crossover and independent votes.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:01 PM
Final two paragraphs of a story posted today at CNN.Com:
"Saturday, Bustamante made the unusual move of praising one of the Republican contenders. Bustamante talked up McClintock, who has been taking votes from Schwarzenegger and could spoil the actor's chances if Davis were recalled -- thus allowing Bustamante a chance to win.
"'The one who's really been moving in this race has been Tom McClintock,' Bustamante said at a campaign stop in Los Angeles. 'Tom has done a good job to get up there. ... Tom has a really strong message, and there's a group of people out there who strongly believe in his values.'"
Thanks for the tip from reader JT.
Posted by dweintraub at 8:01 PM
From time to time during this campaign we have checked in with the betting at TradeSports.com, where you can buy futures contracts on the recall and the race to replace. In the latest trading, “recall fails” has dropped from 42 to 23 on a scale of 0-to-100 in just the past few days. A contract on Arnold to win has climbed from 34 to 56. And a contract for Cruz to win has fallen from 31 to 23. McClintock to win: 1.7. The way these contracts work is that you buy them on the trading block at a price set by the market, and if your pick wins, you get back 100. If your pick loses, you get nothing. Caveat: while there are 14,000 of these contracts in circulation, daily trading is quite light and might be subject to manipulation.
Posted by dweintraub at 4:13 PM
In the big debate Wednesday night, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante made what might have sounded to some viewers like a creative proposal for reforming workers compensation: give safety discounts to employers with injury-free worksites. Like “good driver” discounts in auto insurance, Bustamante said, his idea would reward good behavior and penalize bad behavior, presumably leading to lower rates for firms that do the right thing.
“There’s no incentive for a good workplace and a bad workplace because they get paid or they get a premium that’s exactly the same amount,” Bustamante said. “So if we were to provide a worker, a safe-workplace discount, and we’d be able to have an incentive for those people who are not doing a good job to do a better job, we could lower premiums on those that are good worksites and increase the premiums on those that have the bad worksites.”
Amazing concept. Maybe that’s why it has long been the concept at the heart of workers compensation insurance. Called “experience modification,” it works like this: every company is assessed a basic rate according to its industry, based broadly on the risk involved in its work. Roofers pay a lot more than paper pushers for each dollar of payroll. But after that rating is done, it is modified by experience. Just one expensive injury claim can drive a company’s rates up dramatically, by 50 percent or more. They generally stay up for three years and then decline only if the firm is claim-free. A good safety record gets you – guess what – a discount!
Cruz’s idea, in other words, already exists, as any insurance seller or business owner could have told him.
A few weeks ago, in a speech in Fresno, Bustamante gave a fundamentally incorrect description of the way the state got into its budget mess, arguably the number one issue in the recall election. This week, in the biggest debate of the campaign, Bustamante gave a fundamentally incorrect description of the way workers compensation works, arguably the second most important issue in the campaign and the issue at the heart of the debate over the state’s business climate.
People make mistakes. I understand that. But these statements were not on trivial matters. They were not off the cuff. And they reveal a total misunderstanding of the basic forces at work on the state’s most debated problems. Experience in government, it seems, is no guarantee that a candidate knows what he is talking about.
Posted by dweintraub at 3:01 PM
One of the untold stories of this campaign is the degree to which Democrats have helped Tom McClintock stay competitive in the race to replace. Everyone by now knows that the casino gaming tribes, which clearly favor Bustamante, are helping McClintock in what appears to be a strategy of pulling votes away from Schwarzenegger. But Democrats also have given McClintock a completely free pass on policy positions he has taken that are opposed to everything Democrats believe in.
This is why it’s pure fantasy for McClintock fans to say their man could win if only Schwarzenegger would pull out and endorse him. If McClintock ever became a real threat, the Democrats would take off the gloves and pummel him with the same social issues that they used against Republican nominees Dan Lungren in 1998 and Bill Simon last year.
When it was disclosed that Schwarzenegger voted for Proposition 187 in 1994, Democrats labeled the immigrant actor anti-immigrant. But McClintock not only voted for that measure, he wants to revive it today by re-opening a federal court case that Davis settled in 1999. Yet I haven’t heard Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres blasting McClintock lately.
McClintock also opposes abortion and would refuse to fund Medi-Cal abortions for poor women. But we haven’t seen Code Pink or NOW dogging McClintock with protests at every event.
McClintock opposes gun control and gay rights and supports Proposition 54, the Racial Privacy Initiative. He wants to eliminate the state Coastal Commission, an icon for a generation of environmentalists. Not a peep from Democratic-leaning interest groups on those issues.
Finally, McClintock, despite his reputation as a master of fiscal detail, has taken liberties on the budget that would get a serious candidate in serious trouble. His contention during this week’s debate that he could cut $18 billion in bureaucratic waste from the state budget “without breaking a sweat” was laughable. There is definitely waste to be cut from the budget, but most of what the state spends from its $71 billion general fund goes to people providing services, such as teachers and doctors, or directly to the poor in welfare payments or aid to the aged, blind and disabled. Yet McClintock’s far-fetched claim went unchallenged by Democrats.
The Democrats are aiding and abetting McClintock, just as they helped Bill Simon in last year’s Republican primary, because they fear the election of a moderate Republican, and they know that such a development would help Republicans regain a foothold in California politics.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:19 AM
Voter registration for the Oct. 7 election will exceed last year's numbers, and turnout on Election Day probably will as well, the Chronicle reports. A survey of counties finds that the ranks of independent voters continue to grow, while Republicans are holding their own and Democrats are facing declines in key counties.
UPDATE: Keep your eye on the Central Valley. This was a surprising Davis stronghold in 1998, and drifted away from him in 2002. Now the Chronicle numbers show that Fresno County, where Republicans had a narrow 43.9-43.0 registration edge a year ago, is today 46.2 percent Republican to 40.5 percent Democrat. That is a massive change in just one year.
UPDATE 2: More anecdotal evidence that a big turnout is brewing, from Contra Costa and Alameda counties. In the Contra Costa Times.
Posted by dweintraub at 6:21 AM
The judge in the Bustamante contributions case ordered the lieutenant governor to make a "good faith" effort to halt the ads he is running and paying for with contributions raised from casino tribes and public employee unions in amounts that far exceed the $21,200 legal limit on campaign donations.
Posted by dweintraub at 6:14 AM