In a speech given to supporters at UCLA's Ackerman Hall, California Governor Gray Davis unveiled his new, streamlined, coordinated strategy for beating the recall. It looks like there are three main components.
1. He "accepts" criticism for past "mistakes", without making any apologies. I use quotes because I'm not sure what it means to "accept" criticism -- does that mean he has merely heard it, or that he has considered it valuable, or what? And "mistake" isn't the word I would use for his deliberate abuse of government authority to further his own power. He specifically says that he doesn't apologize, and only to a politician does that somehow equal "accepting" criticism for "mistakes".
"I know that many of you feel that I was too slow to act on the energy crisis," the Democratic governor said. "I got your message, and I accept that criticism."Oh yes, maybe I shouldn't have spent vastly more money than we had, but it went towards a good cause! This is the cry of Democrats everywhere, as if simply because a cause it "good" it should be funded by government, with money that doesn't exist.
Davis also acknowledged that he "could have been tougher in holding the line on spending" during state budget surpluses. But he said most of the increases went to education and health. "I make no apologies for that," he said.
2. He takes credit for non-accomplishments.
"The Republicans say this recall is about ousting me for past problems," he said in a 19-minute speech televised live around the state. "But my friends, we are getting over our past problems. California did not go dark. I signed a budget. The schools are getting better, and our economy will turn around."Well gosh, considering that we live in the richest nation on earth I'm sure glad you managed to keep the freaking electricity on! Woohoo! And wait, what's that? You signed a budget? Amazing! And only two months after the constitutionally mandated date! Schools are getting better? Why are they so horrible in the first place? Certainly not because of corrupt bureaucracy and your pandering to the teachers' unions!
This angle is particularly weak for Davis. Sure, the whole country was in a rough period, but no other state is as deeply in the hole as California, and Democrats bear the whole responsibility for that. Ridiculous reliance on taxing the rich led to a budget surplus in the good years, and a huge deficit in the bad years. However, states like Tennessee that rely on a sales tax that spreads the tax burden evenly, are still running a surplus. Go figure.
I've read that one-third of lottery winners declare bankruptcy, but I would hope that a state government that finds itself in a similar situation would have more sense than your typical lottery winner.
3. He shovels the blame onto other people. Such as:
Davis reiterated his criticism of the energy companies, saying federal investigations proved his claim that California was "victimized by a massive fraud." But he said he had "refused to give in to the pressure to raise rates" and pointed out that the lights have stayed on in California for 2 1/2 years -- while power failed throughout the northeastern United States, the Midwest and parts of Canada last week.Unbelievable. The whole reason there was an electricity problem in the first place is because of regulated rates. We "deregulated" some aspects of production (and, incidently, demand infrastructure investments by electricity companies) but then we refuse to allow them to even break even on their investment. So yes, energy companies did screw us two years ago, but: a) Gray Davis let them, and signed absurd long-term contracts, and b) the source of the problem can be traced directly back to the Democrats in charge of California for their half-hearted "deregulation".
Who else is to blame? Oh come on, that's an easy one.
Davis repeatedly attacked Republicans, saying the recall campaign is part of an "ongoing national effort to steal elections" that the GOP can't win. The governor said it started with the House of Representatives' impeachment of President Clinton and continued into the 2000 dispute over the Florida election results in the presidential contest.Clinton: impeached for lying under oath. If you or I had done it, we'd still be in jail.
Davis included recent fights in Colorado and Texas over congressional districts as evidence of the GOP "trying to steal" additional House seats. He said Republicans who want to oust him "don't give a rip about past mistakes" and want power.
Florida election results: Bush would have won without Supreme Court intervention under every reasonable scenario.
Congressional districts: Gerrymandering is a strange practice, but hey kids, everybody's doing it! The Democrats are just complaining because they don't have the majority in those state legislatures anymore, and that means they can't gerrymander the districts the way they want. Oh, and who's anti-democratic? Certainly not the state legislators who fled the state so that the duly elected government ground to a halt.
So then, do Republicans want power? Of course! Because they think they can do a better job of running California than Gray Davis has. Is the recall election a "power grab"? Sure, you can call it that. It's an opportunity to put a stop to the disasterous mismanagement of 13% of America's economy. A weak California drags down the whole country, but a strong California will help improve everyone's fortunes. That's a good reason to want power.