Alex's Outlook

Monday, September 01, 2003

Arnold's campaign really seems to be languishing. He won't debate. Gray Davis' smear squad (gleefully assisted by Matt Drudge) is really doing its work. How many more allegations of racism, drugs and sex can Arnold's campaign take, while at the same time Arnold refuses to debate or clarify his policy positions?

Tom McClintock is playing a critical role in this race for the Republicans. Not only is he pulling Schwarzenegger to the right, but he's also an insurance policy in case Arnold's campaign self-destructs. Virtually all of Simon's supporters will go to McClintock, which will put Bustamante at 35%, Schw. at 22% and McClintock at 18%. If the conservative Peter Ueberroth drops out (his campaign is going nowhere), McClintock could very well become the Republican front-runner. What happens then? Schwarzenegger is not going to quit. If he can't win this race, he won't win anything else; the recall is tailor-made for him, and losing it would badly tarnish his credentials for a future race, such as they are.

Will McClintock quit either? On every occasion, he has told reporters that he is "in this race to the finish - that is 8 p.m., October 7." He represents a major conservative constituency. He hates the California GOP establishment, because it wrecked McClintock's chance to win a statewide office. Gerald Parsky, the White House official, so despised McClintock that he diverted hundreds of thousands of $$ to less competent, more liberal and less viable Republicans than McClintock. The result was that the California GOP was massacred in 2002; the only sign of encouragement was McClintock, who lost his race for state controller by .3% despite being outspent 5 to 1. Anyway, the point is that McClintock has every reason to stick it to the California Republican establishment, and he has a remote chance of winning the governorship for himself. That means he probably means it when he says he's in the race for the duration. If that is the case, Cruz Bustamante will win on Oct. 7.

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