Ah-nold: Damage control

I have to admit, as an ex-pat Californian, even I was surprised by the success of the recall campaign. California politics has long been under thrall to a single party, and the budget meltdown over the past two years (as well as Gray Davis’ lying about it during the last gubernatorial race) seemed heaven-sent for California Republicans. After all, California was the laboratory for the more radicalized elements of the Democrats, and it was turning into a quagmire. All that the Republicans had to do was to stay out of the way, and they were assured of significant gains in the next couple of election cycles.
Well, as usual, California Republicans had to show that they are bested by no one in shooting themselves in the foot. After pushing through an almost-unprecedented recall of a governor, who incidentally is not accused of any special malfeasance except being an idiot and an incompetent (both true), the Republicans will now be held responsible for anything and everything that happens in the next couple of Legislative sessions due the disruption caused by the special election [and the several recounts and court challenges that will follow]. Oh, and not to forget, the Republicans didn’t have anyone who had state-wide standing enough to win the second half of the ballot.
In rides Arnold Schwarzenegger to the rescue. Last seen stumping the state for a bonding bill for children’s programs, and blowing away robots, cars, and buildings, Schwarznegger staked out the Riordan turf in the election, and proved to be a fairly viable candidate. He ducked debates and was vague on policy (at first), but his good-guy image and Horatio Alger life story rode him to the top of the polls. Until …
Until the other shoe dropped, that is. As Mickey Kaus so accurately predicted, the LA Times decided to spend weeks researching Ah-nold’s Roman hands and Russian fingers. Not long afterward, we were also treated to the second shoe — a Hitler reference that even if true is almost 30 years old. And unlike the Times story, the ABC story has Gray Davis’ fingerprints on it, according to LA Weekly’s Bill Bradley. Of course, this dovetails nicely with another story just now resurfacing about Davis’ physical tantrums, originally written in 1997 by Jill Stewart for the defunct New Times Los Angeles.
California politics …. ain’t nuthin’ like it. It’s fun to follow as long as you don’t have to live there.

Welcome to the Captain’s Quarters!

So, naturalists observe, a flea
Hath smaller fleas which on him prey
And these have smaller still to bite ’em,
and so proceed ad infinitum.
Thus every poet, in his kind,
Is bit by him who comes behind.

— Jonathan Swift
I love this quote, and I’ve had it memorized since I first read it in Tom Burnham’s Dictionary of Misinformation. In fact, I think it explains blogs and their popularity, and in some degrees their incestuousness. Glenn Reynolds or Andrew Sullivan read a news story, and they post a commentary, and then other blogs post commentaries to their commentaries, and so proceed ad infinitum.
Don’t get me wrong – I think that’s terrific! We need an open market for political discussion. Hash things out to the nth degree. Argue, bicker, and scold. The trick is to keep your head, check your assumptions, and expose yourselves to differing points of view. That’s what I will try to do here. I hope you enjoy the hell out of it.