September 9, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Total Recall

Californians face a big decision when they go to the polls next month. To keep or not to keep the current governor? And if not, who to replace him? Those who want to maintain the status quo have two chances to do so. First, if the recall fails, then Governor Gray Davis stays in office and finishes the rest of his term. Second, if the recall succeeds and Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante becomes the state's next governor, then Davis still stays in office and finishes the rest of his term (for all intents and purposes, anyway). If California needs new leadership, it won't find it in Bustamante. If Davis is Vanilla, then Bustamante is Vanilla Bean.

Critics of the lieutenant governor have given him the epithet Cruz "Boost Your Taxes" Bustamante. The nickname may be a cheap shot, but it's an accurate one. Bustamante has made no secret of his intentions to raise taxes to the tune of $8 billion if he becomes governor. So if you feel your paycheck is too big or your property tax bill too small, give Cruz a boost at the polls. It'll be business as usual up in Sacramento.

Those who want real change for California have a much more difficult decision before them. They too have two chances to keep Davis in office, instead of two chances to boot him out. First, if the recall fails, then Davis remains in the governor's mansion. Second, if the recall succeeds, Bustamante will take Davis' place unless dissatisfied voters unite behind one of the alternate candidates. Tom McClintock seems by far the most qualified person for the job, yet Arnold Schwarzenegger is the frontrunner in the campaign. Between the two, they can win enough votes to easily trounce Bustamante; however, unless one bows out and endorses the other, they'll split the vote and give Bustamante the victory.

Which may call for a cynically strategic decision on October 7. If McClintock and Schwarzenegger both stay in to the bitter end, then voters opposed to Davis and Bustamante may have to vote for the "sure thing," rather than voting for the candidate they feel is the best choice. For example, I would vote for McClintock today, all things being equal. But if Schwarzenegger maintains his lead up to the election, I'll have no choice but to vote for him to ensure that new blood flows in Sacramento.

Anything can happen in four weeks. McClintock may drop out, Bustamante might fall out of favor, Schwarzenegger could endorse Gary Coleman. But the way things stand today, those who want a "total recall" face an uphill battle.

If you live in California and you haven't yet registered to vote, you only have
until September 22 to do so.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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September Columns:

9/29: Open Season
9/28: Runaway Train
9/27: The Seven
9/25: Dreamscape
9/24: Survivor: Sacramento
9/23: What Am I Doing at Work?
9/21: San Diego Chokers
9/20: Farewell, Galileo
9/17: Anything Can Happen
9/16: Midnight Writing
9/15: Decline and Fall
9/14: Loyalty By Default
9/13: Debt Snowball
9/12: My Cup Runneth Over
9/11: Unforgettable Day
9/10: Fall Approaches
9/9: Total Recall
9/8: Legal Illegals
9/7: 116 More Days
Previous months in The Archive

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