Wednesday, October 8, 2003

What's good for the goose ... the recall aftermath
Just when I thought the stupid California recall was over: ["Dems: New Recall in 100 Days"]. Can you blame them though? Gov. Gray Davis was a lousy Democrat. But the down economy isn't his fault, it's Bush's and Clinton's fault. Energy problems? Well, Davis isn't to blame for that. Bush's buddies at Enron are to blame for that. Job losses? Blame NAFTA and the free trade cultists, not Davis, for job losses. Well, okay, Davis is a free trader so he is partially to blame. But what gives? Just a year ago, Davis handily clobbered his Republican opponent [KPIX results], Bill Simon, 3,142,620 to 2,813,200 or 6 percent, with Green Party candidate Peter Camejo receiving 345,000 votes. Of course, as we all know, Republicans, like some Democrats, are very sore losers. So, they recalled Davis. Pretty pathetic.
However, look a little closer at the results. The recall won by less than 11 percent. So, over the last year, Davis essentially lost 17 percent of the vote he had a year before. That is hardly a revolution, especially considering that his approval ratings were as low as 20 percent in most polls.
Here is another numbers point that is significant: Schwarzenegger gets 3.7 million votes; Simon got 2.8 million votes in 2002. That is a gain of about 900,000 votes for the Republican candidate. But when you throw in Tom McClintock's numbers - a little over a million - that is almost 2 million votes gained by conservatives, in heavier turnout than the midterm election. Davis received 3.1 million votes in 2002 and Cruz Bustamante got 2.4 million, a drop of 700,000 votes, and that is with the Green candidate only receiving 213,000 votes. These numbers spell bad news for the Democrats, although California probably isn't in play for 2004 just yet.
However, they can learn an important lesson: Negative, out of touch, corrupt politicians will lose out over the anti-politician and positive. The key is, will the idiots at the DNC start getting it? Doubtful.
One good thing liberals can look at: The conservative-backed initiative to stop classifying government data by race, color, or national origin, Proposition 54, was handily defeated by over 2.1 million votes. Bustamante also spent most of his time and money campaigning to kill Prop 54 and not run for governor.
The most hilarious thing about all this is Arnold Schwarzenegger saying he wasn't going to be bought by the special interests yet he took millions from special interests, according to Common Cause: ["Actor bulks up on political donations"]. It was funny that we didn't hear anything on television about Schwarzenegger's special interests yet we heard every Republican hack cry over and over about Bustamante's Indian tribe and union donations.
The most frightening thing about all this is that people were foolishly swayed into voting for a movie star because, well, he is a movie star. In some ways, it will be funny, similar to Jesse Ventura winning in Minnesota. Yeah, people went to the polls and said f- you to the politicians and voted for the Terminator. But be careful what you wish for.
One last note on the recall: In typical corporate media fashion, KCRA in Sacramento, being simulcast on C-SPAN, cut off Camejo's concession speech after a couple of minutes, right in the middle when he was chastising the media for ignoring his campaign and his platform. Camejo pointed to the real reason the state was broke: Affluent people pay a lower tax rate than working class folks. Camejo said the only media outlet to acknowledge one of his main economic points was the San Jose Mercury News. Here is the article: ["Your taxes: How California compares"].

Despite rating California as one of four "very progressive'' states that collect more taxes from the rich, poor and middle-class Californians nonetheless bear a higher tax burden than the state's wealthy taxpayers. For the poorest one-fifth of families, taxes consume 11.3 percent of the average family income of $11,100. That burden is 7.2 percent, however, for the one in 100 California families with an average income of $1.6 million.

Now, before anyone starts yelling, yeah 11.3 percent is REALLY HIGH. But why should the poor folks pay that when the richies pay a rate that is 38 percent lower?
And this from Camejo's sit down with the editorial staff: ["Tax the rich, end the deficit"].

"The other problem that I think is a falsehood in the campaign is the Republican message that everybody is leaving California, we're overregulated, we're overtaxed. Corporations have the lowest tax rate they have had -- I don't know how far back -- but for the last 40 years. It's dropped from 9.6 percent to 5.3 percent. The other area is that if you look at [effective tax rates on individuals] you see that the poorest people pay the highest tax rate and the wealthiest people pay the lowest tax rate. The richest 1 percent pay 7.2 [percent of income]. I think one fact that you should bring out is how skewed we are. It's kind of scary. One percent of the people get $250 billion a year in income in California. When a society gets that skewed, you start thinking Third World."

Wow. It looks like the wrong person was elected governor.