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Election Schmelection

by Amy Zidell

10.02.03

Everyone can agree politics are a nasty business. It's getting personal when my Join Arnold yard sign is swiped from in front of my house. I guess those same people whining fowl to the Recall saying their voice isn't being heard are only interested in hearing the voices of those that agree with them. So many things have been said in the course of the Recall election, so many incorrect things. Let's look at some election myths, misconceptions, and ideas spun out of control.

Myths
• Myth #1. The Recall is wrong.

No, there's nothing wrong about the Recall. The Recall provision has been on the legislative books in California for decades. If someone didn't like the wording or the effect of the specifics detailed in it, they had plenty of time to complain and work toward changing it. When Democrat presidential hopefuls whine of an unjust, unconstitutional election they condemn California Law itself. Personally, I don't find this a winning vote gathering strategy for the Golden State. Frankly, such posturing offends me. The suggestion that someone should only be allowed to be fired when they commit a crime is an onerous burden for any employer. The People qualify as the employer when it comes to political offices. In any case, the cries, which come from those opposing Republicans, are rather fickle. When Democrat office holders were found to have broken laws (in office), these same voices objected to office removal. You can't have it both ways.

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• Myth #2. The Recall costs too much.

Ask yourself: Can California afford to continue to hemorrhage cash at an alarming rate? I think not. The cost of the Recall election is minimal compared to the relief the State should realize with a successful Recall.

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• Myth #3. As little as 15% of the voters will determine the next governor.

Oh ye of little faith. Recent polls suggest that more like 40% of the voters will be determining the next governor.

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Misconceptions
Sound bites, in commercials and otherwise, are creating lots of confusing misinformation.

• Misconception #1. Bustamante pleads with voters about college tuitions going up and asks for your vote presumably so he can fix things.

Where has Bustamante been since 1998? Sacramento. Hmmm. Hmmm.

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• Misconception #2. People and businesses aren't really leaving California.

Yes they are. I personally know of two businesses, three people, and one family that left California. While that's merely anecdotal evidence, and not a scientific survey, that's the reality of what I've observed is happening.

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• Misconception #3. Moderate Republicans aren't viable candidates.

The endorsement of the California Republican party and other key Republican entities of Mr. Schwarzenegger shows that moderate Republicans are viable, electable, and are now an acknowledged part of the Republican party. Just wait and see the ripple effects of this not insignificant development on national politics.

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Spun Out of Control
• Spun #1. Only politicians with years of experience are qualified to run the State.

Please. Gray Davis probably has the best resume of anyone out there to be governor based on political experience. Heck he was the Lt. Governor... and look at what a fine job he's done. I believe that ability should be the focal point, not a résumé. Ability to get bipartisan support. Ability to delegate. Ability to build a team. I believe Arnold Schwarzenegger can and is doing this.

I have heard from more than one member of the California legislature that Gray Davis is not well liked. Consider the fact that it was NEWS that Lt. Governor Bustamante and Davis were on stage together as evidence of this. Imagine the ineffective work environment this aura creates, when the person supposed to lead can't find consensus in a sock.

McClintock's own camp boasts of him being a maverick and an independent thinker. He's to be respected for holding fast to his beliefs, even if they are out of step with many Californians not to mention Americans. Why he's so independent that he's contrarian. That's a fine quality for certain political offices and in promoting certain legislation. It's great for some aspects of business, even movie directing. But for governor? Flexibility and the ability to work well with others are defining skills of a leader.

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• Spun #2. Arianna Huffington

The consensus of those I've spoken with - including Republicans and Democrats - is, "What's her problem?," and "Why is she so angry?" Shrill nagging doesn't suit or promote a positive image of strong women. However many of the female leads in Arnold Schwarzenegger films depict strong and capable women. One of my focused areas of studies in obtaining my bachelors degree in Political Science included political themes in literature and film. Sadly, I haven't seen T3 yet but I've heard enough about it and am well familiar with its predecessors to understand that negative representations are presented about irresponsible technology and not women. In fact women, indeed mothers, are shown as being the genesis and protectors of society. Can't think of a more positive message than that.

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• Spun #3. The LA Times is biased

Actually, I agree with that one.

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Other things to keep in mind

Assuming the Recall passes and Arnold Schwarzenegger wins, Cruz Bustamante will still be Lt. Governor. For anyone concerned that the Governator will be running amuck at will in Sacramento, isn't it comforting to know that California law allows for this lovely aspect of checks and balances to occur by the will of the People? Yeah, that's right, the same collective California law that established the process and procedure of this Recall. Oh and for you right wingers out there, let's not forget Tom McClintock will still be a state senator in the legislature. The legislature, another part of that essential triumvirate of our government structure. Three branches - executive, legislative, and judicial - which do check and balance each other in our State and our Country. Most importantly, this is a government of the People. Seems many have forgotten this. So get out there and vote! No matter your party or candidate affiliation. Your voice cannot be heard if you do not sing. Sing away at your polling places. Mark those ballots carefully. Punch those punch cards through. I hope that newspaper headlines October 8th will read, "Recall Passes! Schwarzenegger Wins By Landslide.!" We'll know in a few days.

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