Issa On Ice


Darrell Issa, the first man in the running to replace Gray Davis and the only one who's really done anything to earn the job, has withdrawn from the race.

The Republican U.S. Rep. "fought back tears" while making his announcement, say The Washington Post's Rene Sanchez and Kimberly Edds. That could be interpreted in various ways. My suspicion has always been that Issa didn't harbor any serious gubernatorial ambitions and was instead interested in becoming the leader of the Golden State's Republican Party. If so, then the tears are just there for our consumption, to show that he's willing to make great sacrifices for the good of California. By making the recall happen, he's made himself the de facto party leader, no matter who gets the governorship.

On the other hand, Issa has been subjected to severe media beatings ever since Debbie Schlussel gratuitously dubbed the Maronite Christian politician "Jihad Darrell." His new nickname in Sacramento is said by Jill Stewart (and by the way, when's she gonna announce?) to be "the smoldering ruin." If this interpretation is more accurate, then he was crying on the inside and the outside. "As they have pounded on my personal past," Issa says, "and they have pounded on my party and my motives, I have known all along that our motives were good for California."

Either way, the Republicans would do well to make this the beginning of an effort to clear the decks. Bill Simon, the schmuck, couldn't beat Gray Davis mere months ago, and the party should absolutely savage him for even thinking about running again. Dick Riordan, God bless him, couldn't even beat Bill Simon. Go away, Peter Ueberroth. Sayonara, Jack Kemp. If the Republicans can't keep these jokers off the ballot, it just proves that Darrell Issa is the first breath of competence the party has drawn since the mid-90s.

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  1. It is the right move by Issa.

    Whether this was pre-planned or not (and if he did plan to drop out after sucking up the initial hits for planning the recall, it’d be impressive)

    Mind you, there would be one benefit to having Simon in…. he could do all the mean-spirited bitter partisan attacks (so that Arnold doesn’t have to), and (because he was candidate before) he wouldn’t obviously be doing it as a put up job.

  2. I have a hard time holding Riordan’s loss to Simon against him, as he was only defeated because Davis, realizing that Simon’s white-bread Republican social views would make him a much easier candidate to beat, launched a smear campaign against Riordan in the primaries. The state GOP, egged on by the geniuses at National Review and always happy to demonstrate an unwillingness to accept the fact that California isn’t Nebraska, bought into the smear campaign and voted for Simon.

  3. That’s exactly why he shouldn’t get any consideration now. Sorry, but I have no more sympathy for a politician who can’t survive a smear campaign than I do for a celebrity who can’t get any privacy.

  4. A smear campaign by itself, yes. But a smear campaign that worked in tandem with a party’s historical head-in-the-sand proclivities is a little different. I doubt that any pro-choice Republican, Arnold included, would’ve fared any better under similar circumstances.

  5. I don’t think it was just a matter of failing to survive a smear campaign; Riordan was his own worst enemy. It would have been bad enough if he had simply assumed the nomination was his and sat out the campaign. Instead, he seized every opportunity bait conservatives Republicans and apply the “extremist” label to just about everyone to his right. “Republican-lite,” we could have lived with. Instead, he ran as an anti-Republican Republican, and still can’t understand why that theme didn’t win him the Republican Party endorsement.

  6. Mr. Cavanaugh,

    “By making the recall happen, he’s made himself the de facto party leader, no matter who gets the governorship.” You _are_ joking, right?

    This recall is a boon to the Democrats up in Sacramento. From here in San Diego (not in the good Representative Issa’s district – thankfully!) I’m seeing this as a win/win for the Dems. If, by some major miracle, the Gray Man manages to hold office then he and the rest of the California Democrats will have a really big stick to beat on the Republicans with about their “non-partisan behavior” and all that.

    On the other hand, and a much more likely one, with a Republican suddenly sitting in the Governor’s chair the Dems now have a perfect combo fall guy/ whipping boy for every and all ills this state now suffers from. For the rest of that poor schmuck’s term he’ll be the one they point to as the state sinks ever deeper in the mire. By having such a convenient patsy this absolves the Democrats from having to do _anything_ positive, creative, or constructive. Oh, and once the new guy’s term is finally up the Dems then get to run a new candidate who will “set things right and clean up the mess those Republican’s made!”

    In the midst of all this is that twit Issa. He started this train wreck in progress and did so for pure egotism. This guy is a barely competent politician down here in San Diego County and it has been his delusions of grandeur – along with more money than brains – which spurred him to start this monstrosity in the first place. The fact that he’s bailed out the moment the _real_ players stepped up should be proof enough of that.

    So, please, tell me you’re joking when you think Issa “is the first breath of competence the party has drawn since the mid-90s.” You _are_ joking, right?


    Madoc Pope

  7. “By having such a convenient patsy this absolves the Democrats from having to do _anything_ positive, creative, or constructive.”

    Look, you Demo bozos haven’t done any of those things in years. Talk about delusions of grandeur. I hereby absolve you of having to think.

  8. Madoc Pope, I (like everybody else in the state) have already given thought to the exact thesis you laid out here, and I gotta tell ya, Fink, it won’t wash. If the Democrats really want to use your win-by-losing strategy (and I have seen precisely nothing that indicates they do), then they need even more strategy advice than the Republicans. These guys aren’t Aikido champions; they’re politicians, and when they’re not winning they’re losing. To believe that any political party would gladly gives up one of the highest offices in the country in the hope that that will make the public disgusted with the opposition is an idea so dumb it goes past smart and back to dumb again.

    Meanwhile, Issa has given the Republicans the first recall to come to a ballot in the history of the state, the biggest and most entertaining political news in the country right now, and a situation where the Democrats look like a bunch of feckless chumps; and he’s clothed the whole thing in the guise of a groundswell popular rising (which to some extent, it is). He also bore the brunt of the flack for making the recall happen, leaving the A Team to come in fresh; I don’t know whether he did that last part on purpose, but every mob boss likes an underling who’s willing to lose some skin in the game. Issa is the father of all this, and no matter what the media and the peanut gallery say, the hacks and crooks who run the party know it. I’d say that makes him stupid like a fox. Whether he’s got more money than brains, well, if you’re so smart etc…

  9. The California Democrats are in an awful position. No one could look at the fiscal mess that Davis and Democrats (as Dave Barry would say a good name for a rock band!) and make a case that the State has anywhere to go but up.

    The stories that have claimed the winner of the recall inherits a mess are right in one sense and wrong in another. I think the winner definately is inheriting a mess but it is a mess that is well documented, well known and already effectively blamed on Davis (right or wrong).

    If any person claims otherwise they are kidding themselves. Trying to blame whoever wins the recall for the California budget mess is going to produce an even less favorable result than some Democrats have obtained trying to blame todays ‘economy’ on the 10 year cost of tax cuts that have just now taken effect. That is to say it only works on the dumb and people who are already convinced, it converts almost no one.

    I think there are a lot of state constitutions being scrutinized to be certain that the kind of fiasco progressing in California could not happen there. I know I checked out the Kentucky constitution…no chance here. I sincerely hope for the sake of government stability, that a proposed constitutional amendment is passed anywhere that it is required which establishes some useful restrictions on recalls. A state government can not be operated if the CEO of that entity is going to be subject to a privately funded recall movement every time there is a close election or an unpopular position must be taken.

    It is entertaining to think about a candidate debate (would it be carried by Comedy Central?) in which Gary Coleman scowled at Arnold Swartzenaggar, “Whaachewtawlkinabout Arnold!” I mean that should be worth 10,000 votes for Gary right there!

  10. “A state government can not be operated if the CEO of that entity is going to be subject to a privately funded recall movement every time there is a close election or an unpopular position must be taken.”

    I think this is what a lot of non-Californians think – that there will be some recall orgy in which every official down to local school board members will face constant monthly recalls. It won’t happen. I’ve seen enough local recall attempts fall flatly on their faces to know that Californians are basically for the status quo. Nobody wants to shake things up that much.

    Davis is a huge exception. I’ve been a Davis-hater since his second year in office and there are a lot of issues that I vehemently contest with him. But I wouldn’t shout “Recall” over them. This time it’s different. Right or wrong he’s taking the heat for massive, deliberate, catastrophic financial failure. And in the wake of the Enron debacle, heads must roll for this sort of thing.

    Course he could just resign and let Cruz Bustamonte have the spot for free.

  11. The recall provision has existed for ages. Yet it’s never been done in California before. The only reason it’s working now is because Californians are super pissed at Davis because he’s a lying piece of crap. It seems like everyone is analyzing this to death and making all kinds of claims about the dems doing this or the repubs doing that but the bottom line is a broad spectrum of people signed the recall because they are pissed. I stood outside Nob Hill and watched a lady with a petition. She had people waiting in line 4 deep at one point all wanting to sign.

    Lets dispense with the stoooopidity

    California is governable- It’s been done for years

    California does not have a tax system that is unmanageable- Its been done successfully for years

    This was not a right wing conspiracy- Look at how fast and how many signatures showed up. Californians from all walks of life are fed up with Davis,

    I hope Davis has trouble finding work when this is over.

  12. Tim- Agree with you on Issa. How does Boxer v Issa in 04 sound? However, I find it interesting that a presumably “libertarian” writer is upset that the GOP lacks an enforcement mechanism to oust those candidates that don’t come up to snuff. According to who? Is the Cal GOP now to be the equivalent of the Sopranos? And for what its worth, McClintock would appear to be much more of a sure thing on reducing the size of our state gov vs Ahnuld. Course I cant quite see him inhaling that baseball bat size doobie so maybe that counts for something?

  13. Someone online (I can;t remember who) brilliantly observed that Arnold was using Darrel Issa as a human shield, to draw fire( like he did with the dead man on the escalator in Total Recall). Now it looks like he’s been cast aside, his purpose fufilled.
    With Republicans dropping out, and Democrats, Indepenents, and “joke candidates” entering in droves (see my

  14. Multicar pileups at NASCAR races are entertaining too, but being entertaining and being edifying are two different things.

    Here’s what’s interesting to me about this: Gray Davis’ attempts to keep strong Democrats out of the race collapsed. In fact, both Garamendi and Bustamante appear to be running. This changes the dynamics of the race from what I thought they would be; a week ago I was sure there would be several candidates splitting the Republican vote, with only one credible Democrat on the ballot and in an excellent position to win. It looks now as if we may have the opposite, with Republicans rallying to Schwarzenegger and Democrats splitting their vote. This may not happen because California Republicans are notorious political morons with an instinct for self-destruction. I’m just saying it’s possible.

  15. However, I find it interesting that a presumably “libertarian” writer is upset that the GOP lacks an enforcement mechanism to oust those candidates that don’t come up to snuff. According to who? Is the Cal GOP now to be the equivalent of the Sopranos?

    Last question first: To compare the California GOP to the Sopranos would be an insult to the Sopranos. In terms of dysfunctionality, I’d lean more toward the analogy of the Gambino family in the era of Joe Colombo’s Italian-American Civil Rights League.

    As for the inevitable who’s-more-libertarian pissing competition, the GOP is a freely associated organization and can do what it wants including enforcing rules within its own blah blah blah.

    As for my being “upset,” don’t make me larf. I have no more interest in the Republicans than I do in golf, but just as I understand Tiger Woods to be a better linksman than my stepdad, so Issa’s success in making the recall happen stands in sharp contrast to the cranial-rectal inversion of the statewide party. If the Republicans can’t keep the chumps off the ballot, that’s no skin off my ass. But it would, I think, demonstrate the party’s continuing fecklessness.

  16. EMAIL:
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  17. EMAIL:
    DATE: 05/20/2004 12:16:24
    [In] mourning, it is better to err on the side of grief than on the side of formality.

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