"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wWednesday, March 06, 2002

CALIFORNIA (ELECTORAL) GOLD: Cheers to Californians for kicking that lying weasel (and possible murderer) Gary Condit out of office. Why Condit even bothered to make another run at it is beyond me.

Also, if early counts hold, Bill Simon knocked off Richard Riordan by a non-trivial margin for the honor of trying to oust another lying weasel, Gray Davis, from the Governor's Mansion. Bill Simon, the eponymous scion of the late Nixon Secretary of the Treasury, now has his work cut out for him. One plus is that he's running against a man whose tenure in office has been troubled, to say the least.

Davis expanded government, he created an energy crisis by tying the various utilities’ hands (see this column discussing the energy crisis and its effect on electoral prospects), he fought the end of bilingual education and is now - when test scores of poor brown kids have started to rise - trying to pander to separatist Latinos by attempting to bring it back. He is, in short, a man with a fat multi-ringed target painted on his chest; and Simon's potential quiver runneth over.

Then there is the matter of immigration. The mass influx of Mexicans has undoubtedly at least temporarily shifted the state to the left on economic issues, but this comes with a conservative social counter ballast. The largely Catholic Mexican immigrants tend to be much more against abortion and gay rights and such than their fellow Anglos. In his long treatment of California politics last year for The American Prospect, Harold Meyerson admitted as much but said that it didn't matter, because Latinos are now sophisticated enough politically to vote conservative on referendums and liberal on everything else.

We shall see. In many ways, this election should be the ideal test case. In the past decade or so, you've had a lot of potential good Catholic voters without a candidate with whom they could identify. Wilson was pro-abortion and anti-immigration. Lungren was too easily seen - like Davis and Riordan - as a politician who happens to be Catholic (and what kind of a Catholic teetotals?). With Simon the poles are reversed: He comes off as a good Catholic who just happens to be a politician and a sometimes-awkward one at that. Might this, the theory runs, not count for something with the new voters? Surely they might factor in that one of the candidates is like them when it comes time to pull that lever.

Whatever the outcome, this promises to be a most intriguing election. I know I'll be glued to the returns come election night.

posted by Jeremy at 3:02 AM