California election bad news for Bush
Posted by aogWednesday, 08 October 2003 at 21:14 TrackBack Ping URL
There’s a meme being presented that the recall of California governor Davis is a bad sign for President Bush, because it represents anger at incumbents (see here or the comments here). One of the commentors in the latter asks the best question to put this in perspective:
Had the recall failed, I wonder how many Democrats would be telling us that the vote reflected a general “pro-incumbent” feeling among voters, and should be interpreted as a vote of confidence for George Bush?
So what we see is that for the California recall,
  • A defeat for Davis is bad news for Bush because it’s anger at incumbents
  • A victory for Davis is bad news for Bush because it demonstrates Republican weakness

If only there had been other candidates in the election, preferably from both parties, so we could just the actual strength of the different parties by looking at the vote totals for those candidates. Imagine if there had been a candidate from the Democratic Party so we could see whether it was just Davis or the party in general that the voters didn’t like.

Regardless of the fact that Bush (or Karl Rove) is an Evil MasterMind™, not everything is about them. It’s not a good sign to have to spin everything as beneficial to one’s political Party. I don’t remember this kind of spinning after (now) Senator Landrieu won by the Republicans. But when you’re down you do what you can, I guess.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Oliver Wednesday, 08 October 2003 at 21:39

As opposed to the meme all over right-wingery last night and today that the election of Arnold heralds a new day for the GOP, and gosh-darn it President Bush will win California in a cakewalk. Etc, etc.

Dean Esmay Wednesday, 08 October 2003 at 22:43

It would be foolish not to acknowledge that this was a blow to Democrats in California, and to not admit that it’s a potential plus for Bush. If Arnold does poorly, well, Bush will probably lose California and the Dems will probably recapture the office and the Republicans are in the same place they already were.

If Arnold is popular and does well, then this will likely benefit Bush.

In other words, the two possibilities are: leaves Bush where he was, or, helps Bush.

Spinning it as helping Bush win in a cakewalk is as silly as spinning it as somehow bad news for Bush.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 09 October 2003 at 09:04


I think it requires a lot less spinning to label the results as good for Bush than as bad for him. The view I have is the same as Dean Esmay states here: that this is at worst neutral for Bush and potentially good. As I noted, not everything is about Bush so it’s quite possible that this has no larger meaning for national Republican politics.

I suppose I just read the wrong weblogs, but I haven’t seen anyone spinning this as a clear, undeniable new day for the GOP. Again, what I read is what Esmay and I say - maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But there doesn’t seem much downside for Bush from this election.

End of Discussion