Kerry: 'No new nuances'

Kerry: 'No new nuances'

Kerry: 'No new nuances'

A mostly political Weblog.
Sept. 2 2003 4:24 AM

Group Sex Update!

Plus: Boosting Bustamante

Mas, por favor! Daniel Weintraub says Cruz Bustamante's "belated renunciation of ethnic nationalism ends the furor over his long-ago membership in the MEChA" but shouldn't end questions about the "ethnic identity politics" of California's Latino Caucus and how its policies--on education, in particular--hurt the state, Latino citizens included. I agree. I associate myself with Weintraub's comments. I too am ready to move on to the question of why it took Bustamante so long to renounce MEChA . Except for one thing: As far as I can tell, Bustamante hasn't seriously renounced MEChA or its ideology. Here's the tooth-pulling exchange Wientraub cites, from the A.P.:

On Fox News on Saturday, Bustamante was asked whether he renounced a slogan of the group: "For the race everything. For those outside the race, nothing."

He responded that he loved his culture and would represent the entire state if he became governor.

"My politics ... have grown to a point where I'm a very inclusive individual, and all you have to do is look at the politics I've shared and the kind of politics that I've had," Bustamante said.

When pressed a fourth time for a more direct answer, Bustamante said, "Racial separatism is wrong... You have to look at what people do, not just what they say, and I think I've demonstrated my ability." [Emphasis added]

That's it?  ... Tacitus recounts Bustamante's ducking and dodging  on this issue. Unless there's something important hidden in those ellipses, it sounds to me like he's still dodging.  After all, Bustamante was asked to renounce the slogan, "For the race everything. For those outside the race nothing." The one thing he didn't do is renounce the slogan, "For the race everything. For those outside the race, nothing."  He didn't say that either MEChA, or the slogan, actually is separatist, nor did he address the various offensive aspects of the slogan (and the literal Mechista ideolog), that fall short of separatism--e.g., the idea that, even though you live in a mixed society, you should devote all your efforts to your "people" and not to outsiders. Bustamante didn't dare find anything to criticize in MEChA at all. ...More: There were two tests here, remember: 1) A test of Bustamante's ideology, and 2) a test of his political courage and skill. I never suspected he actually was a separatist. I also never suspected he had courage. Both suspicions have been confirmed.   ...


P.S.: It would be churlish and paranoid to note that, as a purely logical matter, Bustamante didn't even renounce the idea of "Aztlan," as a Quebec-like secessionist entity--as long as Aztlan wasn't racially separatist.... But I don't really think Bustamante wants to create an actual Aztlan. ... What would I want Bustamante to say? At a bare minimum, "That slogan expresses a kind of ethnic separatism or favoritism that is wrong."  He could then say either "I used to believe it but not any more," or "I never subscribed to it. Nobody did." (I guess, "It's offensive. They should take it off their web sites" would be asking too much.) ...

P.P.S.: Many kf readers have noted that "Raza" is not a racial concept, which might be unworkable when it comes to Chicanos, who are of various races. Bustamante specifically criticized "racial separatism," not "ethnic separatism." You don't think ...? Update: UPI's Steve Sailer says many kf readers are wrong. He emails: "'Raza' is very much a racial concept." He discusses the issue  here:

[T]he official ideology of Mexico has been that the Mexicans [are] a "mestizo" people--a mixture of Spaniards and Indians--officially referred to as "La Raza" or "The Race." Since 1928, Mexico has celebrated Oct. 12 as "The Day of The Race." On Oct. 12, 1946, Mexican politician José Vasconcelos famously declared mestizos to be "the cosmic race."

This is all interesting. But whether "La Raza" is

a) the basis for an explicitly racial identity politics or

b) a social construct of the sort you'd come up with if you wanted to practice identity politics without a clear racial identity


seems a secondary issue. It's identity politics either way--and it's more than just "separatism." ... 12:47 A.M.

Monday, September 1, 2003

The alert kf reader who started the whole Schwarzengangbanger story by putting his 1977 Oui magazine up for sale on eBay has had his auction cancelled by the Web site, even though the auction had been going for 5 days and the bidding had reached $835. eBay yanked him on a technicality--under the site's arcane rules, only pre-1980 Playboys and Penthouses may be sold in the regular "vintage" magazine section, apparently. The rest have to go in the Mature Audiences category. Oui was published by Playboy, but that didn't save him. ... And he was actually selling it for the articles, not the pictures! ... Was there outside pressure from Schwarzenscandal-fighting attorney Martin Singer? Was eBay scared by the publicity? Was my source the victim of jealous rivals hawking the same magazine? I don't know. I do know that all his bids have been cancelled and he has no way to contact the bidders. ... But his loss can be, yes, your gain! He's relisted the magazine in eBay's "Mature" section here  (You have to register with eBay as being over 18.) What was previously selling for over $800 is--at the moment--going for a lot less. ... Remember that a)Oui, unlike, say, Premiere, isn't something you can typically get down at your local library, and b) this isn't a copy of the historic August 1977 issue. It's the historic copy of the historic issue, the actual magazine that circumvented the bizarre tabloid Arnold blackout and started this valuable character-illuminating episode when it was posted for sale--the one the Smoking Gun people leased. ... [You getting a cut of this?--ed. No. But I don't like to see a source screwed. For a moment I thought you were pioneering a new, profitable form of journalism-ed]...  8:34 P.M.

Low-stress aerobic journalism gains in popularity: Was A.S. BS'ing in Oui magazine  about that '70s era gang-bang "upstairs" at the original Venice Gold's Gym--telling an interviewer for a sex magazine what he knew the magazine wanted to hear? That's always seemed to me to be a real possibility, and journalist Catherine Seipp raised it again this morning during a phone discussion. After Seipp's call, I went to work out at my usual gym in Marina del Rey, which is part of the World Gym chain. It's an unpretentious, low-pressure facility, featuring a nice open-air weight room and clean lockers. Another feature is Joe Gold, the founder of the World chain and the Gold of Gold's Gym, which he owned during the period Schwarzenegger is talking about in Oui.  Gold often hangs out in the office by the front door, and he was there today. I decided to go the extra mile for the story, which was really more like fifteen feet, and ask Gold about the incident. He said there were no women in Gold's Gym at all during this period--his gym was men-only at the time, a policy he didn't abandon until much later. "We did not have gang bangs in my gym. That's a fact."  He said could not, however, vouch for "the beach" near the gym. ... P.S.: I assume Gold is an Arnold supporter. The gentleman he was talking to, who works at the gym, was wearing a pro-Arnold T-shirt. .. P.P.S.: In fact, the World Gym site features a pop-up endorsement of Schwarzenegger, and sells Arnold-for-Governor T-shirts. ... 4:59 P.M.

Kerry goof? John Kerry delivered a distressingly well-crafted, almost life-like performance on Meet the Press Sunday. But did he really intend what he said in the following exchange--when he was in a toeing-the-line, 'I never really questioned affirmative action' mode?

MR. RUSSERT: ... This week in Boston, your hometown, a federal court said that four white firefighters must be given their jobs because they had been passed over by black applicants who had tested lower on the test. Do you agree with the court decision?


MR. RUSSERT: The court also said the city no longer has to hire one black for every white they hire. Do you agree with that?



Why do I think he might have been happier with something closer to "no"? ... But he didn't flip-flop! ... Latest Kerry slogan: "No new nuances!"... P.S.: It's possible Kerry thinks this was a valid suit because it's a Bakke-like complaint about "hard" numerical reverse discrimination, and possible he thinks admission to the Boston Fire Department is not the same as admission to a university when it comes to diversity, and possible he wasn't thinking at all, I suppose. ... Here's a Globe article on the case. ... 1:16 A.M.

Sin of Commission: Schwarzenegger  tells his immigration position to William Bradley:

"California can't do it alone. We need more federal help in funding and in border protection, and we need to convene a conference of border state governors to agree on solutions."

In other words, another punt (to go with his budget "audit" punt and his affirmative action punt). ... I'm not sure this will a) satisfy voter longing for McCainian candor or b) hold up over what may seem to A.S.'s veteran advisers like a short 5 week campaign but is really a looooong 5 week campaign. ... As seemingly reformed twit Kevin Starr notes:

" ... people are getting information on a 24-7 basis. They're used to feedback. They're used to things being changed. They're used to laying down databases. Everything moves very rapidly, and people want that from their government as well."


They may not, in this Faster world, be happy with a candidate who can't, in five weeks, figure out what to do. Especially if they'll have to live with him for 3 long years. ... 12:29 A.M.

Starr Sees Light: It's never too late to repent! ... Highfalutin' East Coast anti-recall sneerers take note. (Joe "It's also kind of a joke" Klein, this means you!) ...  12:02 A.M.

Sunday, August 31, 2003

The new Peter King "On the Recall" column is up! Value added: zero! ... My favorite piercing insight:

Finally, there is the Arnold factor. The sense is that a lot of Californians don't yet know quite what to make of Schwarzenegger, the self-proclaimed populist with a personal fortune worth some $200 million.


How pathetic is it that the best thing LAT editor John Carroll could think of doing during the recall was to find a guy who had nothing to say and give him a twice a week column! ... Hugh Hewitt piles on. ... 10:48 A.M.

What's the translation of "Por La Raza todo. Fuera de la Raza Nada"? Alert reader W.M. suggests  that kf (and the LAT, and Michelle Malkin) have been mistranslating this MEChA slogan, and I think he has a point. Instead of "For the Race, everything. For those outside the Race nothing," (Translation #1) the phrase may mean either

"By meansof the Race, everything. Outside the Race, nothing." (Translation #2)


"On behalf of the Race, everything. Outside the Race, nothing." (Translation #3)


Either of those translations would be considerably more benign than the wildly offensive one that's been given. They would be more typical and precise expressions of a virulent and misguided identity politics--e.g. that the ethnic background of Chicanos is the most important thing about them, and that the only route to political and personal advancement is through ethnic solidarity as Chicanos (as opposed to, say, as Americans or as individuals). ... The context is ambiguous, however. It's a pretty strident passage, with distinctly unfriendly references to the "foreign Europeans" and the "foreigner 'gabacho' who exploits our riches and destroys our culture." Maybe the slogan is ambiguous too. ... Reader feedback requested: Further consultation with better Spanish speakers more familiar with 1960's Chicano radicalism is required--if that means any of you, please fill me in. ... But it seems very possible at least that the importation of the nasty reference to "those outside the race"--e.g., non-Chicanos--was unwarranted. I've corrected the text and appended updates below. ... Still ... : Either way, the LAT was still wrong in suggesting that the slogan wasn't part of the MEChA philosophy, and it's still true that an Anglo group with an equivalent slogan would be pilloried (by the Times and others). I still want ex-Mechista Cruz Bustamante to say whether or not he agrees with it, and if he says he agrees, or if--as I suspect--he disagrees and doesn't have the minimal courage to say he disagrees, I don't think I want him to be governor. ... P.S.: The issue is further complicated because on some Web sites, but not others, the first word is given as the English "For" and not the Spanish "Por." That would point to Translation #3 instead of #2--but I suspect it's the result of applying English spellchecking software to a Spanish sentence, since the word "todo," meaning "all," is rendered as the English "to do." ... P.P.S.: W.M. notes that Translation #2 (as well as #3) suggests, oppressively, that not only will Chicanos meet with no success outside the Race, but that they should not even try to work outside the Race; they should "do everything through La Raza." ... What's the difference between #1 and #3? The difference between saying, "Those outside the Race should wind up with nothing" (#1) and, "We'll do nothing outside of what we do to help the Race--i.e., we won't work to benefit outsiders or ourselves as individuals" (#3). 6:25 P.M.

Spinning Gold--Who are you going to believe, the LAT or your own eyes! The LAT's Matea Gold defends the MEChA identity-politics group  in a news article that quotes only MEChA supporters. She downplays "El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan"--which contains the controversial slogan [see above ] "For the Race, Everything; Outside the Race, Nothing"--suggesting it's just a historical broadside some MEChA sites link to:

Still, several MEChA Web sites link to a document called "El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan," which was written at the National Chicano Youth Conference in Denver in March 1969, a month before MEChA was created. ...

MEChA's motto is "La Union Hace La Fuerza," which means, "Unity Creates Power." MEChA members said another slogan that translates as "For the race, everything. For those outside the race, nothing" is not the group's motto, as reported by some news organizations, but was used by Chicano activists before MEChA was founded. [Emphasis added]

Hmmm. Here is the current Web site of the San Jose State University MEChA chapter. You'll see that "El Plan de Aztlan" is a full, separate page on the site, billed prominently on the home page, republished in the site's text and format. This isn't a "link." It's an embrace. ... And here's the "Plan" page itself. Note that the controversial slogan appears at the end of the first section in italics.  ... Is it only the San Jose MEChA site that embraces the "Plan"? Nope. It's also here (Cal State Fullerton) ... here  (L.A. County, which identifies it as one of "MEChA's Founding Documents,") ...  here (San Diego, which requires that each campus chapter keep a copy) ...  and here (U.S.C., which describes it as "fundamental to the M.E.Ch.A. philosophy"). You get the point. ... Is the L.A. Times a) "objectively' reporting on a campaign controversy or b) bending over backwards to exonerate Latino activists, either out of political correctness, or because it's terrified of alienating a large group of potential readers, or as part of its near-monolithic Bustamante-boosting coverage? You make the call! ... Would the Times show similar tolerance for, say, an anti-bilingual site that reprinted a document containing the slogan, "For the Anglo race, everything. Outside the Anglo race, nothing"?" [Again, see above.]...  P.S.: Some MEChA chapters do seem to omit the "Plan de Aztlan" (e.g. Cerritos). But about half the ones I looked at on this list  feature it. ... Not so fast: It turns out Cerritos features it too--the initials "EPE" threw me off. And alert kf reader E.M. notes that the constitution of the Cerritos chapter says (Article II, Section 8):

Students shall be guided by El Plan de Santa Barbara and El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan.

But hey, it's just something "used by Chicano activists before MEChA was founded." ... 2:04 A.M.

Friday, August 29, 2003

More eBay Schwarzendigging prospects: Ordinary Americans from all walks of life are scrounging around behind the old high-school history notebooks in their closets! ... Alert kf reader MG notes that there is a December, 1981 Penthouse with an Arnold Schwarzenegger interview for sale here, as well as herein the adult section of eBay (registration required). ... I have no idea what Schwarzenegger says in it, but it's close enough in time to the candid 1977 Oui interview to be worth hunting down. ... Update: The S.F. Chronicle  appears to have read the interviewand come up with only a flip-flop, over two decades, on gun control. ... 4:03 P.M.

Advice for Kerry campaign manger Jim Jordan: From a Howard Fineman report in the July, 14 issue of Newsweek:

"We can take Howard Dean out whenever we want to," said one Kerry adviser. "Why do it now?"

Er, wouldn't now be a good time? ... 3:59 A.M. was one of the few sites to spot a late-breaking trend and correctly predict the 2002 mid-term Congressional elections. When they talk, kf listens. Their analysis of the California recall, in essence: Cruz is doomed, but Davis ain't.

While the evidence continues to remain strong that Davis will indeed be recalled, we think the Democrats have a better shot at getting that pro-Davis recall number below 50.0% than they do of having Cruz out duel Arnold.

Schwarzenegger has not been strong enough lately, on the stump or in his fluffy TV ads, for me to confidently agree with RCP. But I think they're right. ... More: kf mystery pollster "M" agrees that the press is paying too much attention to the polls in the Cruz vs. Arnold "replacement" race and way too little attention to the up-down, yes-no vote on Davis that comes first. ... Why is the "recall" polling so important? 1) The recall question "is no more complex than those typically asked on political surveys," so the polling on it is likely to be accurate (unlike the polling on the "replacement" race, where you have to try to figure out, for example,whether pro-Davis Dems are even going to vote on the question). 2) On the recall,  "various polls done over the summer consistently suggest a very close race, except for those done in the week after Arnold got in the race." But those polls could reflect a temporary "Arnold bump" that will recede. .... 2:31 A.M.

Here is a completely accurate article in theLAT! ... 2:29 A.M.

"For the Race, everything. Outside the Race, nothing:" The issue of Cruz Bustamante's refusal to distance himself from Mecha, the creepy Chicano identity politics student group-- raised most insistently by Michelle Malkin--appears to be getting some traction  in the California recall. On tonight's L.A. evening news it got equal billing with the Scwarzengangbanger story. But while the latter scandal could fade quickly, the Mecha story won't, because Bustamante's response has been so revealingly pathetic. ... Mecha may or may not be separatist, secessionist or irridentist--here's a pro-Mechista denial of any such thing--but it's at the least still an extreme expression of a distasteful and discredited identity politics. It's not only opposed to assimilation but it seeks to make ethnic identity and "nationalism" the fundamental basis of political activity. (Many American Jewish groups fight against assimilation too, but I haven't seen any with a slogan equivalent to "For the Race, everything. Outside the race, nothing." [See above  for some translation issues.]) ... I'm not saying Bustamante has to condemn Mecha as the equivalent of the KKK, as Malkin and Republican candidate Tom McClintock seem to demand. But you'd think he could at least say "I was a student then. I don't agree with that anymore. I think it's wrong." Instead, his defense (as televised) was basically that many of his Mecha student colleagues have gone on to become college graduates and professionals. Great! I'm sure Mecha is a powerful upward-mobility networking machine on California's campuses. But can't college graduates and professionals be racialists and separatists? Are there no, say, college graduates in Quebec who want to secede from Canada? ... P.S.: The Mecha issue is also a test of character for Bustamante. Who is it he's scared of offending and why? Donde esta la Hermana Souljah? ... P.P.S.: Bustamante is posing these days as a left-wing Democrat, but he's been a Lieberman supporter. Maybe some mischievous, bored journalist covering the Democratic presidential campaign should ask Sen. Lieberman what he thinks of Bustamante's Mecha support. It might break up the monotony. ... Bonus thought: Was Bustamante attracted to Lieberman precisely because the latter has succeeded in politics with a substantially unassimilated ethnic identity? ...12:59 A.M.

Thursday, August 28, 2003's readers seem ... unreceptive to the Schwarzengangbanger story. ... Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger himself has brushed it off, saying "I haven't lived my life to be a politician." If only Dan ("I did not know in 1969 that I would be in this room today") Quayle had thought of that one.  ... P.S.: The bidding on the actual Oui magazine  that started this is now up to $150. ... Update: $760! ... 12:44 A.M.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Poll in a Hole: In his L.A. Weekly column, William Bradley uncovers a seemingly pathetic and ineffective sub-rosa negative Davis campaign against Schwarzenegger. He also reports, regarding  that LAT poll showing a "wide" Bustamante lead:

The numbers are diametrically opposed to the views of well-informed top Democratic strategists, who are aided by their own polling.

Bradley is obviously pro-Arnold. You should know that. But he also tends to be accurate. ... 7:41 P.M.

Caution--Robopoll: That KABC-TV Eyewitness News poll showing Arnold with an extreme 16 point lead is a SurveyUSA 'pushbutton poll.' No wonder it differs from the other polls that haven't eliminated what SurveyUSA calls 

the single largest cost of conducting research ... the human interviewer. [Emph. added]

This may also explain why ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin seems to be less than wildly enthusiastic about the poll even though it's the pride and joy of a key ABC affiliate:

Halperin says, "There has been different polling showing Arnold Schwarzenegger up and down. It's hard to know where he stands. We know Arnold Schwarzenegger has a nice base of support and Cruz Bustamante has a nice base of support. The question is where will the undecided voter end up on Election Day."

If eliminating costly human interviewers increased the accuracy of polls, as SurveyUSA suggests, then wouldn't human interviewers have been eliminated by all pollsters long ago?... 4:23 P.M.

Whee! That 1977 Arnold Schwarzenegger Oui interview, after being mentioned below  in a kf Global Exclusive, has now been leased from eBay and discussed in some detail  by The Smoking Gun. ... Complete document scan at 11:00! ... About the contents: It's all part of the Southern California lifestyle! I know that nothing helps cut the tension around the kf offices like a vigorous gangbang. Naps are good too! ...3:03 P.M..

What you mean Oui, Kemo Sabe? Virginia Postrel says Arnold Schwarzenegger's right to argue that overregulation has "made California a place where it's hard to do business." And she's got a good example, a bill to protect Indian sacred sites that's about to be passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature. The San Diego Tribune, to which Postrel links, notes:

Senate Bill 18 would empower the Native American Heritage Commission to regulate development on any land that includes or is close to an Indian sacred site. This would add a new, lengthy and costly regulatory process onto the already complex California Environmental Quality Act. There's no distance limit between a project and a sacred site, so the Native American Heritage Commission could have power over projects that are quite removed from the sacred site itself.

What's more, the bill includes very questionable secrecy provisions. It would make it a crime for anybody engaged in identifying a sacred site and gauging its importance to divulge any information about it to the public. [Emphasis added]

30 second issue ad, anyone? ... [Note: An earlier kf post referred to a five-mile protected zone around sacred sites. But the five-mile limit apparently has since been dropped  from the legislation.] 12:56 P.M.

Spin this: Kerry overspinner Chris Lehane faces the professional challenge of his career as the expensive bandwagon he boarded appears to be  plunging toward Muskie-like humiliation. ... 11:11 A.M.

Variety drills down! Gabriel Snyder gets a scooplet on  Schwarzenegger's fundraising  [subscription required]:

Schwarzenegger's tax return shows he made $26.1 million in 2001, likely enabling him to bankroll his entire campaign. But he has told  prospective donors he plans to cap his personal spending at $5 million.  The actor has said his advisers expect his campaign to cost $20  million, meaning he is looking to raise $15 million for the Oct. 7 election.

So far, the money isn't coming from Hollywood, Snyder reports. ... Conspiracy Theory #23: Is the LAT aggressively beating up on A.S. for his fundraising in order to avoid having to decide whether to publish Schwarzenegger dirt it's sitting on? To compensate for not publishing that dirt? ... How wimpy is the LAT? According to the San Jose Mercury News, populist gubernatorial candidate Arianna Huffington's tax returns contained a "$9,788 deduction for makeup and a makeup consultant." Bloggers and TV stations have made fun of Arianna for this tax claim. My mother was talking about it. But it's the sort of titillating detail that the LAT knows its readers wouldn't be interested in.  The Times has busted Huffington for her low tax payments, but has decorously not mentioned the makeup deduction, even once (NEXIS says). ... The refusal to stoop to telling people things they might want to know is what makes the Times such an exciting read. When you believe that  "what good reporting lacks in sizzle  is made up for in authenticity," it's easy to take the next step and see any sign of sizzle as something suspiciously "out of balance" that needs to be edited out. ... Update: Weintraub has a nuanced Arnold-sympathetic take on the special-interest-fundraising issue, but thinks A.S. is vulnerable to the LAT's hypocisy charge. ... 1:53 A.M.

KF Global Exclusive--Attention, Anti-Arnold Dirt-Diggers and Negative Researchers: You really want to buy this 1977 issue of Oui magazine  for sale on eBay. It appears to contain a very ... candid Arnold interview. ... To raise your expectations, read the seller's product description. ... How trustworthy is the seller? eBay users say 'very'! ...  P.S.: Not sure the interview will hurt Schwarzenegger that much with anybody except McClintock voters. But Schwarzenegger needs them. ... For other California voters: As far as this sort of thing goes, A.S. is what he is and doesn't pretend he isn't, right? And he was single at the time! As, presumably, were all the other ... participants. ... This was also pre-AIDS. ... P.P.S.: Why does kf have to do David Pecker's work for him? ... Update:Smoking Gun has now obtained the Oui interview. Apparently they leased it from the eBay seller, though I prefer to think they had a complete set of Ouis in the back of their bedroom closet. ... [Did you tip off Smoking Gun?-ed. I wrote this item, then I tipped off somebody (via e-mail) who tipped off Smoking Gun. They work fast! More evidence that e-mail, as distinct from the Web, is the secret key to the "faster" news cycle.] 12:32 A.M.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Holes in the Poll II: Alert kf reader M--who identifies himself as a "D.C. based Democratic pollster without clients in California"--e-mails additional points about the L.A. Times poll showing California Lt. Gov Cruz Bustamante with what the LAT called a "wide lead." Excerpts:

1) " . . . that means there are still a lot of Democrats and friendly Independents available to 'come home' to Cruz."

Actually, data in the PDF tables allows for a bit more direct test of that proposition, although if it were a magic eight ball, it might tell you the results were "hazy at this time." The Times poll gives Bustamonte 65% among Democrats, with only 2% going to Huffington and 0 to Flynt.   Under normal circumstances, I'd expect that number to go to at least 80% and probably 90%. But in this case, there's the pesky issue of Democrats turning out to recall Davis. ...[There's also] the issue of how many Democrats will follow DiFi's lead and vote-only-on-the-recall-question. That's a very difficult phenomenon to measure on a telephone survey, but it's probably at least as high as the 6% of Dems on his survey who select the prompt on this question for "would not vote for any candidate."....

2)"I also think it's a stretch to call it a 'wide' lead ..." 

I'll say.  It's especially a stretch given the rather unique wording of the LA Times vote question.  Notice that they identify the job titles of the candidates as well as their party labels?  So Arnold is a "businessman and actor" and Cruz is the "lieutenant governor." Any surprise – given his initially lower name ID – that Cruz does much better on this survey than others?

On the other hand, the now-published complete poll (same PDF link) reveals a potential anti-Davis bias: Voters were asked about the recall only after they'd been asked four questions that seem well-suited to producing  "throw-the-bum out" feelings of rage:

1. Do you think things in California are going in the right direction ...

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job ...

3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Gray Davis  is handling his job ...

4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job ...

After that gauntlet, who wouldn't be for recalling everyone in California? ... Take away those questions, and maybe the recall is actually doing worse than the LAT poll suggests. ... That's not what Weintraub reports, however. ... Update: Also, reader "Xrlq" says mentioning all those other potential scapegoats (Bush, the legislature) makes it "look like Davis has been unfairly singled out. This will result in a pro Davis bias."  ... And the most significant sentence in the poll might be this one, which the LAT's Mark Barabak somehow failed to mention in his front-page story:

While the survey was not designed to track shifts in public perception on a daily basis, it did pick up movement toward increased support for the recall as well as increased support for Schwarzenegger's candidacy in the last two days.

The last two days, of course, coincided with Schwarzenegger's big press conference. ... I fear I've buried the lede. ...10:41 P.M.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Holes in the Poll I: Three points about yesterday's L.A. Times poll:

1) It does not show what at least one commentator said it showed, namely that Californians still want to have a Democratic governor. If you add up all the Democrats in the poll--even counting Arianna Huffington and Larry Flynt as Democrats--you get 39 percent. If you add up all the Republicans in the poll (Schwarzenegger, McClintock, Simon, Ueberroth) you get 47 percent. ... This actually seems like good news for Cruz Bustamante, the main Democrat in the race with 35 percent. California, presumably, is still a heavily Democratic state. If Republican "replacement" candidates are winning by such a big margin, that means there are still a lot of Democrats and friendly Independents available to "come home" to Cruz. ...

2) As Weintraub notes,

the surveys for this poll coincided with the flap over Arnold's position on Prop. 13 and ended just as he was rolling out his first television ad and holding a well publicized meeting with his economic advisers.

Given the delay, and the intervening events, and the Feiler Faster Principle, I'd argue that LAT reporter Mark Barabak was being more than a bit presumptuous when he used the present tense in his lede sentence: "Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante holds a wide lead ..." The poll was at least three days old at that point. Wouldn't "As of last week, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante held a lead" be more accurate? (P.S.: I also think its a stretch to call it a "wide" lead.) ...

3) The Times reports that 71 percent of likely voters said Schwarzenegger's candidacy would have "no effect" on their motivation to go to the polls. Some 26 percent said they'd be "more motivated" and 2 percent said they'd be less motivate. From this, the LAT concluded

For all the star power the actor brings to the race, Schwarzenegger — like Bustamante — has not made voters notably more inclined to take part in the election. About seven in 10 likely voters surveyed said the movie star's run made no difference in their intentions to vote ...

Huh? It sure looks to me as if the 71 percent of the already-"likely" voters who said Schwarzenegger wouldn't affect them were probably definitely going to the polls anyway--so of course he's not going to make them more inclined to take part. But a net of 24 percent say he is motivating them to go vote. Isn't that a huge potential increase in the turnout? The LAT seems to have made the error of not looking at the marginal effect, which is what's important here. ... The same goes for the LAT's conclusion that Latinos were "not dramatically more inspired" to vote by Bustamante's campaign. Even if the Latino number only tracks the overall numbers, a significant net percentage--about a fifth--said they were inspired. Isn't that the important number? (The Times doesn't appear to break out the figures for Latinos in its PDF chart.). ...

If the LAT's people are capable of making the mistake in (3), should we put a lot of trust in anything they say? ... Also see: This enormous and worthwhile recent Weintraub post. ...1:17 A.M.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

From Daniel Weintraub's blog-coverage of Schwarzenegger's Orange County event:

The scene was incredible. I have been following candidates for governor in this state since 1986, and there simply has never been anything like this, or even close. The Schwarzenegger campaign kept the details about this event under wraps until early this morning to keep down the size of the crowd. A political campaign trying to keep down a crowd?

This is not a problem even as charismatic a figure as Cruz Bustamante faces. ... 6:20 P.M.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Where's all that Arnold dirt? It would be highly convenient for Arnold Schwarzenegger if the biggest American tabloids had all recently come under the control of one man, who could, if he chose, spike any trashy negative stories about the GOP gubernatorial candidate (at least until after October 7). .. Luckily that sort of consolidation could never happen. ... Oh, wait. ... I mean, luckily American Media Inc. chairman David Pecker is a journalist of unimpeachable integrity who would never fiddle with the content of his publications in order to please a friend or business associate. ... Right? ... Hello? ... What's this you want me to read? An old New York Observer clip?

Mr. Pecker made a lot of noise in his nine years at Hachette. ... In 1996, in one of his most brazen moves, he forced the editors of Premiere to kill an article on a partnership imbroglio at the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain at the request of Ronald Perelman, who at the time was a 50 percent owner of the magazine. After Mr. Pecker gave them the order, Premiere's two top editors resigned. Mr. Pecker really didn't care. "The last time I looked," he told reporters, "I am C.E.O. of the company." [Emphasis added]

But it's not as if there's anybody who says Pecker actually promised to lay off Schwarzenegger. ... Except for this one guy, I mean--Joe Weider, Arnold's mentor, who  tells the NYDN  that when he was negotiating a business deal with Pecker, Pecker told him, "Joe, we've done enough on Arnold. We're going to lay off him." [Emph. added] ... But hey, Weider's 83 years old! Who'd believe him over a figure of renowned probity like Pecker? ... [Luckily the dirt on Arnold will still all be there in the tabloids' priceless archives. They'll never destroy those.--ed. Never.] [Links via Romenesko7:18 P.M.

Arnold-friendly journalist William Bradley finds signs of disorganization in the early Schwarzenegger campaign, as does Variety's Gabriel Snyder. ... Bradley pull-quote: "Despite earlier talk, there was no Schwarzenegger plan. No secret plan, just a secret." ... P.S.: Bradley approaches A.S. from the left, so when he says Schwarzenegger now opposes part of the anti-illegal-immigrant Prop. 187, he may also be subtly pushing his candidate in that direction. But Bradley has a quote to back it up. ... Still, is "fuzzy  on 187" such a bad place for Arnold to be? Most voters are presumably torn on the illegal-immigrant-schooling issue too. ...  P.P.S.: Good Bradley line about Davis' "hold-the-mea mea culpa" address at U.C.L.A. ...P.P.P.S:  Snyder's piece is subscription-only. But here's the sign of disorganization:

There were also hints Wednesday that the Schwarzenegger campaign had been rushed in organizing the event. Not only did a list of members of the Economic Recovery Council misspell Buffett's name (with only one "t"), it also misspelled Schwarzenegger (without a "z").

2:46 P.M.

Ariannaphobial! Wonderfully vicious anti-Arianna Huffington column by Susan Estrich. She likes Arianna too!

In truth, I find her charming, as such people can be. She is who she is, and she makes no bones about it. She used to be against feminism and now supports it; used to be a conservative and now isn't; encouraged her husband to support Proposition 187 and now opposes it; used to support Gingrich and now opposes him; opposes corporate tax breaks yet takes advantage of them; rails against oil wealth and lives off it; vows to take care of children and ignores the needs of her own.

It is the people supporting her whom I find utterly inexplicable -- or, rather, indefensible. She doesn't pretend to have principles. But don't they?

The ease with which she has taken Hollywood by storm is an embarrassing confirmation of the shallowness of my hometown.

One not--really-conflicting explanation, of course, is that Arianna's supporters also find her charming.. ... And Estrich is about 5 percent off--Arianna does claim to have principles and tries to reconcile her shifting positions. But the basic point is right: she doesn't pretend to be anything other than an ambitious, publicity-savvy would-be public intellectual, which is part of the charm...  P.S.: This Estrich column is the sort of piece the editors of the L.A. Times desperately need to be publishing if they want anyone to read and talk about their op-ed page. Instead, the Times is giving us a series (aargh!) of commentaries by Peter King, the first of which  Matt Welch rightly characterizes as a "sour mash of second-hand cliches." ... Memo to op-ed editor Nick Goldberg: What happened? Are you on vacation? Did they foist an in-house turkey off on you? I thought the Times'snew owners wanted to liven things up. ... Update: Arianna responds to Estrich here. ...  1:06 P.M.

Daniel Drezner isn't buying the fashionable "flypaper" theory. He says the Bush administration needs Iraq to be an "oasis of stability, not a grand opening for Terrorists 'R Us"--and he offers a piece of evidence from today's LAT. ... P.S.: The relatively high-quality comments to his post are also recommended.. ... 12:17 P.M.

Let those East Coasters try to make something of this. The dignified, orderly process of winnowing the recall candidates has begun:

State election officials certified 135 people to appear as replacement candidates should Davis be recalled. The list shortened by one this week when one dropped out after police said he was the leading suspect in a 1996 Atlanta murder case.

2:19 A.M.



Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--Escapee from American Prospect. Salon--Better click fast! Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! Washington Monthly--Includes Charlie Peters' proto-blog. the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. Calmer Times--Registration required.  NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare!  Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog.  Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko's MediaNews--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central.. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. horror stories. Eugene Volokh--Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman--Born to blog. Joe Conason--Bush-bashing, free most days. Lloyd Grove--Don't let him write about you. Arianna--A hybrid vehicle. populists. Take on the News--TomPaine's blog.  B-Log--Blog of spirituality!  Hit & Run--Reason gone wild! Daniel Weintraub--Beeblogger and Davis Recall Central. Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. [More tk.]