By Michael Reagan
September 25, 2003
Rep. Darrell Issa is absolutely right in his statement that he'd rather see Davis stay in office, than have Cruz Bustamante in the governor's office.
What he is really saying is that if the Republican candidates can't get together and choose one of them to fight the battle on Tuesday, October 7, then it is better to vote against the recall simply because a bad Gray Davis is better than a worse Bustamante who is really scary.
The problem here goes back to the 1992 presidential election and the primaries that were going on in California. At that time we had conservatives running in all the primaries for the Republican nominations for various state and federal offices. The conservatives were ahead in all the polls. Then-Governor Pete Wilson who has never been a friend of the state's conservatives opened up his war chest and funded the pro-choice Republicans against the pro-life Republicans in all the primaries. As a result of this huge influx of campaign funds, the pro-choice Republicans who had money given to them by Pete Wilson, were able to defeat the pro-life conservatives.
Ever since Pete Wilson's pro-choice Republicans won those primaries, there has been this great animosity and hatred between the left and the right, within the California Republican party. There has been a family feud that was started by Pete Wilson. And it is the same Pete Wilson and his people who are running the Schwarzenegger campaign.
What we are seeing now, is all the stored up anger and resentment of the pro-life Republicans against Pete Wilson. Now you have McClintock taking out ads and speaking about Schwarzenegger and Pete Wilson. This family feud still going on in California among Republicans is what has been causing the GOP to lose election after election ever since 1992. And on October 7, there will be an election to elect a new governor, and polls show it's possible for a Republican to win. But if the family does not come together with one of the two candidates dropping out and the one that drops out should be the one who is behind in the polls this weekend - the chances are Bustamante will ultimately win the governorship. And that is the absolute worse thing that could happen to the state.
Tragically, there is no leadership in the California Republican party to bring these two factions together. Unless that leadership shows up somewhere, and somebody makes it clear that the party must go into the election united behind the most probable winner, there is no chance they will win. And after that, the future for Republicans looks just as bleak.
I said at the beginning that Darrell Issa is right. But he hasn't endorsed anybody since pulling out as a candidate himself. He could go a long way towards healing the rift in the party by endorsing one of the two Republicans now leading in the polls, McClintock or Schwarzenegger.
Issa, and everybody else should
do what I plan to do. I'll announce my choice on Monday, after
I see who is ahead in the latest polls this weekend. And whoever
that is, I'll endorse him. If that happens to be Arnold Schwarzenegger,
so be it. My fellow conservatives had better understand that
what they see as a bad Schwarzenegger is still better than a
worse Gray Davis or Cruz Bustamante
Mike's column is distributed to subscribers for publication by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc.