By Michael Reagan
October 09, 2003
I would have given a lot Tuesday night to have been able to take a peek inside Maria Shriver's brain and see what she was thinking about the Democratic party to which she and her whole extended family have given life-long allegiance.
This is the first time in her life that she was able to be on the Republican side in a campaign against the people she has been raised with, and nurtured by, all of her life.
I'd love to ask her: "Maria, now what do you think of your party? You have seen, first hand, what the party that you and your family have given so much support, was willing to do to you and your husband and your children. You now know that this is the way they campaign."
I'm certain that Maria shares the disgust of many of her fellow Democrats - a disgust her uncle, John F. Kennedy certainly would have felt as he saw the donkey, the symbol of his party, turn into the frothing, crazed attack dog it is today.
Last night there were two winners in the California recall election - Arnold Schwarzenegger and the people of California. There were also a lot of losers.
Among them were, of course, Gray Davis, Cruz Bustamante and, surprisingly, Tom McClintock.
It was a big loss for all three, but for Tom McClintock, I'm sorry to say, the loss was huge.
For a long time there was absolutely no doubt that McClintock had no chance of winning. He had to know that, yet he stayed in the race, took votes away from Arnold Schwarzenegger, and threw his political future away in a futile gesture of sticking to his word not to drop out.
At any time up until yesterday he could have endorsed Arnold Schwarzenegger and he could have instantly become the man destined to unseat Barbara Boxer in next year's election. He would have had large amounts of campaign funds, he would have won support, he would have had anything he needed to rid this state of Barbara Boxer.
But because he didn't drop out and because he didn't endorse Arnold Schwarzenegger, knowing what the end would be, he forfeited his party's future support. He could have had everything to look forward to; now he has little or nothing.
The biggest losers of all, however, were the Democrats. Even last night, lying amid the rubble of a massive defeat they brought on themselves, they showed they still don't get it.
Take the angry Jesse Jackson ranting about the "disenfranchised voters," warning about lawsuits against California for running a flawed election, ignoring the fact that the Democrats who run the state also ran the elections. Like the rest of his party, he's still fighting the election results in Florida in 2000.
Then there's the Democrat Party's executive director, Bob Mulholland, raving about recalling Governor Schwarzenegger after he's been in office 100 days. Mulholland has turned out to be the best thing that's ever happened to California Republicans and the worst thing that's happened to California Democrats.
Until he's gone, and his warped mentality is gone with him, the Democrats will never get back in power. What's great about last night was the fact that it was the first time since my father that there has been a solid rejection of what Arnold Schwarzenegger called "puke politics." What happened last night demonstrated that the voters have had it with the Democrats' slash and burn campaigning.
Cruz Bustamante was not only a loser, he was, like Jackson and Mulholland, an embarrassment to the Democrat party. In his incredible non-concession "concession" speech he proved that he is owned lock, stock and barrel by the unions and Indians. I was surprised he wasn't decked out in a tribal head dress.
In his concession speech, probably the best speech he ever gave, Gray Davis left center stage like a gentlemen, showing that he, unlike his party, may have finally learned that sleaze doesn't pay.
California has always been
a leader. Last night, we led the nation in taking back our state.
Good luck, America.
Mike's column is distributed to subscribers for publication by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc.