Mike Davis on the recall

Mike Davis on the recall

Leftie author Mike Davis, author of several books about L.A., weighs in on the recall.

Liberal commentators have attacked the movie star for his singular lack of articulate positions on decisive issues. But the criticism is unfair.

The Terminator, in fact, has a long history of ideological commitment which, for tactical reasons, his campaign-minders want to downplay. Most striking has been his extensive involvement in the crusades to deny health care and education to undocumented immigrants, and to make English the exclusive official language.

Davis is one of the few commentators to make this point. Arnold isn’t even slightly moderate. Remember Bush and “compassionate conservatism”? Schwarzenegger is using the same ploy.

The poor boy from the Alpine boonies was a key endorser of anti-immigrant Proposition 187 in 1994 and, even more sinisterly, is a longtime board member of US English, a national organization with notorious ties to men in white hoods.

On ex-Governor Pete Wilson, who is running Arnold’s campaign.

But it would be a mistake, in any case, to think that Arnie is the real star of his latest and most lavish adventure. As all the punters in Sacramento have pointed out, the real title should be Return from the Grave: Wilson Part Three. The ex-governor is the spectre haunting the recall.

Mexico, as depicted in a notorious Wilson campaign ad (“They’re coming!”), is invading Anglo-California and imposing huge burdens of taxes, crime and pollution upon its honest burghers. The true wretched of the Earth are long-suffering, overtaxed white guys in golf carts. Reason dies screaming in the face of such nonsense, but it is peddled 24 hours a day by the pitbull talk show hosts who dominate Californian AM radio and, increasingly, commercial television.

And that’s what Schwarzenegger the Governator will bring. Mindless racist attacks scapegoating the poorest and most defenseless as the Cause of All Trouble. However, three months of Arnold and ANSWER marches will probably quadruple in size. Dubya has been our best organizer so far, maybe Arnold can help build the Leftie ranks too.

And please, hand me a hankie, as I’m choked up over the plight of aging white men in golf carts. 

It has been easy for many Democrats to dismiss incumbent Gray Davis as a singularly unfortunate choice — a charisma-less robot with an open palm who let the state be pillaged by Enron during the phoney energy crisis three years ago. But, again in fairness, Davis exemplifies precisely those qualities — pro-corporate, politically centrist and hard law and order — which the Democratic Leadership Council has so long recommended as the salvation of the Democratic Party.

Nor is his disintegration unique. Just look at the other “moderate” Democrats dead in the starting blocks of the presidential primary.

Another excellent point. Gray Davis isn’t an aberration from the Democratic Party, he is the logical conclusion of their years of craven collapse to the Right, of spitting in the face of base, of being mini-Me Republicans. And now the two leading Democrats for 2004, Dean and Clark, are in front precisely because they are talking like actual Democrats and are ignoring the DLC and their ineffective “centrist” sell-out blather.

This is why the labour wing of the Californian Democrats should have embraced the opportunity of the recall to push forward one of their own. Yet the State Federation of Labour, and almost no-one else, remained pathetically loyal to Davis and allowed his cunning and unprincipled lieutenant governor, Cruz Bustamante, to run off with the party endorsement.

Yet another example of the bumbling of the California Democratic Party. They put all their eggs in the Gray Davis basket and did nothing to field a strong candidate. What a bunch of dimbulbs.

Bustamante may be preferable to Wilson’s Trojan horse Schwarzenegger, but the difference is probably less than most Democrat voters imagine.

Regardless of the outcome in October, the recall battle has already clarified some of the new terrain of Californian politics. Republicans, on their side, have gained tremendous confidence in their ability to thwart any future legislative effort toward tax reform or economic justice. Liberal Democrats, on the other, have had their faces rubbed in the moral rot of their party.

This is a party so openly venal, lacking in conviction, out of touch, and lame it can’t even field a candidate capable of beating a testosterone-addled actor with no political experience. The California Democratic Party is almost comical in its ineptitude.