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August 17, 2003 Odds and Ends

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An observation on the California recall election from the Los Angeles Times. 17 August...
Politics, film people are fond of saying, is entertainment for ugly people.  Entertainment, politicians are increasingly being forced to recognize, is a form of politics for the good-looking.

Larger issues raised by the Calfornia recall as I see them...

The Republican right cannot easily win elections.  The obvious solution is to work around them.  Yeah, yeah. 
1. Bush had fewer votes for President but the Supreme Court, filled with his father's appointees, settled the matter in his favor, in matters concerning a state where the process was screwy, and controlled by his brother and his Brother's friends like that Harris woman.  There was a work-around.  Losing the election didn't matter.  Bush got the office. 

2. Clinton was reelected twice and the work-around for that election was impeachment, which almost worked.  Well, the man did lie, under oath, about that blow job.  If Clinton had been thrown out, losing the election to him wouldn't have mattered.  He'd be out of office.

3. The business now going on in Texas?   The 1990 census led to redistricting, as happens ever ten years with the census data in every state when the numbers are crunched.  Texas has enough Republicans in the state legislature to redistrict again this year, an extra time without any new census data, and thus eliminate six or seven Democratic districts.  Unusual, but why not?  No one thought of it before, I guess.  The Democrats in the Texas legislature ran off twice, once to Oklahoma and this time to New Mexico.  No vote was possible without a quorum.  But Tom DeLay, the top Republican in the US senate has asked the Justice Department (Ashcroft) to intervene and arrest the Democrats and bring them back.  There is then a work-around to get more votes outside the normal processes.  The Justice Department has not decided, yet, if they can really do that.  I assume the telephone lines will be active in Washington this weekend.

4. The California recall - what to do about an election where a Democrat, Davis, beat a Republican, Simon, with more votes, just last November.  There's a work-around here too.  A Republican operative, Issa, privately funds a recall campaign and pays for the gathering of the signatures.  The election is voided and we almost certainly get a Republican governor, who, given the 135 names on the ballot, can be elected with as little as ten percent of the vote.  Davis has to get over fifty percent to stop the recall and stay in office.  A pretty good work-around voiding the previous election of nine months ago.  Damned clever.
Banana republics have coups d'etat where those who can't win an election just seize power.  This usual involves tanks and guns and crap like that.  Seriously, you have to admire the Republican right for being a bit more subtle than that.   They pretty much deserve to take over the country from the fools who think elections actually matter.  There are always work-arounds. 
More power to them.  Political power and wealth are for those with the guts and ideas to grab them.  We are a nation of entrepreneurs.  Success is for those with audacity... and the right attitude.

I'm getting grumpy, as you see.
Gayle Lelyveld sent me a narrative of the New York City blackout as seen from, well, New York City.  I received it just as this was going to press.  I will post it as soon as I can edit it into shape.  It's full of random characters and odd symbols.  I expect the loss of power was not kind to the mail servers over there.  It's pretty, in an abstract sort of way.  But I need to replace dropped characters and drop odd symbols.  Technology fails in the face of some crises.