by Virginia Postrel • Sep 3, 2003 at 11:14 pm
Amid a rant on the low quality of LAT political coverage, HughHewitt made the pre-debate case that Arnold was wise not to join tonight's candidate debate:
But that doesn't mean Arnold can get away with his current, "Elect me, I'm a movie star businessman and I love California" platform indefinitely. He says he'll be a leader if elected, but he won't be able to lead anything other than calisthenics if he gets elected without telling voters how he'd make policy--and budget--tradeoffs. Eventually he'll have to make someone mad, and it will be easier to get away with that as governor if he can point to something of a mandate.
Again judging from the admittedly hostile press coverage, it doesn't sound like Tom McClintock helped himself in the debate. Reporters may emphasize his socially conservative positions, but the bigger question is why he won't give a straight answer about budget cuts. McClintock has been a fiscal tightwad for years, and he knows the state budget well. Why doesn't he tell us what spending he wants to get rid of? Even if he loses, the state would benefit from hearing some specific ideas for spending reductions.
All in all, this election's serious candidates seem to be listening to too many slick political consultants--who learn at consultant school that California political candidates never gain by telling voters what policies they want. Bustamante's scary populist economics might catch on by default. At least he says what he's for. Too bad his ideas are so bad.
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