Third Party & Independents Archives

September 25, 2003

California Governor's Debate

Having watched the debates this evening, I was impressed. I expected a circus of chimps with rehearsed political rhetorical banana peels being lobbed at each other. For the most part, that was not the case. I was impressed with each of the candidates and learned something about each of them.

First impressions:

  • Arriana Huffington (I) - had command of facts and statistics but, was annoyingly interruptive and belligerent.

  • Arnold Schwarzeneggar (R) - Ariana’s counterpart- interruptive, dominating, and not very specific on many issues. Frequently witty.

  • Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (D) - Soft spoken, very confident, on message throughout. Surprisingly passive in contrast to the other candidates.

  • Green Party Peter Camejo (G) - Scored many points on issues, stayed on message, and demonstrated actual hard number proposals.

  • State Sen. Tom McClintock (R) - Followed hard Republican line, lower taxes for businesses and cut spending on everyone else.
  • Following are issue statements that impressed me.

    Ariana Huffington - The thrust of her debate was in listing the litany of ills in California such as 4 million persons living below poverty level. Attacked businesses for using government as a giant ATM machine: lobbying candidates and taking government spending as profits or policies favoring the lobbying businesses. She stated she was for making the wealthy pay their fair share, protecting local government from state government regarding the taking of half of local property taxes, and protecting middle class living standards.

    She opposed Proposition 53 which would increase spending on Ca. infrastructure which all candidates agreed was in sad shape. Ariana stated driver's licenses for "illegal" immigrants were necessary for the children to get to school and to the doctor and she stated Arnold was a hypocrite for opposing driver's licenses for immigrants to drive their children to school while being for educating all children regardless of status.

    Arnold Schwarzeneggar - The thrust of his arguments were based on giving breaks and incentives to businesses in order to bring jobs back to California. Opposed any increases in taxes. Absolutely avoided discussing any specifics as to what he would cut from the budget in order to reconcile the 38 plus billion dollar deficit. He touted an after school program for the kids which he promoted only to have an opponent force his admission that not one child has yet to benefit from the program which will not kick in until the government generates a surplus.

    Arnold stated he was for Proposition 53 and would increase spending on infrastructure even beyond. Arnold stated he was for local government keeping their property taxes with the implication of downsizing state government. Arnold stated his reason for running was to give something back to California for all the success he has enjoyed in California. Stated he needs a lot of help from the voters to make it happen.

    Cruz Bustamante - Cruz He stated he was for women's choice, environmental protection and working families. Cruz stated eloquently that all children in California, regardless of citizenship status, should have access to health care and education. He was also eloquent in his statement that the Legislature simply spent more than the revenue they took in. He is for both cutting spending and raising taxes. Stated he has been working for years on getting updated textbooks for school children. He agreed with McClintock that the government spending must be reduced and state government needed to be downsized.

    Peter Camejo - Stated wealthy pay 2 percent lower rate of tax than middle class. Stated raising tax on wealthy to same rate as middle class would bring the budget into surplus. Peter stated that in bad times the state pulls money from local government property taxes and during surplus times has refused to refund any of that money back to local government. He states that is the single greatest problem for local government it must stop.

    He stated he was opposed to Proposition 53 and called for a 20 year infrastructure plan that would invest within the budget in infrastructure development which he acknowledged was in desperate need. He stated he was for increasing the minimum wage, investing in California's leadership role in renewable energy development, open the political process to third parties, get on board with the Kyoto treaty and universal health care. Mr. Camejo stated the agricultural economy depends upon immigrants and poignantly stated they should not be called illegal because the authorities would not dare arrest any of them who were otherwise law abiding, because California agriculture and business depends upon their labor and the government depends upon their income taxes to survive.

    Tom McClintock - Stated state government had to be downsized and an end to unfunded mandates was required. States spending lobbies must be stopped, absolutely opposed any increase in taxes, and opposed the use of collecting race information by government. He states he is opposed to driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, that he is pro-life, and stands for fiscal reform. He said taxes must be cut for businesses and state spending programs must be cut in order to balance the budget. He stated he wants to stop all illegal immigration.

    Posted by David R. Remer at September 25, 2003 12:33 AM
    Comment #2807

    My favorite part of the interview:

    When the action star attempted to cut in during Huffington?s answer to a question, she said, ?This is the way you treat women, we know that.?
    The moderator, Stan Statham, called that a ?direct and personal attack? on Schwarzenegger and gave him a chance to respond.
    ?I would just like to say that I just realized I have a perfect part for you in ?Terminator 4?,? Schwarzenegger shot back, apparently alluding to a scene in ?Terminator 3? in which his character pushes the head of a female terminator into a toilet.
    ?Ladies and gentlemen, this is not Comedy Central, I swear,? Statham said, referring to the U.S. cable network.

    Posted by: Stephen VanDyke at September 25, 2003 12:39 AM
    Comment #2851

    But where was Gallager, Larry Flint!!

    Posted by: Jake of at September 25, 2003 02:59 PM
    Comment #2894

    On MSNBC, the person I was most impressed with was Jesse Ventura. Too bad he’s not running.

    They asked him what do you think is the most important thing in a political campaign: image and patriotism or substance. He said “honesty”. How refreshing?!

    Posted by: Dave at September 25, 2003 10:39 PM
    Comment #2902

    Ventura was a candidate who understood the people’s need and desire for straight talk. Unfortunately, politics and democracy are very messy. Issues are defined in multiple shades of gray. The human limitations on becoming an expert on everything that falls under the umbrella of politics and government leaves all politicians today, short of the mark in someone’s eyes.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at September 26, 2003 07:33 AM
    Comment #2974

    I have seen several comments by other editors as well that characterized Bustamente as passive or ungubernatorial. One that tickled my fancy was a line by someone that Cruz saying,”we overspent” was like crashing the car and telling the cop “I overdrank” also somewhat reminiscent of an old Steve Martin line: he runs a red lite, is pulled over. The cop says, “didnt you know you can’t run a red lite?” Martin says, “I forgot.” That, to me exemplefies the political profile of Cruz-he’s sort of taking responsibility, but not exactly. mybe he can get a job at Hertz. He’s not exactly an inspiration to those looking for strong leadership or acountability. Of course, his boss epitomizes this style: Gray’s response to the energy debacle and attendant outrage by the citizenry: “your criticisms are noted.” Geez louise,
    Perry Mason himself couldnt have gotten a crook to come cleaner.

    Posted by: greg smith at September 28, 2003 01:40 AM