Public Nuisance

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The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Monday, August 18, 2003
Bill Simon Headed Out?

Bill Simon and Cruz Bustamante were on Meet the Press yesterday. Simon was asked whether he was in the race to stay, and his answers struck me as unusual, almost implying that he was considering dropping out, although nobody has yet reported such a plan. Still, it would have been very easy to just say, "I'm in this race to stay" and he really didn't.

MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Simon, to you, sir, you, too, are one of many, and I want to read you something from Thursday’s Washington Post about drop-out pressure. “California Republicans say lawmakers and others tied to the White House have been putting what one called ‘heavy pressure’ on Simon and McClintock to drop out...Mr. Simon, are you in this race till the very end?

MR. BILL SIMON: I’m in this race, Brian. I’m not under any pressure to quit. The bottom line is this: What we need to do now is campaign hard for the next 52 days, give our citizens a message, a vision for the state of California. That’s the most important thing. We should have a series of debates. We ought to let our people make a decision....

MR. WILLIAMS: Would a telephone call from, say, to pick a name, a Karl Rove, for the good of the party, to streamline things, to make sure the GOP gets this Statehouse and holds it, have any sway with you?

MR. SIMON: Well, certainly, I’d be happy to talk to Mr. Rove. I’m a great admirer of his. But right now what I’m looking forward to is campaigning around the state which is what I’ve been doing the last week. And I know that our people are hungry for leadership, and Lieutenant Governor said, many millions of people voted for him. They voted for me, too...

MR. WILLIAMS: I’ll ask again, sir, are you in this till the very end, no questions?

MR. SIMON: You know, I’m running hard, Brian, and I’ll just say this. I admire Mr. Dreier, but I’ve got other endorsements. This is not about endorsements. This is not about politics. This is about doing the right thing. That’s why our people are fed up because we’ve been having too much politics out here.

Is Simon negotiating terms to drop out? He's independently rich, so he wouldn't just be looking for a job. Still, he might be looking for a prestigious appointment from Rove - an ambassadorship in some comfy first-world capital - or a policy commitment from Arnold, or maybe both.

More discussed in the news reports was Cruz Bustamante taking something of a shot at Gray Davis - another example of the tension between Bustamante and Davis which I've discussed before:

MR. WILLIAMS: It is a strange ballot, a strange election for that matter, but on the ballot, voters will actually have an opportunity to vote no to the recall, “No, I don’t think this is a good idea, but should the recall happen, here is the candidate I would like to succeed,” and it strikes me that your position aligns nicely with the choice of the voters on the ballot.

LT. GOV. BUSTAMANTE: I think I provide a very positive—if some of the governor’s minions would stop trying to undercut my efforts, I think we could have a very coalesced opportunity for Democrats to be able to make sure that we clearly go after this position and we have a possibility of having a win-win position on the ballot.