Reuters reported las…
Reuters reported last night on a speech Gray Davis gave as part of his campaign kick-off to avoid recall. The quotes from the speech are ludicrous enough to deserve a fisking.

Embattled California Gov. Gray Davis, while admitting he made some mistakes, accused the Republican party on Tuesday of staging “a right-wing power grab” through a recall election in the nation’s most populous state.

Unless that 20-something percentage points of job approval rating he’s been basking in includes the entirety of the Democrat party voters, I’d tend to doubt that. Given that this recall option has been on the books since 1911, and that all previous attempts to invoke it have failed due to insufficient signatures, decrying this as a simple “power grab” is a might bit overstated.

“This recall is bigger than California. What’s happening here is part of an ongoing national effort by Republicans to steal elections they cannot win.”

A legal remedy requiring grass-roots support in order to remove a poor governor is not “stealing”. Stealing is when, for example, a candidate for President appeals to the courts to, say, force the state to continue re-re-counting long after the legally-mandated boundary is past. Hypothetically speaking, that would be considered stealing.

…[it was a speech that] aides said he spent over a week shaping to kick off a campaign to keep the job he was reelected to only last November.

Apparently, he should have spent a lot more time on it.

“There are many reasons to be against this recall: it is expensive, …”

“…and thus all popular elections should be cancelled for the good of the people, as well as the wallets of my cronies…”


(Yeah, what could be more undemocratic than voting?)

a bad precedent,

“…since too much grass-roots power is unsafe for the ruling elite…”

and almost certainly will breed more recalls.”

“…requiring future governors to keep their promises and actually do the people’s work. No graft, no peace!”

(>ahem< Sorry, I was channelling Jesse Jackson there for a second.)

“The Republicans behind the recall say they want you to vote me out because of past mistakes.”

Psst, Gray. A lot of those people you’re about to dis are voters, not just politicians like you’re trying to imply.

“But they don’t give a rip about past mistakes — they want power for the future, and with so many candidates, they think they can get it with the support of a tiny fraction of California voters.”

Given that this is the first recall effort to successfully get the required number of signatures to kick in, I’d say first that it ain’t no “tiny fraction of California voters” who’d like to see you out. Statewide polls show a majority are ready to give you the boot. Second, as to the new governor only needing a plurality of the vote, it’s true that many candidates dilute the mandate any winning candidate might have, but do you really blame Republicans for the sudden interest in politics your people are showing? I’d say that more people getting involved is a good thing. Of course, they’re interested mostly due to your failure, so perhaps from your point of view things look a bit different.

Davis added, “The Republicans say this recall is about the problems of the past. We’re getting over them.”

First of all, assuring people in the midst of a $38 billion deficit that “we’re getting over them” misses the point; why is California there in the first place? (Slight pause as Gov. Davis takes a peek at a nearby mirror.) Secondly, you’re once again only suggesting that Republicans are concerned over problems of the past (that aren’t over yet), but you again ignore that 20-something approval rating. Calling it partisan doesn’t make it so, and doing so in the light of glaring evidence to the contrary is intellectually dishonest.

“California didn’t go dark,

…last week (never mind all the rolling blackouts of 2002)…

we have a budget,

(Translation: A piece of paper with lots of numbers on it, most of them in red.)

our schools are getting better and our economy will come back.”

Careful, this sounds a lot like future campaign promises, and I don’t know if you want to be judged by past campaign promises. (Oh, and thanks to Dubya’s tax cuts, one of those dastardly Republicans, your economy is already coming back.)

“But this right-wing power grab is something we won’t get over. It would do lasting damage to our state, our environment, and the fabric of our democracy.”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, putting a >gasp< Republican in office is something California won’t get over (probably because they’ll be there a long time once thing start to turn around). Ah yes, and the very fabric of democracy (read: the privilege and responsibility of voting) will be torn by allowing people to vote. Impeccable logic? On the contrary, it is way too peccable.

“I know that many of you feel that I was slow to act on the energy crisis. I got the message… That’s a fair criticism. I played the hand that was dealt me the best I know how.”

…which, if that’s the best you know how, is another reason the recall is enjoying such popular support.

“I’m not happy with the budget that I signed recently. No one is. I said it then and I’ll repeat it now. But as everyone considers how we got here,

(Pause as Gov. Davis takes another look at the mirror.)

let’s put our situation in perspective. The American economy has tanked, losing jobs and going from record surpluses to record deficits. Forty-six other states are in a similar situation.”

…because spending everywhere is out of control. Both parties are to blame for that. But when Davis talks about the “American economy”, he’s obviously trying to blame Bush for a downward trend that started while Clinton was still in office and was exacerbated by 9/11.

He added, “Yes, I could have been tougher in holding the line on spending when we had surpluses. But, let’s be clear, most of the increases on my watch went to schools and health care. I make no apologies for that.”

Translation: I could have controlled spending, but oh well. (And how about being tougher on spending now that you have deficits?)

Desperate times call for desperate sound-bites, and Gov. Davis has got a million of ’em.

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