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Why McClintock Can Win
by David T. Pyne
16 September 2003

Why he may be Golden State conservatives' Great White Hope

They said he was too conservative and too extreme to serve as Governor or to win a statewide election yet he staged a come from behind victory and was elected Governor of California in a landslide in 1966 and subsequently in an even bigger landslide as President of the United States in 1980. The man’s name--Ronald Wilson Reagan. Now the liberal Republican Establishment is doing it again--telling us that a conservative can’t win the Governorship in California. They tell us that all conservatives must march in lockstep behind the candidacy of the liberal Republican Establishment’s latest darling, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger if they want to win this race.

The latest Los Angeles Times poll has McClintock surging at 18% with Schwarzenegger stagnating at 25% and Bustamante, who is under fire for his refusal to renounce his membership in a racist organization known as MECHa back in the 1970s in the lead with 30%. Former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth, who dropped out of the race last week, had 8% support. Thus according to this poll, Republican candidates had a combined total of 51% support vs. only 30% supporting Bustamante as the sole major party Democrat candidate. In a situation like this it is highly foreseeable that a conservative and bona-fide Republican like McClintock could beat Bustamante were the liberal Schwarzenegger to drop out. In fact, a recent poll commissioned by the Orange County Lincoln Club and reported in news accounts last week showed exactly that, revealing that were the election held today, McClintock would defeat Bustamante in a head-to-head race.

Despite massive media coverage, Schwarzenegger’s polling numbers have stagnated in the low to mid-twenties as the initial excitement surrounding the novelty of having a popular, though liberal, actor in the race has worn out. McClintock appears to have picked up the Simon voters with his determination to tough it out and take a stand against Arnold and the GOP’s leftwing establishment ensuring that conservatives are left able to vote for one of their own come the October 7th election. He now trails Arnold “I will not rule out raising taxes” Schwarzenegger by a mere seven points. These polls come at a very fortuitous time for the McClintock campaign coming as it does the day before the California State Republican Convention held this past weekend. They ought to make a lot of prominent California GOP conservatives and party leaders think twice before endorsing a liberal like Schwarzenegger when it is clear that there is an equally viable but conservative alternative.

But the liberal Republican Establishment in California and Washington, DC continue to repeat the lie that a conservative can’t win in California. There are a number of reasons which make this generally self-fulfilling prophecy false in the case of the October 7th California recall election and why a conservative Reaganesque Republican like Tom McClintock can win. First, the massive 135 candidate long list of choices will doubtlessly confuse uneducated Democrat and minority voters and make it more difficult to find the Democrat candidate. Second, it’s a special election, which nearly always favors conservative Republicans. Finally, the counties have announced that voting will not take place at traditional locations, but at fewer different locations in order to save money, making it harder for the above-referenced less educated Democrat voting base to find their voting locations. All of this means that a smaller, smarter and disproportionately conservative Republican-leaning electorate will elect the next governor of California.

Moreover, Bustamante is eminently beatable. He has the highest unfavorable rating at 50% in the last Times poll, with Schwarzenegger a close second at 38%. In contrast, 46% of likely voters have a favorable impression of McClintock, twice the percentage that views him unfavorably. Furthermore, 54% of likely voters agree that McClintock is straightforward and says what he believes, even if it is unpopular." On the question of which candidate has the best experience for the job, McClintock leads the pack with 25% with Bustamante at 20% and Schwarzenegger, who is a political neophyte bringing up the rear with a mere 1%. Schwarzenegger has repeatedly refused McClintock’s challenges to debate him. The reason is that he refuses to debate is that he is far less versed on the issues than McClintock who spent two decades as a leader in the California State Legislature and is clearly the most skilled debater than any of the other major candidates as the last gubernatorial debate held earlier this month proved.

The LA Times reported that a plurality of viewers of the first California gubernatorial debate held on September 3rd indicated that they felt that they believed Tom McClintock dominated and won the debate given his articulate answers on the issues of importance to California voters. Schwarzenegger refused to participate in this debate even though all of the other major candidates attended. According to the Times poll, more than four out of ten likely voters say Schwarzenegger's decision to participate in no more than one debate made them less likely to vote for him If McClintock’s recent superior performance as the only conservative in a race full of liberals and devoid of any moderates in the first gubernatorial debate is any indication, the next gubernatorial poll should show his support closing in on twenty percent and threatening to tie and eventually surpass Schwarzenegger’s. At that point, will the liberal Republican establishment be calling on Schwarzenegger to drop out of the race? Don’t bet on it. You see they believe that only liberals can win statewide elections in California as elsewhere throughout the country.

Bill Simon’s recent departure means that there is only one conservative left in this race—Tom McClintock, who has been the main beneficiary of Simon’s departure.

Despite popular misconceptions to the contrary, the winning GOP strategy is to unite behind the only conservative in the race—Tom McClintock and then make the linkage that it is the liberal policies of the Davis-Bustamante administration that has driven California into the ground. For five years as Davis’ Lieutenant Governor, Bustamante has been part of the problem and electing him would mean a continuation of the far-left tax and spend Davis legacy. This case cannot be overemphasized and the race will not be won without making it.

According to the last LA Times poll, McClintock is the conservatives choice for Governor over Schwarzenegger by a margin of over two to one. It remains to be seen how many conservatives will actually vote against their principles and continue to support Schwarzenegger for Governor. A few weeks ago, Rush Limbaugh, who had been leading the conservative opposition to Schwarzenegger, all but announced he was on the verge of endorsing my former home county bona-fide conservative champion State Senator Tom McClintock for Governor. However, he has since indicated that he will probably refrain on making an endorsement in this race.

McClintock received the endorsement of the state’s most influential conservative organization, the California Republican Assembly, at their convention on August 10th after giving a rousing speech to convention delegates. The California Republican Assembly, whose endorsing convention I attended earlier this month showed considerable foresight in endorsing McClintock, who has represented my home county in the state legislature for the last two decades, as the conservative unity candidate for all conservatives to rally around to face the twin liberal threats of Schwarzenegger and Bustamante. Rallying behind McClintock for Governor is the only hope conservatives have of stopping the liberal’s latest attempt to continue their hijacking of California—by trying to run liberals at the top of both major party tickets.

What is really disappointing is the fact that so many conservative leaders, along with a few grass-roots conservatives, in California are betraying their principles by supporting the Schwarzenegger campaign under the mistaken assumption that only he can win. This is despite the fact that the polls clearly show that McClintock could win in a head to head race with Bustamante. Meanwhile Schwarzenegger continues to repudiate the conservative Republican position on a wide range of issues including abortion, homosexual rights, gun rights, affirmative action and immigration just to name a few. While McClintock promises to shake things up in Sacramento if elected Governor by changing policies and sacking all of Governor Gray Davis’s political appointees, Schwarzenegger has embraced many of Davis’ policies and said he leave many of Davis’ political hacks, who are part of the problem, in place.

In an editorial published earlier last week, George Will warned that the Democrats are planning an 11th hour attack on Schwarzenegger using his past scandalous behavior—perhaps evidence of his long-rumored philandering. He certainly seems to have a lot of baggage for the Democrats to use to attack him. Republicans would do well to steer clear of him and vote for scandal-free McClintock if they hope to have a chance at winning this election.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a liberal who is completely unworthy of conservative support. McClintock is surging and is only seven points behind Schwarzenegger. Bill Simon was right when he said upon his departure that there are too many Republicans in the race. It is time for Schwarzenegger to drop out so that all Republicans can unify behind a single candidate—Tom McClintock. If Schwarzenegger dropped out, the polls show that McClintock would beat Bustamante. McClintock is the only candidate in the race who has addressed issues of importance to Californians in substance. Sadly, liberal Republicans in California would rather see Cruz Bustamante elected the next Governor of California than support a conservative like Tom McClintock, despite the fact that he has a real chance of winning.

© 2003 David T. Pyne

"Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this
notice and hyperlink intact."

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David T. Pyne, Esq. is a national security expert who serves as President of the Center for the National Security Interest, a national security think-tank based in Arlington, VA. Mr. Pyne is a licensed attorney and former United States Army Officer. He holds an MA in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. Mr. Pyne also serves as
President of the Virginia Republican Assembly. He has been published on WorldNetDaily.com and several other conservative opinion websites including Etherzone, the Washington Dispatch, the American Reformation Project, the American Partisan, OpinioNet, the Patriotist, Enter Stage Right, Intellectual Conservative, America’s Voices, and the Sierra Times. Mr. Pyne has been invited to appear on CNBC and was recently invited to serve as an occasional Fox News commentator to express his views on assorted national security issues. He has also been interviewed on assorted radio-talk shows.