Sunday, July 27, 2003

California Daydreaming-I'm not sure that this will play out, but keep your eye on Leon Panetta. I normally stay around from Dowd pieces like the plague, but I clicked into this piece today. At the end, after getting in her digs at Darrell Issa and Ahnold, she quotes Panetta-"California is still on the cutting edge, but now we're on the cutting edge of showing other states how not to govern." I'm not sure how Panetta will play with swing voters, but when he was in Congress and as OMB director under Clinton, he seem to have a healthy streak of common sense for a liberal Democrat. He's also candid for a politician and likable. Of all the Democrats mentioned so far, he's the one guy I wouldn't want to have to run against. The last few days has seem to see a draft-Panetta meme building in the mainstream media. Right now, Democrats are going with a Gray or Bust routine, not running anyone and giving devout Democrats no choice but to vote no on the recall. However, if they see that the recall is a done deal, the Gray or Bust strategy might shift to getting a replacement that can beat Ahnold. Right now, Schwarzenegger would look to be a good centrist alternative to many Democratic-leaning voters, giving the anti-Davis vote more momentum. However, with Panetta in the race, he would give Democrats someone to vote for without holding their nose. Schwarzenegger would likely beat Panetta 55-45 in a mano-a-mano race, but with one or two conservatives in the race, as well as Green candidate Peter Camejo nipping on the left, I'd expect Panetta to beat Schwarzenegger 34-31. I hope the Democrats in the Cereal State don't figure that out.

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