All posts by Rand Simberg

The Good Guy Wins

Now that it’s become clear that Riordan has been blown out in the Republican primary, I just want to say…


Riordan was the “moderate Democrats'” last great hope to defeat Gray Davis, who even they couldn’t stomach.

Sorry, folks, but the notion that Riordan had a better chance than Simon against Davis in November is a myth (and one that the Davis camp bought into, which will accrue to their great regret next fall).

No real Republican was going to vote for Riordan, had he won the nomination. They would have voted for a third-party candidate, or stayed home.

Yes, Simon will have an uphill battle in California, but now, at least the Republican Party is energized in a way that it never could have been by Maxine-Waters-contributing, no-fire-in-the-belly Dick Riordan. Riordan would have lost for sure. Simon has a chance. This is a blog, and my words are recorded for history. November will make me, or break me.

I do regret, however, Gary Condit’s loss of the Democratic primary. I was hoping for his loss in the general election. This was a Dem win.

But Has He Seen Me Lately?

I want to thank Glenn for pointing out that my knuckles don’t drag (and Richard Bennett, for implying that they do–as long as he spells the URL right…). Well, maybe on the keyboard…

Anyway, higher praise than that no man can ask.

And actually, I was pointing to Free Republic primarily for entertainment value (which it always provides, on several levels)–not to buttress my own arguments.

And Richard, really…

Astute politicians know how to navigate these new political waters, as Riordan did in LA…

It is to laugh. “Astute politicians” don’t spit in the face of the core constituency of their party, as Riordan did. McCain made the same mistake. They also don’t willfully give copious campaign donations, and aid and comfort, to the opposite party. I mean, come on, he gave donations to Maxine Waters. And you call that an astute Republican politician?

It’s possible to run as a moderate without demonizing your own base, but Dick Riordan sure didn’t know how to do it.

Man Of Steel? Or Cardboard?

There was always one policy area in which I thought the Clinton Administration did a reasonably good job, or, at least, had relatively-reasonable policy positions–trade policy.

Now the Bush Administration, after being on a hot streak of superior performance over the previous one, has stumbled badly.

At least Bill Clinton seemed to believe in free trade. It sickened me just now to hear Ari Fleischer trotting out the economically-ignorant phrase “fair trade.”

Will anyone point out how many jobs this will cost us, or how many jobs won’t be created as a result of this Administration’s spineless refusal to explain and defend the Law of Comparative Advantage?

Missing CATS Update

As regular readers will recall, someone was posting to the Cheap Access To Space (CATS) BBS looking for his lost felines.

It turns out he’s even more clueless than we thought.

According to his website (sorry, no link–this is second-hand info), he’s trying to set up a no-kill, no-confinement shelter for cats. No confinement. For cats. And he wonders why they keep going missing…

Also, he’s upset because the Humane Society keeps taking his cats away. Apparently, he’s decided to run for governor of “Minnessoeda” to solve the problem.

Well, if Jesse Ventura can win…

Suicidal California Elephants?

I don’t think so.

Ken Layne’s latest Fox News column is up. He (an admitted Democrat-turned-temporary-Republican) bemoans the fact that California Republicans seem suicidal because they won’t nominate a Democrat (Riordan) to run against Grayout Davis.

Well, he’s right that California Republicans like to lose, but it’s not because they nominate conservative candidates. It’s because they take occasionally idiotic policy positions (like Prop 187), or nominate candidates who are even more colorless than Gray (e.g., Matt Fong, Pete Wilson).

If running as a liberal/moderate was such a great idea, why did Mike Huffington lose, Ken? Bruce Herschenson was the last interesting candidate that they ran in my memory, and he came close to beating Barbara Boxer. He primarily lost because it was “the year of the (Democratic) woman,” and some last-minute dirty tricks.

Anyway, sorry, Ken, win or lose in November (I actually think he’s got a good shot, given the quality of the opposition, the lingering memories of the energy fiasco, and the changed mood of the country) Bill Simon is almost certainly going to be the Republican nominee. And it’s not because Republicans like to lose. It’s because they like to run Republicans–particularly Republicans who don’t go out of their way to sneer at the base.

[Update at 11:13 AM PST]

Joseph Britt agrees with Ken, and disagrees with me.

California conservatives are much happier complaining about liberals than actually exercising power themselves.

You don’t exercise power as a conservative by electing a Richard Riordan. To a conservative (a category in which I don’t place myself, by the way), Riordan is actually to the left of Davis on many issues. They just don’t see the point.

The GOP primary wouldn’t even have been close if they’d thrown their weight behind Bill Jones, but he wasn’t pure enough or rich enough.

Blame the White House for that. Riordan is their creation. Now they’re desperately making overtures to Simon, since they can read the handwriting. Simon will be a much stronger candidate than Jones, partly for the same reason he’s trouncing Jones–he can bring his own money to the table.

With Rudy’s endorsement, and Bush coming out here to campaign for him, and the upcoming budget battles in Sacramento, in which Davis will be blamed for the lack of funds due to his idiotic energy deals, I think that almost anyone will be able to knock him off this fall.

[Another update at 11:30 AM PST]]

The folks over at Free Republic are masticating Ken’s column and spitting it out. Many are making the same points that I do (though in a less genteel way). But then, I like Ken…

[Yet another update, at 11:46 AM PST]

Hugh Hewitt weighs in as well (on the race–not on Ken’s column)–he’s for Simon as well, and says why:

I decided on Simon after interviewing all three GOP candidates on my radio program last week. He’s upbeat, energized, ready to answer baseless attacks, and he doesn’t condescend to the voter. After the attacks on America, Simon is an almost ideal candidate to deliver the big three: honor, candor, and purpose. Simon will not only run strong in California, he’s a perfect new face for the GOP nationally as well.

The central issue in California in 2002 is the almost breathtaking incompetence of Gray Davis, a career political hack who found himself in the biggest job in the state and froze. On issue after issue Davis has fumbled the ball and called it a touchdown. He believes he can spin himself out of his disastrous handling of the state power shortage and his mismanagement of the state’s budget. “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” is not a question for voters, it’s a laugh line. As the Simon campaign reminds people, Davis’ slogan four years ago was “Experience money can’t buy.” Now we know why –there’d be no takers, period.

So Davis will attack, and attack, and attack. Here is where the real Reagan parallel comes in. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter was surrounded by the ruins of his first term in office and confronting an upbeat optimist from the West Coast in Reagan. So Carter attacked, again and again, and tried to persuade America that Reagan was a reckless ideologue. But 1980 was one of those years in which the American voter was unwilling to be spun. Americans were held hostage, and a war had broken out in Afghanistan. It was time for a change, and a big one. Reagan won in a walk.

Sound familiar? If Bill Simon stays upbeat and on message, if he focuses on California’s tottering economy and collapsed schools, and if he conveys the same wide-open embrace of all hard-working Americans, the worst governor in California’s history will also be the first one in a century to lose his first campaign for re-election.

[Yet another update, at 1 PM PST]

Richard Bennett comments:

California’s not the same state it was in the Reagan Era, it’s not even the same state is was the Pete Wilson Era — a lot of the Mexicans that Wilson went loopy over have registered to vote, and they take great pleasure in voting. It’s not the same state it was in 1994 when Reeps won a majority in the Assembly, either. But it’s still a state where most Republican voters believe that the Governor’s job has something to do with Roe v. Wade or the Second Amendment.

Well, it’s not just Republican voters who seem to believe that. And they aren’t asking for a governor to do anything with the Second Amendment–they just want one who will recognize its existence, and support things like e.g., concealed carry, and oppose things like state “assault weapon” bans.

In a democracy, we get the government we deserve; since Reeps nominated Dan Lungren last time, that means we get Gray. In a Simon- Davis matchup, as soon as the Dems learn that Simon has never held office and is ardently anti-abortion, we’re gonna deserve four more years of Gray as our penalty for being stupid.

If being anti-abortion is a problem, then it must mean that Democrat and independent voters also believe that a governor has something to do with Roe v Wade. I think that he can get around this problem, if he has competent campaign managers.


I don’t normally quote Professor Reynolds, because I know that almost everyone visits his site before they come here, but I just loved this simile:

…it shines through their reporting like too-small Hanes through the seat of a cheap suit.

One wonders idly, though, if he has any personal experience with such a phenomenon…

Bravenet Problems

For those of you who use as your hit counter, I notice that some of you don’t have the image sized in your HTML. If you put in an image in a page, with no size, the page will delay the load until it gets the image, because it doesn’t know how much real estate to allocate it in the browser display.

If you add the parameters “height=xxx width=yyy” where xxx is the image height in pixels, and yyy the width, as parameters to the “img src=…” tag, you might be able to get around the bravenet delay, even when bravenet is down. For instance, if you “view source” on my code, you’ll see that my tip bucket is explicitly sized, so that the page loads quickly even if Amazon is slow in responding (which it occasionally is).

Unfortunately, I don’t know the size for the Bravenet hit counter myself, but if you can find the image somewhere, and load it into a graphics program, it will tell you the size.

One More Reason That Bill Jones Will Lose Today’s Primary

California Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Bill Jones has had his web site shut down by his service provider because he was sending out spam.

Boo hoo.

“I have concerns about an Internet provider who is stifling free political speech a week before the election,” said Sean Walsh, Jones’ deputy campaign manager. “This is an intelligent, thoughtful and appropriate way to campaign.”

Let’s parse this. For “…stifling free political speech…” read “…unwilling to involuntarily spew millions of spam emails to people who aren’t even eligible to vote…” For “intelligent, thoughtful and appropriate” read “…obnoxious, stupid, and counter-productive…”

With idiots like this running his campaign, it’s no wonder he’s tanking.

My money’s still on Simon. And I have hopes for him in the general election as well.