California's Al Gore - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
California’s Al Gore

“I’m not asking people to marry me,” California Governor Gray Davis says. “I’m asking them to make a decision as to who they want to govern this state.”

Even Davis’ self-deprecation is fake. Davis is in low-ball mode because his polls ratings are so low. One out of three Democrats view him unfavorably, as do two out of five independents, according to recent polling.

California’s Al Gore is simply seeking to neutralize his negative image through a little contrived humility. Last month he played the bragging veteran against the rookie Bill Simon; this month he is the humble workman against the risky entrepreneur.

This “Yes, I am a loser, but at least I am competent “tack can only work if Simon runs a feckless campaign. Davis knows that he will lose if the race is a referendum on his acharismatic, mismanaging governorship. So he is desperately trying to make Simon’s “extremism” the issue. Never mind that Simon’s interest in the so-called hot button issues — affirmative action, abortion, homosexual rights –is nil.

It is not Simon but Davis who displays the positions and personality of an extremist. Davis has learned nothing from Richard Riordan’s “pro-choice” monomania, which made Riordan almost sound like an abortionist, turning off even some liberal GOP women.

Davis is proudly hawking endorsements from extremist groups like the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, and, according to the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters, recently suggested that health-care companies make morning-after abortifacients available without prescription.

Davis demands that Simon talk about abortion with the same level of fervor as he does. Simon hasn’t risen to the bait, causing a nettled Davis and liberal California press corps to pout about Simon’s unwillingness to address the issues that “concern Californians.”

Shouldn’t it concern Californians a little bit more that the governor who has wasted billions of their tax dollars on energy socialism wants to spend more of them on abortion?

Davis’s extremism is seen on other issues. Pandering to the Hispanic community, he recently announced his support for legislation that would give 2 million illegal aliens the opportunity to receive driver’s licenses. Davis, in a typically clumsy compromise, says the licenses should only apply to “work-related” driving, leading Gil Cedillo, the assemblyman who proposed the legislation, to say to the Los Angeles Times, “I don’t think people care whether a man is driving to work, taking his family to church or to a medical appointment.”

Ever the Clintonian hedger, Davis struck the compromise so that Californians won’t label him a softie on anti-terrorism measures. “I believe we can fashion a bill which gives people who have been here for a while and are contributing to our economy the right to drive to work, and does not compromise public security,” Davis said.

Isn’t it a little extreme to suppose that people who broke the law to enter the state will only drive legally to their jobs, then pull over when headed for mischief? Davis’s call to let illegal aliens drive legally to their illegal jobs is about as moderate as his support for letting illegal aliens pay $10,000 less at University of California schools than out-of-state Americans.

Politics, not principle, is foremost in Davis’ mind. The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Davis “received an additional $251,000 from California’s prison guards union earlier this month, only weeks after the governor granted the officers a pay hike of as much as $1 billion and fulfilled their wish by proposing to close five private prisons.”

Prison guards will get a 33.76% phased-in pay raise, thanks to Davis’s sudden appreciation for their labor. Davis says he is “philosophically” convinced that private entities can’t measure up to the state in building prisons: “If we learned anything from this energy debacle, it is that private companies will do what’s in the interest of their shareholders, and sometimes those interests are antithetical to the public. I see no reason why private companies should be in the business of building prisons.”

Yet Davis’s own state audits, according to the Times, “have given high marks to the five targeted private prisons,” which “house a combined 1,400 low-security inmates, most of whom have been convicted of drug-related crimes.”

Davis calls his state government an “above-board administration.” It is more like a reelection racket.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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