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American governor: California's total recall

By Jackson Murphy
web posted July 28, 2003

Did you ever think that anyone would suggest that Gary Condit should be the next governor of California? It's a new reality. Well it's the reality in the latest Hollywood blockbuster. And it should come as no small surprise that these are the types of things you'd find in the state where fake breasts rule.

California Gov. Gray Davis
Davis

California is set to vote on recalling their governor as more than enough signatures have been certified to move forward in a special vote this October that will potentially remove Gov. Gray Davis and put a lucky candidate in his place with as little as 20 per cent of the vote.

"Mr. Davis became the first governor to face a recall in the United States since 1921 in large part because of his shortcomings at policymaking. He let the state's energy crisis spiral out of control while he failed for months to act; he passively allowed grave overspending by the liberal California legislature. Mr. Davis, however, displays nerves of steel when he is fighting for his political survival, and demonstrates his greatest decisiveness in one area: his contempt for voters as people who simply can't be trusted with big electoral decisions," writes Jill Stewart in The New York Times.

And with the state $38 billion in the hole who would possibly want this job?

With the heat on L.A. Laker Kobe Bryant for charges of sexual assault, California might really be ready to catch a dose of Gary Condit fever. Condit, who is most fondly remembered for his role in the drama that was the disappearance of intern Chandra Levy, has about the same chance of winning the California gubernatorial race as does Uday and Qusay Hussein. Wouldn't it be fun to see Condit's creepy children on the teevee once again praising their little buddy Gary!

Gary Condit: Poised for a comeback?
Condit: Poised for a comeback?

While Condit is not going to be the next governor, there is a huge list of potential names for this coveted position. From columnist and Zsa Zsa Gabor clone Arianna Huffington, to her wealthy ex-husband Mike Huffington who spent $26 million in a losing bid to win a Senate seat in 1996, and from action film star Arnold Schwarzenegger to millionaire Republican Rep. Darrell Issa who helped organize the recall campaign.

And the list will end up being long and distinguished. If Jerry Springer wants a Senate seat, the numbers of people interested in being the governor of the largest state, budget woes or not, will be a who's who of the state's most politically ambitious.

What's next Joey from "Friends"? If Ozzy Osbourne is mulling the pluses of simply putting his name on the ballet, then Matt Leblanc, who plays the endearingly dumb witted Joey, attempting to become the next Frasier by moving out on his own show in L.A would be just as good as Davis at this point. Other great names mentioned include Snoop Dogg, Tommy Lasorda, Clint Eastwood, and Hugh Hefner.

Radio host Hugh Hewitt likes what he sees too. Writing in The Weekly Standard Hewitt says, "Personally, I'm hoping that Cher, Shaq, or Jack get in. Maybe even Barbra. Even if the field stays fixed with just Davis and the big three Republicans, it will be the most extraordinary non-presidential race in American history. King of the Ring 2003, coming to your cable network soon."

And if any, or preferably all, of these names file their papers to get onto the ballot to Replace Davis it will be the biggest story of the fall, and better it will suck reporters who are stuck covering the dull campaigns of the Democratic presidential primaries away. Dean fever will simply be off the radar until January at best.

Let's be honest, Gray Davis is the Liza Minelli marriage of politics-insane, annoying, yet oddly compelling, and short-lived. While he has the star wattage of Enron's stock these days he has vowed to fight like a "Bengal Tiger" for his job which is anything but reassuring. Comeback kid or naive crackpot, you be the judge, but Bill Clinton he is not.

Part of the fun of this race is what Hewitt refers to the "lunatic vote". Well, outside of California we call it the lunatic vote, inside California they are simply voters. Voters willing to take a chance on a Green candidate, an actor, or whomever else they think would be fun.

Plenty of people think this whole process is a disaster. "Chaos!" they shout. This is an abomination of democracy. What are they nuts? This is the greatest Gong Show going in politics and the perfect setting to do it. People always say that Washington D.C. is just like a Hollywood on the east coast-full of people with large egos craving attention. The whole recall campaign should involve moving the capital to Hollywood, reality television, an outspoken American Idol panel composed of Dennis Miller, Ben Stein, and Michael Moore, all culminating in a simple call in vote.

And, yes, even though the American Idol movie, "From Justin to Kelly," was the biggest flop ever I smell a movie deal after this election. "American Governor: From Arnie to Arianna."

Jackson Murphy is a commentator from Vancouver, Canada. He a senior writer at Enter Stage Right and the editor of "Dispatches" a website that serves up political commentary 24-7. You can contact him at jacksonmurphy@telus.net.

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