One of the untold stories of this campaign is the degree to which Democrats have helped Tom McClintock stay competitive in the race to replace. Everyone by now knows that the casino gaming tribes, which clearly favor Bustamante, are helping McClintock in what appears to be a strategy of pulling votes away from Schwarzenegger. But Democrats also have given McClintock a completely free pass on policy positions he has taken that are opposed to everything Democrats believe in.
This is why it’s pure fantasy for McClintock fans to say their man could win if only Schwarzenegger would pull out and endorse him. If McClintock ever became a real threat, the Democrats would take off the gloves and pummel him with the same social issues that they used against Republican nominees Dan Lungren in 1998 and Bill Simon last year.
When it was disclosed that Schwarzenegger voted for Proposition 187 in 1994, Democrats labeled the immigrant actor anti-immigrant. But McClintock not only voted for that measure, he wants to revive it today by re-opening a federal court case that Davis settled in 1999. Yet I haven’t heard Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres blasting McClintock lately.
McClintock also opposes abortion and would refuse to fund Medi-Cal abortions for poor women. But we haven’t seen Code Pink or NOW dogging McClintock with protests at every event.
McClintock opposes gun control and gay rights and supports Proposition 54, the Racial Privacy Initiative. He wants to eliminate the state Coastal Commission, an icon for a generation of environmentalists. Not a peep from Democratic-leaning interest groups on those issues.
Finally, McClintock, despite his reputation as a master of fiscal detail, has taken liberties on the budget that would get a serious candidate in serious trouble. His contention during this week’s debate that he could cut $18 billion in bureaucratic waste from the state budget “without breaking a sweat” was laughable. There is definitely waste to be cut from the budget, but most of what the state spends from its $71 billion general fund goes to people providing services, such as teachers and doctors, or directly to the poor in welfare payments or aid to the aged, blind and disabled. Yet McClintock’s far-fetched claim went unchallenged by Democrats.
The Democrats are aiding and abetting McClintock, just as they helped Bill Simon in last year’s Republican primary, because they fear the election of a moderate Republican, and they know that such a development would help Republicans regain a foothold in California politics.