Monday, October 13, 2003


The Real OC Issue 4

Hello everyone, welcome to another issue of the Real OC. I am back in Southern California for a week and things have changed. Pete Wilson has been elected to a third term as Governor, oh whoops I mean Arnold Schwarzenegger has been elected Governor. In this issue I will have a recap of the recall with a few editorials covering the major candidates. I will also have a Quote of the Week and Song of the Week.

My Thoughts: Cruz Bustamante

Throughout most of the election, Cruz Bustamante held a slight lead over Arnold Schwarzenegger in the polls until the very end. To hold the lead that long goes to show the influence of Democrats in the state of California. But how did he blow that lead and turn it into a landslide. There are many factors in this, but as Democrats we need to take a long hard look at our party and get on message and give the voters a reason to support us again.

The Bustamante campaign was plagued by several misteps that would doom it later in the campaign. The first is that the campaign staff did not want to listen to any outsiders and chose only to stick to their inner clique. They were determined to do things their way or the highway. The biggest error was targeting the working class Latino community and the far left wing. The campaign went too far to the left. Bustamante tried to present himself as a activist for the rights of Chicanos and in the end alienated a good portion of the Democratic Party. I talked to many Dems who mentioned that they felt left out by his message.

Now don't get me wrong, its always a good thing to cast yourself as an activist, but be sure you do not alienate other core constituencies that may be likely supporters. When the MEChA bashing began to come up, he was cast as a "Chicano radical." Yet looking at his record in the State Legislature and some other recent actions such as endorsing Joe Lieberman for President shows he is not the activist he makes himself out to be. Lieberman is not one who inspires ideas of Radical activism. It is hard to have a successful campaign when you are being a Chicano activist one minute and Bush Lite the next.

It was interesting to see that Arnold won nearly one-third of the Latino vote. Bustamante was held to under 50% of the Latino vote. In an editorial recently published in the OC Register by Republican activist Art Pedroza, he mentions that this is a sign that the Latinos no longer view Pete Wilson as the boogey man. I agree but I also disagree with parts of this statement. I believe Pete Wilson is the only reason Bustamante won the Latino vote and voted against the recall 53% to 47%. I believe if Arnold had not brought on Pete Wilson we would see a much different result. At the same time the number is dropping, and the margin is much closer than it would have been about five years ago. So there are signs that the Latino vote for Democrats is vulnerable and that vulnerability needs to be dealt with.

Since Proposition 187 and Pete Wilson we have been spending time and resources telling Latinos why they should not be Republicans. We need to change up that message, we need to let them know why they should be Democrats. Pete Wilson being involved with Arnold only give us more time to use that, but we should use that time to show reasons to keep the Latino vote in California with the Democrats. The Dems need to use this recall to their advantage, the ball is in their court as far as the Latino vote is concerned.

But how do we ensure that the Latino vote stays Democrat? The first is to push forth a new generation of Latino Democrats who view the bigger picture and not just "la raza." People like Antonio Villaraigosa, Rocky Delgadillo, Rudy Bermudez and Nicole Parra represent a new breed of Latino Democrats. These are ones who look at the big picture and seek to reach out to everyone, not just the Latino constituency. The Democratic Party is supposed to be the party of the people and I think this new breed of Latino leaders have adapted to this. I remember talking with a Mechista who opposed Antonio Villaraigosa for LA Mayor when he ran in 2001. Her reasoning was that he did not do enough for the "raza" and spent too much time on other issues such as improving park and open space and Metro Rail expansion. Hearing these kinds of platforms encourages me to want to support a candidate more. They realize when they create policy that will help all people, Latinos win as well. Activists like Nativo Lopez may not want to look at the bigger picture and want to stick to support only from the working class Latino community, but when one alienates the majority of the population they set themself up for defeat. The new breed of Latino Democrats who reach out not only to working class Latinos, but the growing Latino middle class and the general population as well.

The second is to get on message. In many ways, the Democratic party in California is not in the best of shape. Had we been on message, been much more united, I think the recall could have been beaten. Observing the Orange County Democratic Party Central Committee, I see a problem that is constantly repeated throughout the state. You have certain individuals and opportunists that use it for their own personal agendas. You have others who are recent turncoats from other political parties using the Democratic party to their own purposes instead of promoting the platfmorm. You have older members who, instead of wanting to work with younger Democrats, who are the ideological core of the party, view them with contempt. It is a constant problem I have observed when some older members chide the younger ones for daring to speak out. This has led to some disenchantment from the young Democrats who fall away disillusioned and cease caring about the direction the party takes. We all need to work together and there are many who do, it is the bad apples spoiling the barrel that we need to weed out. Us Democrats need to re-examine every plank in the platform and just do some good ol' fashion educating the public about the Party's platform. Many high-ranking Dems have forgotten that the Party did have a platform at one point in its history.

We need to unite and we need to work together to get on message if we hope to not only keep the Latino vote but the vote of Californians in general. We were divided and in many ways we have ourselves to blame for the success of this recall and the debacle of the Bustamante campaign. The only way we can make some real changes is putting those who want to work to better the Democratic party in the places of power. I am a big supporter of Art Torres and I feel he is a shining example of a real Democrat, but he cannot do this alone. He needs our help to get on message and bring about change.

Tom McClintock

There is no candidate I disagreed with more than Tom McClintock. There is also no candidate I respected more than Tom McClintock. One of the most Conservative candidates in the race, Tom McClintock was one who let the public know his values and stuck by them. He never dropped out of the race even though at every turn he was pressured to. He represented the heart and soul of the Republican Party and he sought to remind them just who their core really is when they made victory the priority over principle.

Going back, I remember a good friend from high school telling me once why many Christians(at least the Christian Coalition types) were Republican. The reasons: 1. Dems are "pro-abortion." 2. Dems are against abstinence only education. 3. Dems are against prayer in public schools. 4. Dems are for gay rights. REPUBLICAN Arnold Schwarzenegger also supports all the things I just listed. Tom McClintock stands with the Christian fundamentalists on all of these issues. I thought one of the darkest moments of this campaign is when Pat Robertson, Robert Shuller, Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel and many other bible thumping ministers backed Arnold for Governor. To the point that Shuller allowed Arnold to do a sermon at one of his services.

The bible thumpers that backed Arnold, I have lost any respect I had for them. This showed they have no values and chose power over principle. Tom McClintock should have been their ideal candidate. He never wavered from these positions.

Another issue he never wavered on was the hits he took on Indian Gaming. Being very pro-business, McClintock has been supportive of Indian Gaming and opposed to any taxes for them. Arnold attacked McClintock and Bustamante for this stance. But looking at McClintock's ideology he does not believe in taxes, or at least very low taxes for all businesses. His opposition to taxes on Indian Gaming was simply consistent with his belief system. You have to give the man credit for consistency and staying true to his beliefs when many others in his party sold out theirs for power.

Arianna Huffington

The one major female candidate, Arianna Huffington brought some interesting issues to the table. A former Republican, Arianna has become a Progressive activist. She ran as an Independent, yet there was no candidate who mirrored my beliefs and values more than Arianna. I truly hope she joins the Democratic Party one day.

I gained the most respect for her in the debate on September 24th, the only one Arnold was brave enough to show up for. She showed the assertiveness that Cruz Bustamante should have shown in that debate. She attacked Arnold relentlessly but was able to back up the attacks with facts. She was able to link President Bush quite effectively to the budget problems going on in California. Arnold would refuse to answer her, telling her to go to New Hampshire instead.

The day after the debate, many people cast her as some sort of "bitch" for her aggressive attitude. She showed that she may be the only major female candidate but she was tougher than all the male candidates put together. Plus her Progressive agenda is for real, she is not Bush Lite at times like other "progressive" candidates. Being a recovering Republican(as she likes to refer to herself) she saw firsthand the fallacies of their agenda and she seeks to bring real change, not the falsehoods of Compassionate Conservatism. I hope she stays on the scene for a long time to come and brings the important issues to the table that need to be discussed.

If Cruz Bustamante's campaign was as assertive as Arianna's, he would have stood more of a chance to defeat Arnold. Since she was not one of the frontrunners she was held back to a minor role. But the campaign was on message and well run. The Democrats need to take notes from Arianna. Better yet we need to find a way to bring her on board. Progressives like her is what we need to get the party on message.

Peter Ueberroth

Peter Ueberroth was a candidate the Republicans should have embraced. Sure Arnold may have moderate social views, sure Arnold may have popularity, but Arnold did not have what Ueberroth had, a proven record of success. Peter Ueberroth ran for Governor and touted his plan of social liberalism mixed with fiscal conservatism. Although I did not agree with his entire platform, Ueberroth made it clear where he stood on the issues.

Arnold never answered whether or not he supported the gay civil unions bill. Arnold never answered just how far his stand on a woman's right to choose extended. Ueberroth was the true "New Majority" Republican, fully bucking the trends of the bible thumping wing of the party and getting back to traditional Conservatism. And Ueberroth has a proven record of success. In the 80's the Olympic games had become a debacle. They were in near financial ruin(Canadians are still paying for the 1976 Montreal games to this day) and after the open cheating at the Moscow Games were considered a joke. Ueberroth took on the massive task of saving the Olympic Games and not only succeeded, he marketed the games to the point where there was not a debt, but the greatest profit in the history of the Olympic Games. His commericalization of the Games brought the prestige and honor back that had been lost in the previous decade. The following years he also increased the prestige of Major League Baseball as their Commissioner.(Although future mismanagement by other commissioners would erase his accomplishments.) His record was proven.

This goes back to an earlier point, the Republicans quest to win by the cult of personality rather than principle. If the New Majority Republicans ever had an ideal candidate in the race, it was Peter Ueberroth. Their main philosophy is to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Arnold was vague on both platforms, yet Peter Ueberroth symbolized both those ideals. Just as Tom McClintock was a symbol for the card carrying Conservatives for the Republicans, Ueberroth was the perfect candidate for the Moderates of the Republican Party. He had a proven track record and his views on how to change California were clear.(unlike Arnold)

<Quote of the Week

"We must strive for a society where everyone is equal under the eyes of the law, but this cannot be achieved through compomise, but through perseverence."
Robert F. Kennedy

Song of the Week

Here is a classic song by one of the greatest musicians of all time, Stevie Wonder. Living for the City is a song that details the hard life of a working class African-American family. I think this is relevant today with the many undocumented working families in this country today. Read the lyrics carefully and you will see the parallels to the immigrant families who face persecution and discrimination by the very people they work for to improve their standard of living. I find it appalling when I hear affluent people complaining about undocumented immigrants ruining the US and planning to force the Mexican way of life here in California, yet do not hesitate to hire them to babysit their kids, remodel their homes or mow their lawns.

Living For the City
By Stevie Wonder

A boy is born in hard time Mississippi
Surrounded by four walls that ain't so pretty
His parents give him love and affection
To keep him strong moving in the right direction
Living just enough, just enough for the city...ee ha!

His father works some days for fourteen hours
And you can bet he barely makes a dollar
His mother goes to scrub the floors for many
And you'd best believe she hardly gets a penny
Living just enough, just enough for the city... yeah!

His sister's black but she is sho'nuff pretty
Her skirt is short but Lord her legs are sturdy
To walk to school she's got to get up early
Her clothes are old but never are they dirty
Living just enough, just enough for the city...um hum

Her brother's smart he's got more sense than many
His patience's long but soon he won't have any
To find a job is like a haystack needle
Cause where he lives they don't use colored people
Living just enough, just enough for the city...

Living just enough...
For the city... ooh, ooh
(Repeat several times)

His hair is long, his feet are hard and gritty
He spends his life walking the streets of New York City
He's almost dead from breathing in air pollution
He tried to vote but to him there's no solution
Living just enough, just enough for the city...
yeah, yeah, yeah!

I hope you hear inside my voice of sorrow
And that it motivates you to make a better tomorrow
This place is cruel no where could be much colder
If we don't change the world will soon be over
Living just enough, stop giving just enough for the city!!!!

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