MCCLINTOCK URGES ARNOLD TO QUIT

News 10 reports that,

State Senator Tom McClintock called on Arnold Schwarzenegger to withdraw from the race for governor if allegations of improper sexual advances prove to be true.

He went on to tell reporters that if the charges are proven, Schwarzenegger does not deserve to occupy the governor’s office. “As the father of a 13-year-old daughter, I would have a great deal of trouble accepting that that kind of conduct has been elevated to the highest office in the state,” he said.

The potential scandal hovering over Schwarzenegger could provide an unexpected boost for McClintock’s campaign. The conservative state senator is current lagging well behind both Schwarzenegger and Democrat Cruz Bustamante in the polls.

I’m afraid the man is insane. While Schwarzenegger’s dropping out would certainly help McClintock greatly, it would not be nearly enough to propel him to victory. A hard-right conservative is simply not electable to statewide office in California.

And the business about the 13-year-old daughter is just bizarre. Are there any allegations anywhere that Schwarzenegger was hitting on teenagers? I am only marginally aware of the details of the LA Times piece, having paid only scant attention to the news over the past week, but my understanding is that he is accused of being rather boorish to adults on movie sets.

If this WaPo report is accurate, the allegations have actually had a rather odd impact:

For his supporters, as a new San Jose Mercury News/KNTV/Knight-Ridder poll suggests, accounts of Schwarzenegger’s sexual misdeeds seem to have little sway. Women polled support Davis’s recall 51 percent to 42 percent, and they favor Schwarzenegger to replace him. He received 35 percent support among the women compared with 29 percent for his nearest rival, Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante.

If anything, women interviewed said, the sexual misconduct stories only made them angrier at Davis and Schwarzenegger’s other opponents.

Call it the Clinton Effect: Charges of bad behavior are now just considered the Politics of Personal Destruction and hurt the accuser more than the target.

More evidence of the Clinton Effect: Hugh Hewitt’s Weekly Standard piece condemning the LA Times.

In an astonishing story from page A34 of Sunday’s Times, Readers Angry at The Times for Schwarzenegger Stories, the paper struggles to report the damage done to its reputation over the past three days while at the same time offering a lengthy apologia from editor John Carroll. Andrew Sullivan has described the Times as a “Smear Machine,” columnist and former Times reporter Jill Stewart labeled their recent stories on Schwarzenegger as “hit pieces” and the Times’ recent actions as “journalistic malpractice,” and Susan Estrich used space on Friday’s op-ed page to berate the paper for doing damage to women with legitimate charges of abuse. On my radio program Friday, Morton Kondracke expressed surprise and disapproval of Carroll’s decisions in the run-up to Tuesday’s campaign (Carroll used to be Kondracke’s White House correspondent).

What surprises me is these people’s surprise. The Times has been an ally of Gray Davis for five years and an undeclared combatant in the recall wars. That the paper doubled-down with Gray behind and fading is no shock. The transparency of their cheerleading has been evident in their lineup of in-house recall columnists, all four of whom have been outspoken critics of Arnold from the day he announced his campaign. And the paper’s news coverage has been as unbalanced as its commentary.

THE PUBLIC has come to grips with the Times as an organ of the Democratic party, an incredible waste of its near-monopoly status in Southern California.

What is different about the paper’s naked and increasingly wild coverage of anti-Arnold charges is the reaction among even long-suffering Times watchers. A thousand readers actually cancelled subscriptions after Thursday’s report on Arnold (that’s the number released by the Times; who knows what the real total is). The outrage and anger of readers can be heard on any talk-radio station. So loud is the din that the Times was obliged to cover it.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Kevin Drum says:

    Yes, Bill McClintock is insane. This is news?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Heh. I’d never heard of him until the gubernatorial run.