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Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns contain satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

California Gov. Gray Davis continues to score historic firsts.

He was first to run up a $38 billion deficit (with the help of the state Legislature). Now he’s the first governor to face a recall election.

Give him credit for putting on a brave face, but low marks for his choice of metaphors.

Learning the recall had been certified, the governor declared, “Every time they say I’m road kill, I continue to win.”

We don’t remember anybody calling Davis road kill, but must admit the image fits. The recall petition rolled through California like a semi-truck with a radar detector, and the governor didn’t gear up to fight it until he had figurative tread marks across his abdomen.

This means the nation is in for an entertaining period of California watching, and as the governor has chosen to compare himself to freeway fajitas, we’d like to help him out by suggesting slogans to match the theme. The first is suggested by his own words:

  • I look like road kill, but I’m a winner. (I’d buy that campaign button, assuming it was appropriately illustrated.)

  • The vultures may be circling, but they haven’t landed.

  • This doornail isn’t dead yet.

  • I’m not dead meat until the butcher carves me up.

  • This frog hasn’t croaked yet.

  • I’m flat on my back but haven’t turned up my toes.

  • This mackerel ain’t stinkin’ yet.

Davis suggests further slogans with his pronouncement: “One of my greatest strengths is people have underestimated me since I was born.” How about:

  • I was an ugly baby, but look at me now.

  • They said I’d never get out of kindergarten.

  • But I did pass the behind-the-wheel test.

I’m sure Davis is open to other suggestions. Send me yours and I’ll pass them along.


The “You Got Me Wrong, Pardner!” award goes to California’s lieutenant governor, Cruz Bustamante, who is responsible for calling for the election and setting the date thereof. On learning the recall petitions had been certified, he suggested the election should be about whether or not Davis should be retained, and not simultaneously about selecting a successor.

“The authority I have is to set the date, but not the other,” he said.

Of course, if current polls are any indication, the electorate will fire Davis, which would create a vacancy to be filled automatically by Cruz Bustamante.

The lieutenant governor probably didn’t notice this interesting fact – or thought nobody else would, either. In any case, he later said the form of the election will be left up to the attorney general and lawyers for the secretary of state and the Legislative Counsel’s office.


There’s another wild card in the recall drama. Ward Connerly, the University of California regent who led the campaign that supposedly outlawed affirmative action in California, has qualified an initiative that would bar local governments from gathering data on folks’ race and /or ethnicity.

The initiative is supposed to go on the next general election ballot – which would be the recall. Opponents would argue an anticipated low voter turnout would favor proponents of the measure.

We told you this was going to be entertaining.


Stereotype confirmed

Culled from a National Organization for Women solicitation letter excoriating Rush Limbaugh: “… Limbaugh likes to call women’s rights supporters ‘feminazis.’ That’s not funny.” Well, it’s tough to maintain a sense of humor when you are losing the argument on the merits.

The letter, asking funds to help NOW secure equal time to counter Limbaugh’s program, refers to the broadcast giant as a “bigot.” Perhaps the NOW leaders should look up this word, which my lexicon defines as “a person who holds blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed, opinion, etc.” Then they should repair to the looking glass.

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