The late, great state

By Joseph Farah

I lived in California for about 20 years.

When I lived there, I worried the state might one day fall into the Pacific Ocean. Now that I have left, I worry that it might not.

California is a bad influence on America. It is a huge drain on the rest of us. It represents all the worst and most dangerous aspects of the country.

It’s probably too late to change the direction of California through the conventional political process. The state seems destined to re-elect Gray Davis as governor next month. How unbelievable is that?

Four years ago, before I left California for good, I voted for Gray Davis in the Democratic Party primary because I was certain he was unelectable. Though “Gray” is his real name, not his nickname, it’s also an uncannily descriptive term. He’s dull, boring, unattractive, non-charismatic. I was certain that Attorney General Dan Lungren, no ball of fire himself, could easily beat Davis in the general election, so voting for Davis was a way making it easier for the most honorable candidate to win.

I was wrong. I was guilty of overestimating the intelligence of the California populace. Davis won.

He won because he is an old-fashioned machine politician – one who will take money from anyone and pay off those anyones at the taxpayer’s expense. In other words, he is a crook. He’s corrupt. He would do anything for power.

Davis is now on the verge of re-election because he used his term as governor to buy more political favors with the money forcibly provided to the state from taxpayers. California has already forgotten about the power shortages he presided over. They have forgotten about the raising of taxes. They have forgotten about the way Davis has sold his very soul – if he ever had one – to the highest political bidder.

So, his challenger, William Simon is on the ropes. Simon is a political newcomer who has been outspent 10 to 1 in California. TV commercials for Davis run around the clock – lying about who he is, what he has done and who his opponent is. Simon is now a real long shot.

That’s too bad, because Simon is a good man who has run a lousy campaign.

But until the fat lady sings on election day, we can hope … and pray … and in California work hard for a miracle win for Simon.

You know, I seldom speak out on behalf of political candidates for any office. I endorsed no candidate for president in 2000 – despite my strong dislike for Al Gore. It’s a rare exception for me to use this platform to support politicians because they almost always disappoint me.

This California race is one of those rare exceptions. Seldom in our lives are we faced with such a stark choice. It’s really a choice between good and evil. Will Californians seize the opportunity they have to set their state on a better course? Will they have enough common sense to reject evil and support good? We’ll see.

There’s one more important race in California. It’s the race for controller. A very, very good man – one I have known for more than a decade – is competing for this key job overseeing fraud, waste, abuse and corruption in the state’s finances. And, believe me, there’s a lot of it.

His name is Tom McClintock. For those of you Californians reading this column, I urge you to do all you can to save your state from figuratively falling into the Pacific Ocean of red ink this year by voting for William Simon for governor and Tom McClintock for controller.