Patterico's Pontifications

9/28/2003

MORE THOUGHTS ON McCLINTOCK AND

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:38 am

MORE THOUGHTS ON McCLINTOCK AND ARNOLD: I would like to elaborate a little on comments I made recently regarding the “Arnold or Tom?” dilemma currently facing California conservatives. Our local Dog Trainer today has a back-page story on Tom McClintock, in which Tucker Carlson says that the abandonment of McClintock by some California conservatives is “nauseating.”

Let’s put aside for a moment the fact that Tucker Carlson is a clueless boob who had to publicly eat a shoe-shaped cake because he stupidly said that Hillary Clinton’s book would not sell a million copies. Let’s also put aside the fact that that incident showed Carlson’s capacity for underestimating the public’s stupidity — an accurate estimation of which is critical to making voting decisions in this race. We’ll just place all that to one side for a moment, and examine the thesis of Tucker “Shown Up By Hillary” Carlson. Is it indeed “nauseating” for conservatives to abandon Tom McClintock?

I have recently argued that, assuming that the polling shows McClintock can’t win, voting for Arnold is the best thing that supporters of Tom McClintock can do for McClintock.

I keep reading people saying McClintock needs to drop out. He is not going to do that. McClintock has really boxed himself in with his public assurances that he won’t quit. He can’t now. His supporters have to save Tom from himself.

This doesn’t mean I am quite endorsing Arnold yet, as stated by Lex Communis. Just that I almost certainly will. I am willing to wait and see a few more polls.

I want to address something: this is not an easy decision. It ultimately means that I am going to let a few hundred random Californians (the poll respondents over the next few days) determine my vote. I am not heartened by this. When I walk down the street and pick a Californian at random, I do not feel comfortable with the idea of that person having any input in my vote. Frankly, in most cases, I am not all that thrilled at the prospect that that person may be casting his or her own vote. It is truly galling to think of a group of such slack-jawed, uninformed folks controlling what I (and others like me) do in the polling booth.

Moreover, there is a circularity to all of this. Many people are basing their vote on what they think other people will do, based on the views of poll respondents. Meanwhile, many of those poll respondents will themselves base their answers to the poll questions on what they think other people will do. As the shampoo commercial used to say: “And so on, and so on, and so on.”

As I recently said, I would at least like for the polls to pose the question of who people would vote for if they just voted for the candidate they liked best. Such polling could test the assertion of evangelical James Dobson, who is quoted in today’s Dog Trainer as saying: “Everybody’s saying McClintock can’t win. If all of the conservatives who are complaining about him would vote for him, I believe he would pull it off.” I think Dobson is wrong, but I’d at like least to see pollsters address the subject.

But I doubt they will. Ultimately, whether it is based on perceptions, or Californians’ unwillingness to vote for social conservatives, or whatever, I still think that McClintock is unlikely to pull within striking distance. If he can’t, the more accurate view of McClintock is the one expressed in this morning’s Dog Trainer article by Kevin Starr: “He’s the Ralph Nader of the California Republican Party.”

Those of us who like McClintock should wish better for him.

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