It has been less than a decade since Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger won the special election to recall and replace Gov. Gray Davis. Schwarzenegger finished nearly 1.5 million votes ahead of the second-place gubernatorial candidate, Democrat Cruz Bustamante. Schwarzenegger won the votes of 43 percent of women, 31 percent of Latinos, 42 percent of union members and 18 percent of Democrats, according to the CBS/Edison/Mitofksy poll. At the same time, Schwarzenegger won the great majority of Republican voters, who turned out in large numbers.
As the Oct. 7 recall election enters its frantic home stretch, the evening of Sept. 26 found Gov. Gray Davis sitting on the bimah at Stephen S. Wise Temple in Bel Air, participating in Rosh Hashanah services.
This was no last-ditch campaign ploy -- Davis has attended High Holiday services at the synagogue for years and, according to election experts, most Jews seem likely to vote "no" on the recall to keep the beleaguered governor in power. Despite Davis' lack of charisma and reputation as a fundraising machine beholden to monied interests, many consider him a trusted supporter of Jewish causes who deserves to keep his job.
For the most part, Jewish leadership in Los Angeles and elsewhere can be expected to oppose the recall of longtime "ally" Gov. Gray Davis and, in a pinch, support his Mini-Me proposed replacement, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (see page 12). "Go along to get along" expediency and Pavlovian liberal sympathies provide much of the explanation.
Yet, as is all too often the case, the more pressing, long-term issues will be lost. Not only has Davis presided over a disastrous decline in the state's finances and an unprecedented debasing of its political culture. Now he has become handmaiden to the undermining of our most precious principles, the sanctity of citizenship.