A master of Golden State politics, Arnie Steinberg wonders, understandably enough, what Tom McClintock could possibly have been thinking: Despite one chance after another to confront Schwarzenegger–most recently in last week’s debate–McClintock has spent the campaign going easy on Arnold instead.
My own take? McClintock is more realistic than most suppose. No doubt he’s been hoping (as I have, for that matter) that by some miracle he could break out of second place, overtaking Schwarzenegger. But since he’s always known such a victory was unlikely, he’s been campaigning not only for governor but for the role of California’s leading grownup. Who knows how to balance the budget? McClintock. Who knows the most effective way of shifting resources to public works projects, including our overcrowded and crumbling highways? McClintock. On one issue after another, McClintock has established himself as thoughtful, imaginative, and thoroughly informed, making himself a figure of statewide importance–probably the only member of the state senate whom a majority of voters could actually name.
And with Arnold in the governor’s mansion and Dennis Miller in the Senate (an “unidentified” member of the Schwarzenegger campaign, almost certainly Mike Murphy, started adraft-Miller movement over the weekend to persuade Miller to run against Barbara Boxer) Californians will find it refreshing to hear every so often from a man who actually knows what he’s talking about.