Dispatches > The Buzz


buzz from online journals of politics & culture

Issue: "Marx isn't dead," July 19, 2003

Governor "Ahnuld" of California? Arnold Schwarzenegger may take the reins if a recall election topples current Governor Gray Davis. Mickey Kaus (kausfiles.com) wrote, "the current drive to recall Gray Davis is clearly Arnold Schwarzenegger's best and perhaps only chance to become governor of California." Mr. Kaus notes that Mr. Schwarzenegger has high negatives among half the voters but will need only 25 percent or so of the vote in a fragmented recall, and adds that a campaign of mere weeks may keep a Democratic smear campaign from succeeding. Although Mr. Schwarzenegger has not officially announced a run for governor, he visited troops in Iraq and told them that Saddam's former fiefdom now has "a leadership vacuum. Pretty much like in California right now."

Greg Ransom of PrestoPundit (www.hayekcenter.org/ prestopundit) asked whether Mr. Schwarzenegger might be "doing a Colin Powell, or a Donald Trump-using election speculation hype to sell a product?" If so, the hype is working, for Mr. Schwarzenegger's new movie, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, dominated the July 4 weekend box office. But Republicans fear that Democrats who have supported Mr. Davis might break ranks and try to draft the state's most popular politician, Sen. Diane Feinstein. Comparing the election to Monopoly, patheticearthlings.com argued that "if Feinstein gets in the game, this game is over. We Republicans would do best just to toss our purple and green properties and loose cash into the pot and pretend we hear our Mother calling."

Bloggers began referring to the BBC-criticized for bias during the Iraq war-as the Baghdad or Biased Broadcasting Corporation. After highly publicizing accusations that Tony Blair and the British government doctored intelligence, the BBC agreed to admit that its source was incorrect, but only if the government admitted that the story raised legitimate concerns. Blogger Ombudsgod (ombudsgod.blogspot.com) noted that "the BBC ma[de] publishing a factual correction contingent on concessions by the aggrieved party."

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Andrew Sullivan (andrewsullivan.com) saw the BBC going the way of The New York Times and suggested that "the critical mass of criticism could soon prompt a Raines-like denouement."

Bush 43 may have learned the Bush 41 lesson about taxes, but some bloggers say the president is failing on spending. Joshua Claybourn (joshuaclaybourn.com/blog) presented stats on federal budget debauchery and stated, "Lest we forget, this is a Republican presidency and a Republican Congress (and, incidentally, mostly Republican statehouses). That's not the sort of record you want to have going into the election." Andrew Sullivan recommended that Howard Dean make fiscal responsibility a key issue: "Fiscal conservatives like me are going to be looking in 2004 for someone-anyone-who can control government spending. We know Bush is hopeless.... What we need to know is that some Democrat won't be so bad."

Bloggers expect Iran and Burma to crush dissents, but some are pointing to California Polytechnic as another tyranny. University officials disciplined Steve Hinkle, a member of the Cal Poly College Republicans, for trying to post a flier promoting a black conservative speaker on a multicultural center bulletin board. Black students sitting near the bulletin board objected to Mr. Hinkle's presence and called the police. In a disciplinary hearing at which Mr. Hinkle was not allowed to have an attorney present, Cal Poly found him guilty of "disruption ... of the campus education process" and sentenced him to write a letter of apology to his accusers. Cornel Morton, Cal Poly's VP of Student Affairs, said the presence of a white Republican near black students made for a "collision of experience" that Mr. Hinkle was "na•ve" not to realize.

While Mr. Hinkle takes his battle to court, the blogosphere stands firmly behind him. Erin Conner (erinconner.org) noted that "in a perfect world, it would not be Hinkle who was sentenced to apologize, but the students and admins who have been hounding him." Donald Sensing (donaldsensing.com) wrote-under a "Stalinists rule at Cal Poly" headline-that "sadly, although this kind of ordeal is unusual in American universities, it is not very unusual. The complete destruction of most American post-secondary education is almost accomplished." InstaPundit, Volokh Conspiracy, and other popular blogs linked to the story.


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