Sunday, October 05, 2003

Trial By Media

I have to hand it to Gray Davis and the Democratic Party; this time they've really outdone themselves in the dirty tricks department. But weren't they the ones screaming "it's only sex!" when a certain president was facing trial (as opposed to being merely accused of the odd grope) for sexual harrassment? Talk about double standards.

SAN DIEGO/PLEASANTON, Calif. (Reuters) - California Gov. Gray Davis charged into the final stage of the state's wild recall battle on Sunday energized by charges of sexism and Nazi sympathies against Arnold Schwarzenegger, his chief rival for the state's top job.

What began as a grass roots protest over Davis' handling of the state's ailing economy has become a referendum on the bodybuilder turned Hollywood star, dogged by allegations that he repeatedly groped women and admired Adolf Hitler.

Davis stopped short on Saturday of calling for a criminal investigation of the former Mr. Universe, but warned a women's forum in Oakland, California the state may be on the verge of saddling itself with a governor with a criminal past. Groping is viewed as criminal sexual assault in California.

Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has accused Davis and others of waging ``puke politics'' and, in an interview released on Sunday by ABC, told interviewer Peter Jennings the late revelation ``is campaign trickery and it is dirty campaigning.

``Many of those things are not true. Like, for instance, I despise anything and everything that Hitler stands for.''

Davis appeared emboldened by an internal poll suggesting support for the recall -- though still just above 50 percent -- is slipping as the heat remains on Schwarzenegger, with 48 percent opposed in the poll of 500 registered voters.

While the momentum was moving in Davis' favor, the question remained whether he had enough time before Tuesday's poll to pull from behind for a victory.

``I feel good about this campaign,'' Davis told Reuters in an interview in San Diego on Saturday evening. ``Elections are always a leap of faith. ... This has been a crazy election. There have been some wild swings.''

``Mr. Schwarzenegger ... got in trouble because of his own behavior and he shouldn't look to anyone else to blame.''

This is pretty rich, coming from this most feckless and incompetent of governors! And why isn't the LA Times investigating the allegations of bad behavior by Davis that make Schwarzenegger seem like a boy scout in comparison? Could it be because they have a political agenda to serve by springing this sort of last minute surprise? The great thing about waiting till so late in the campaign to air these accusations is that the accused won't have the time required to mount a proper defense. As an act of political slander, this "exposé" has really been timed to perfection.