Debra J. Saunders

For that, Dems already are slinging mud at Issa. "Why does Darrell Issa want to be governor? So he can grant himself pardons," laughed state Democratic bad boy Bob Mulholland. Has Issa been convicted of a crime? "I have no idea," Mulholland replied. Witness the birth of a nasty smear campaign.

Everybody but his consultants wants former Davis rival Bill Simon out of the race. Other maybes are former Los Angeles Mayor Dick Riordan, former Secretary of State Bill Jones and state Sen. Tom McClintock.

The GOP wild card is Arnold Schwarzenegger. If Ah-nold is thinking of running for governor in 2006, he'd be insane not to run now -- and skip an expensive and risky GOP primary. It's hard to imagine the Terminator not getting a quarter of the vote.

Gilliard believes the GOP will benefit from the "drop-off factor." In two 1995 Assembly recalls, a chunk of those who voted to recall skipped voting on a replacement.

Gilliard added, "Ultimately, if President Bush decided he wanted to interject himself into this, he could call people and say, 'Here's our candidate; clear the field.'"

When you lay the pieces on a game board, it's great sport. Still, it's not clear if anyone can win the game, if it's known as Sore Loser.

Debra J. Saunders

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