Debra J. Saunders

Practically everyone is telling voters they shouldn't have to pay a higher car tax. As soon as he announced he was a gubernatorial candidate, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante said he'd eliminate the car-tax increase -- although he later stipulated he would keep the car tax for expensive cars. GOP state Sen. Tom McClintock pledged to dump the car tax, too.

Even Gray Davis has said he opposes the tax hike -- despite the fact that his own finance director instigated it. Davis aides are quick to point out that Davis had proposed a budget with different tax hikes, but state lawmakers rejected it.

So Davis, the Assembly and Senate ended up passing a package that piles debt on debt. "They're wrong legally,'' said Harold Johnson of the Pacific Legal Foundation, which is suing to stop billions in deficit bonds, "but they also ought to be ashamed of themselves."

At Tuesday's press conference, journalists from around the world muttered about what a joke the recall election is. Apparently, many believe that they are too good for this story, even though they can't tear themselves away from it.

When comedian Dana Carvey interrupted the press conference for an unwelcome comedic riff, one journalist shot barked, "Is this an election or a circus?''

The answer is: This is an election. The circus is in Sacramento.

The question is: Does Arnold Schwarzenegger want to be another circus act -- like Davis and state lawmakers -- or will he say what Californians need to hear, knowing full well that there are no applause lines?

Debra J. Saunders

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