"A little rebellion now and then is a good thing." -- Thomas Jefferson
GEORGETOWN, S.C. -- Usually, when I come to the beach for a short summer respite, I bring along a good novel or two -- something to entertain, maybe a mystery or a thriller. This week on the beach, I'm leaving the novels in the house, for they simply do not provide as much entertainment as the news coming out of California.
For political spectators, it just doesn't get any better than this. The most populous state in the nation -- with a reputation for setting political trends -- will hold an election this fall to potentially recall their arrogant and universally unpopular governor, Gray Davis. And, if they do, they'll replace him with one of the more than 120 candidates who are considering or already committed to running.
Davis, once hyped as a rising star of the Democrat Party, before his narrow re-election in 2002, was considered to be presidential timber. Today, Hollywood film stars, political power brokers and big money moguls are all scratching their heads trying to figure out what happened to Gray Davis. It's a regular "Whodunit," and there is no script for this pilot. Apparently, even the odds makers in Las Vegas have taken a pass on this one.
The last, and only, governor to be recalled was North Dakota's Lynn Frazier in 1921, who, like Davis, led his state into economic chaos. Will California make the Gray man number two in this pantheon of political luminaries?
If Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger threw his hat in the ring, it would almost surely happen. The Terminator has been toying with the idea of political office for years, and a special election, with the state in crisis, would be a natural for somebody with 100 percent name I.D. And Schwarzenegger, a native of Austria, could easily dismiss the charges of opportunism, claiming his only desire is to solve California's problems, because he is constitutionally barred from using the governor's mansion to seek the presidency.
But Schwarzenegger has a problem. He's married to Maria Shriver of the Kennedy political dynasty and is reportedly being told by his bride that making movies is fine, but don't think you can enter the "family business."
Not that that would leave a shortage of candidates on the Republican side. Former Los Angeles Mayor Dick Riordan says he may run if Arnold doesn't. Rep. Darrell Issa, who funded part of the recall effort from his own pocket, wants the job. Bill Simon, who narrowly lost to Davis, has filed papers, and state Sen. Tom McClintock is testing the water.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.