George F. Will, the respected dean of Washington conservative columnists, has written a singularly dyspeptic column on the California recall election. He advises truly conservative Californians to "vote against the recall to protest its plebiscitary cynicism (and as a precaution find a conservative candidate from the list)." He goes on to hope for Governor Davis to be muscled into resignation, which, Mr. Will theorizes, might "deflate" the recall and permit Lt. Gov. Bustamante to become both acting and then actual governor -- with all the problems that will entail. This, Mr. Will suggests, would be "condign punishment" for the Democratic Party.
Mr. Will completes his trifecta of punitive aspirations with the following slap: "California's Republican Party, sunk in frivolousness and opportunism, also deserves to come out of this badly. That is conservatism's hope for this recall: ruin all round." This is certainly Old Testament conservatism: A wrathful god (in this case George F. Will) casting plagues on the houses of all humanity. In "California According to Will," Election Day would be followed promptly by locusts, frogs, boils and floods. Suffer, ye California sinners, suffer.
As a former Californian, I have always thought that East Coasters seem particularly small and provincial when they lampoon or chastise the Golden State. I suppose such attitudes are driven by fear of, and envy for, the sheer vivacity of California life. But as a conservative and fellow citizen (Californians are also Americans, I would remind my fellow Washington pundits), I take the recall seriously. Of course, one would have to have a heart of stone not to giggle at an election ballot roster that includes a paralyzed pornography distributor who is presumably numb below the waist, two Arnolds -- one a midget, the other a former Mr. Universe, a socialite heiress who sounds like Zsa-Zsa Gabor and thinks like Huey Long, a blonde porno star who pouts her lascivious lips on cue for the news cameras, and a Lt. Governor whose only previous national attention was gained by using in a public speech the "N" word to describe African-Americans.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.