And how did the media miss the contradiction? There were, after all, many other reporters on hand for Schwarzenegger’s Commonwealth Club speech. Can you say starstruck? Lack of memory is a factor, too.
Schwarzenegger is re-emerging from the shadows of his own campaign this week with his first economic-policy summit, his first TV ad, a private interview with the California Teachers Association, and a debate challenge to Davis, which the governor has turned down. Where’s he been, anyway?
“A lot of time I’ve been at the house,” he tells the Weekly in a brief conversation, “meeting with leading economists, educators, water and power experts, you name it.” Once up to speed, Schwarzenegger says he will hold more policy forums and do “house meetings in low-income areas” along with more traditional campaign stumping.
Not a moment too soon.
Schwarzenegger was not the only one to have a rocky week. The once-unified Democratic strategy is swiftly devolving into a bitter internecine struggle between Davis and Bustamante, with Bustamante oddly using a shaky, mostly specifics-free appearance last Sunday on Meet the Press to get into a pissing match with the governor’s aides for allegedly blocking his fund-raising efforts. (Officially, the Davisites deny it; unofficially, they confirm it.) It’s all very seamy and not at all gubernatorial, complain worried Democrats.
Arianna Huffington ran into real trouble, too. The conservative-turned-progressive commentator is running as an independent backed mainly by Democrats. The debate over her paying no income taxes dominated her week. Huffington was shelled in a Beverly Hills press conference where she’d intended to focus on her effort to link Schwarzenegger with President Bush and Enron, an effort based in part on a misconstruing of the Weekly’s power-crisis reporting of 2001.
The Weeklyrevealed at the time that Enron chief Ken Lay had pitched a group of prominent Angelenos at a Beverly Hills hotel in a bid to enlist their support for energy deregulation. Nothing seemed to have come from it. Huffington portrayed this as a secret meeting between Lay and Schwarzenegger, leaving out the 20 or so other people in attendance, many of them invited by Huffington’s good friend former L.A. Mayor Dick Riordan.
In the course of this, Huffington wrote a speech which, in the uproar over her taxes, went by the boards after she shared it with columnist friend Joe Conason, who published part of it on Salon.com. In it, she blamed the power crisis on Bush rather than Davis.
If only it were so. Bush wasn’t even president when the power crisis started, and as detailed here, Davis’ mistakes were early, varied and many.