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Adios, Arianna

The Weekly has learned that conservative-turned-liberal commentator Arianna Huffington will end her campaign for the governorship tonight, announcing her decision on CNN’s Larry King Live. In recent days, as the front-running status of Arnold Schwarzenegger has become more apparent to most, Huffington has been beseeched by a number of her Westside friends to end what they see as a potential “spoiling” role. Prominent among these friends is actor/director/producer Warren Beatty, the erstwhile cinematic Bulworth, who has been advising Huffington extensively of late. Bulworth, as you will recall, is the award-winning 1998 film about a disconsolate U.S. senator from California who, after taking out a contract on his own life in the midst of an empty campaign for re-election, starts rapping about the truth of the rampant corruption of contemporary big-money politics.

Unbeknownst to Huffington and most in California politics, Beatty has in fact been serving for several months as a confidential adviser to that most un-Bulworthian of politicians, Governor Gray Davis.

While Huffington will be coming out against the recall and against Schwarzenegger, the moderate Republican whom Huffington sees as the California coming of George W. Bush, she will not be endorsing her rival in the recall race, Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, though she had strongly considered it. Since Huffington savaged Bustamante for laundering millions of dollars in huge Indian casino contributions into his ailing gubernatorial campaign, that would not have been easy to explain.

Huffington may also have some difficulty explaining her changing position on the recall itself. In a column published before her surprise entry into the governor’s race, Huffington looked with favor on the recall, despite the right-wing fingerprints on its origins. But after entering the race, she came out against the recall. Later in her campaign, she endorsed the recall. Now she will again be opposed to the recall.