Virginia Postrel makes a reasonable case — not necessarily a correct one, but certainly a reasonable one — that the populist nonsense Cruz Bustamante is spouting about economics suggests that he might make a worse governor even than Gray Davis. [*]
But, accepting that claim as true for the purposes of argument, the practical conclusion she draws from it — that Democrats should vote “No” on Round I and blank Round II — doesn’t follow. There may be a case for Democrats to vote “No” on Round I. But blanking Round II would be an act of utter irresponsibility, like a vote for Nader in 2000. The Round II vote is relevant only if, as still seems likely, Davis gets the boot in Round I. In that case, the question isn’t Bustamante vs. Davis: it’s Bustamante vs. Schwarzenegger.
If Virginia or anyone else can put together a coherent argument that Bustamante would be worse than Schwarzenegger, I’m all ears. But that case would need to address what we know about Schwarzenegger: the incoherence of his fiscal positions and the bankruptcy that would result if he were elected and kept his promises, his unwillingness to answer questions, his almost immediate breach of the promises he made forgo special-interest money and personal attacks, his utter ignorance of state government and contempt for those who do understand it, the profile in cowardice he showed on the Waldheim matter, his associations with the racists around Pete Wilson and the crooks around Chuck Quackenbush.
And, yes, his unspeakable vulgarity, as expressed in his movies, his Hummer, and his relationships with women (and, apparently, with girls).
I’m going to take some convincing.