Cause For Hope?

Is it possible that Janet Reno will lose Florida’s gubernatorial primary, putting Jeb Bush’s job in play and ending an unbroken career of disastrous bungling?

Apparently so; her opponent has pulled virtually even, with a week to go. Reno’s popularity has posed a serious problem for those of us who would like to think that the voters have at least some vague idea of what they’re doing.

I suppose Republicans must be emotionally torn about this race; for Democrats, her defeat would be the source of pure, unalloyed joy.

And, speaking of Democrats I’d love to see lose, at a party this weekend I ran into a Very Big Wheel in Los Angeles Democratic politics, who told me (and anyone else who would listen) that he was trying to get Dick Riordan to run as a write-in candidate against Gray Davis and Simple Simon, and that if that didn’t work he was going to vote for Simon. (I have no reason to think he wouldn’t want his name used — I barely know him, so I presume he’s not keeping it close — but I haven’t seen this in the newspapers, so I’m suppressing his name just in case he’s keeping his role somewhat quiet. His reputation is as a savvy power player, slightly on the conservative side for an LA Democrat.)

I had already pretty much decided to vote for Simon as a protest gesture against Davis’s government-by-fundraiser and his subservience to the prison guards’ union on all criminal-justice issues, on the theory that Simon was sure to lose. But the politico said that even a Simon victory would be better for social-services budgets than four more years of the Gray Ghost. I can’t believe that’s literally true, but it’s a measure of just how mad some people are. Hard to believe that Riordan would really try it, but if he did things could get interesting.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

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