Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sometimes The Obvious Escapes Us

When an opportunity to secure victory is at hand, those who ultimately win know what to do and when to do it. Still, sometimes defeat occurs, and later the loser slaps himself in the forehead and says something resembling "Wow--I could have had a V-8." It's the "I shoulda said" feeling you have after losing an argument that you could have won if only you hadn't forgotten one of your best arguments.

Such a defeat could be in the making in the California gubernatorial and senatorial elections. Although the races are close (Meg Whitman is within striking distance for governor, and Carly Fiorina is slightly ahead in her senatorial race, though within the margin of error). I kept scratching my head trying to figure what issue would energize five percent or more of the California electorate in favor of the Republican candidate, thus closing the gap and securing victory. I had that "aha!" moment during an interview highlighting Carly Fiorina and her campaign.

Whitman and Fiorina have both hammered at the most important issue of the day--the economy. Democrat responses in both races are utterly ridiculous. Brown and Boxer both have that advantage of inertia and the foolish idea that "you go with what you know." But nobody believes that liberal Democrats have the economic answers except their hardcore enthusiasts and fellow arrogant loonies. The traditional Democrats are going to vote a little less Democratic this time, and the traditional Republicans are going to vote a little more Republican this time. The inertia helps the Democrats with the independents, but the unemployment rate helps the Republicans. That's why the races are so close.

And here's where the obvious escaped Whitman and to a lesser extent, Fiorina (and me, of course). There are two huge groups of people who have been largely ignored, except for a passing remark by Fiorina commenting on what is essentially a footnote in her campaign. It was that remark that caused me my "V-8 moment." How could we have missed this? The two groups are the farm owners and the farm laborers. Normally the former would be voting somewhat Republican and the latter, larger group, would be voting somewhat Democratic.

Unemployment in California is at about 12.5% officially, but those are labor statistics with strict rules. In fact, it's closer to 17% when you count business owners who have lost their businesses and laborers who have lost their unemployment benefits or have simply given up looking for work. A huge percentage of those people live in the California Central Valley where farm bankruptcies set new records each month, and unemployment is closer to 35%. Yes, you read that right--35%.

So what was Fiorina's remark that caused me to kick myself in the rear end and wonder how it has been left out of the debates and the campaign ads? Fiorina said: "I would turn the water on." If you don't know what I'm talking about, go here before reading on: Meet The Fish That Conquered California.

Even in its current abysmal state, California is still the most productive agricultural state in the union, though one more year of drought and it could drop out of the running entirely. There's plenty of rain, snow and water to feed the thirsting farms, but the spigots are turned off to protect a damned fish that a few eco-freaks have decided must be protected at the cost of human lives and economic prosperity. Immense holes in unemployment and state deficits could be filled with the simple act of opening up those spigots, turning on those pumps, ceasing the idiotic act of letting all that water flow back into the ocean, and telling the environmental wackos that they can stick the Delta smelt up their wazoos.

The worst part is that the Delta smelt was dying out naturally. It serves no known purpose in the ecosystem. If it disappeared tomorrow, the environment wouldn't be affected one iota. But a small group of extremists and the state and federal environmental "protection" agencies are protecting the useless fish anyway. Even if that miserable fish had some small effect on the ecosystem, how does that compare with the loss of human jobs, lives and endeavor? This is what happens when green weenie Democrats get into power and turn government, logic and the human factor over to mindless, faceless bureaucrats and headline-grabbing eco-terrorists.

When I wrote the original article concerning the Delta smelt, I still lived in my ivory tower in San Francisco. The whole thing smelled (pardon the pun), and from a purely scientific and political point of view, the crazed reasoning of the ecoweenies made zero sense to me. That was all very unemotional and reasoned on my part. But in June of this year, I moved into the heartland of California--to Kern County (mentioned prominently in the original article). Although I live in the high desert, even we are somewhat affected by this problem. The biggest non-industrial activity in the area is herds of cows and horses, and those activities are down with less water for the animals. But I frequently go into Bakersfield, and on the way I see the dry, deserted fields that used to produce bumper crops for the world. I see empty farmhouses. When I get into Bakersfield, I see foreclosures galore and a depressed city previously thriving largely from agriculture and oil (they killed the oil industry here decades ago). My viewpoint is no longer reserved or abstract. I see the human misery up-close and personal.

Both Republican candidates had (and still have) an opportunity to pick up the votes that would assure victory. But minimal debating points and casual references to this immense problem have not and will not sway those vital voters. Neither candidate has made this a jewel in the crown of her campaign strategy. That was a tragic mistake. Never mind all the socialist nonsense about the forgotten man. The forgotten men (and women) are those farmers and farm workers who are waiting for someone to promise firmly that the water will be turned on, the farms will be fertile once more, and those damned fish will be ground up into fertilizer for the greatest agricultural land on earth.


Tennessee Jed said...

So Hawk, do you think it is too late? How can this message get hammered home over the last week? Great picture BTW! :-D

Unknown said...

Tennessee: As for the election, it's not too late, but it's close. It wouldn't take much to put up pictures of the vast expanses of dust and withered crops. Or the signs along the highways that say "drought courtesy of Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer." A single strong statement accompanying the pictures could clinch it: "If you elect me, I'll turn on the water and turn the Golden State green again."

As for the farmlands, there's still time. The early rains have started, and the rivers that don't depend on the Delta water are starting to flow. But another hot summer with no water from the California Aqueduct and the California Water Project, and it could take decades to undo the damage. Infrastructure needs serious work from the lack of use, and the new canals that were supposed to be built to carry the extra water needed have been postponed. It's a disaster of epic proportions. And it's all so unnecessary.

If California's agriculture dies, California dies. The state can't support its urban welfare masses by building hydrogen-cell ecomobiles, and even legalized marijuana can't save the state if there's no water for the crops. The only upside to the whole mess is that illegal immigration has fallen off outside the sanctuary cities because there are no farms and no crops to work.

AndrewPrice said...

This fish thing reminds me of the problem with multiple layers of responsibility. The state people can claim they're being forced to act by the Feds. The federal politicians claim either that it's a state matter, or they blame some faceless bureaucrat over whom they claim to have no control. Thus, it becomes no one's fault, and they get away with this policy without being hit by the blame.

Whitman and Fiorina should be pounding away on this, linking it to the Democrats generally -- they control both the Federal government and (effectively) the state, and it was their policies that caused this.

I understand they don't want to be considered anti-environmental extremists, but they should learn to cast this in terms of the human cost and the absolutism of the environmental action -- without any thought ever given to an alternative.

Joel Farnham said...


I hear you, Fiorina hit that last night on Hannity.

Also, I perused Redstate. I found this.

It isn't Nov 3, so it is too soon to celebrate, but this helped me feel better after reading. I had seen some really odd polls over the last three days.

This election is going to rely on two things. Poll watchers and turn out.

Ponderosa said...

"Let let the [dam] water flow!"

It works on several great levels.
If Whitman listens - it will tip the balance.

Well in any other state.

So, from a strictly political, albeit pessimistic, POV...why does the GOP even want the governor's seat? The legislature will still be in the hands of the unions...umm democrats.

What can be done if the people don't want to be helped?

In some ways - the situation in Cali reminds me of Fenty's defeat in DC.

Things are not bad enough to take a different path

Unknown said...

Andrew: You have the core of the issue. It isn't anti-environmentalism, it's pro-human. The ads I'm suggesting would only have to be played from Fresno to Bakersfield (essentially, the entire San Joaquin/Central Valley. They would have no effect in the cities or the northern cow counties, but would get the millions of central California voters to the polls. Even the liberal judge who is reviewing the matter asked multiple questions about weighing the costs of human misery against the survival of a single species of fish.

Unknown said...

Joel: The two races are just too close to call. Which is what prompted me to write the article. The current dictum for us is "if we win big, they can't cheat." A narrow victory for either Whitman or Fiorina will result in the Democrats holding the seats. The entire machinery of elections is controlled by crooked Democratic officials, leftist judges and union goons, enabled by weak-sister Republicans. A re-count means six more years of Boxer and four more years of Moonbeam Brown. The Central Valley could provide that big win.

Unknown said...

Ponderosa: California politics are both complicated and volatile. It hasn't been that long since the Republicans and Democrats were about even. The welfare/Eurosocialist masses have had their way for a couple decades, but their margin is thin and their hold is weak. California is not nearly as blue as the MSM would have it. Many of the Democrats that form the majority in the legislature are moderate-conservatives elected in districts in the selfsame heartland we've been discussing today. A strong Whitman win, combined with a victory to retain the new non-partisan panel that will redistrict the state could change the formula overnight. LA, San Francisco and Sacramento get all the publicity, and the point of my article is that Republican candidates have bought into that mindset and have forgotten that about half the population of the state is not in those leftist, multi-culti, centers of self-destruction.

That said, I really like your suggested slogan: "Let the dam water flow!?"

Ponderosa said...

It’s pathetic.
They are using the same types of BS against Buck, Tanc, etc. here in CO and across the nation.
It does move the needle but not for long.

Hey! If I can’t find a job I can always get an abortion. Wooohooo! Cold comfort.

I feel better about California now. It isn’t the people but a failure of leadership.
I know better - bad Ponderosa. actor married to a Kennedy vs. a CEO.
Hmmm…perhaps experience should be a factor?


Unknown said...

Ponderosa: You and Andrew are stuck with the one thing we didn't get hit with this time--spoilers. The gubernatorial and senate races here are clear choices between the two major party candidates. In your state, Tancredo would probably be the hands-down winner but for the strange candidate field you have. The Republican honchos rejected him, he came out of nowhere with a third-party candidacy, and he's now barely trailing the Democrat. Tancredo has too much of the zealot in him for my taste, but he has obviously struck a nerve. I just hope the Republican establishment and the third-party candidacy don't hand the election to the Democrat.

No matter how this national election turns out, we are certainly in for the most interesting election year I've experienced in decades.

StanH said...

Wow! Fiorina and Whitman, two incredibly bright and successful women, need to hit this hard and heavy, unless deep down inside they agree with the policy? I hope that’s not the case for your sake Lawhawk, but this is California.

Unknown said...

Stan: What records there are to peruse show that both Whitman and Fiorina are sensible about the environment without any hint of the Druidism that infects the Democrats. Nobody here wants to return the days of smog so thick you could cut it with a knife, but both Republicans know that continuing to clean up the air and protecting the environment don't mean that we have to move back into caves and commune with the animals. The Bible tells us to be good stewards of the earth, not victims of it.

StanH said...

Sounds reasonable. As business people they understand the bottom line, and will hopefully bring some of that common sense too their elected positions. From afar, I had hoped Arnold would have brought some sanity to Sacramento, boy! …was that wrong. Perhaps the fact that he was of Hollywood, being a phony came naturally.

Unknown said...

Stan: The other aspect is that when you run a tough, competitive business, you have to risk doing unpopular things and having people dislike you. In Hollywood, it's all about popularity and going with the flow. Schwarzenegger started out with some good ideas, and the moment his popularity started to drop, he reinvented himself. From Conan the Barbarian to Conan the Librarian overnight. One big defeat, and he cut and ran to the Demo sidelines.

The anti-Whitman, anti-Fiorina hit pieces all involve them firing employees, "outsourcing" (read: hiring non-union employees who will do a good job for reasonable pay) and, God help us all, getting rich off the backs of the poor. Pure, socialist, egalitarian crap. But the ignorati eat it up.

None of their ads, however, can point to a single non-government job that they've ever created or a reduction of non-productive employment rolls. "Efficiency and profit" are not exactly watchwords for the left.

Individualist said...


If it exists in California, the state Republican organization should run ad capmpaigns urging people to vote Republican expressing the absurdity of the end of agriculture in California.

I am not clear as to how to put the message other than it should incorporate the Dr. Dimento song

"Fish Heads Fish Heads, roly poly Fish heads, eat them up yum...."

Tehachapi Tom said...

Well Hawk you are right on again. Kern County is financially fueled by oil and agriculture. An interesting stat is even now Kern County is the largest oil producing county in the lower 48 states. Kern County is a leader in the production of cotton, almonds, grapes and citrus with many items on the produce table. Here in Tehachapi for instance apples, stone fruit carrots and other varieties of produce for the table are grown in abundance. However a drive North on the Interstate 5 will show huge expanses of what was once productive orchards but is now row upon row, orchard upon orchard of dead trees.

In the last ten years our federal government is responsible for us falling from the wealthiest middle class country in the world to seventh place behind even France. Our State leaders seem to want the same for our, once most desirable to live in, state to some lower place in the hierarchy below Arkansas or WDC it's self which produces nothing. Lets hope and pray that common sense can prevail in the upcoming election.
We need a Common Sense Coalition party, at least that name is illustrative of the need.

Unknown said...

Tehachapi Tom: I stand corrected. I see so many abandoned oil rigs and derricks that I had assumed the industry was dead. Thanks for the correction.

As for the parties, I just can't be firm about how this is going to shake out. I do know that if the Republicans take the House and possibly the Senate, they will make the mistake of thinking it's a Republican revolution. No, it's voter dissatisfaction. The Republicans will have to prove themselves, or it will go right back the other way. There is moderate-conservative anger out there, and if the traditional two parties don't address it properly, we're in for a very bumpy ride over the next few decades. Whether it's a third party, or a realignment within the existing parties, something's gotta give.

Unknown said...

Individualist: How did I miss that one? "Fish Heads" has one of the most irritatingly catchy sounds imaginable, and it would certainly get attention. LOL I know that if Whitman and Fiorina would do a last-minute blitz on just the Fresno and Bakersfield TV channels, they would pick up votes like mad. You know that I'm a political junkie, and even given that, I wasn't sure where either of them stood on the water issue until I heard that brief Fiorina blurb. If I didn't know, I can assure you that hundreds of thousands of others still don't know.

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