PRELUDE TO A POLITICAL OBIT
By Geoff Metcalf
September 29, 2003
I've known Tom McClintock since I first moved to California in 1981. I have considered him a friend since 1992 and have spoken at fundraisers for him.
Tom is a for real Jeffersonian constitutional conservative. I have sat in his offices many times, had him as a guest on my various radio programs, and socialized with him and his wonderful family.
The blessing and curse of Tom McClintock is his rock solid adherence to his principles. Unlike most politicians he does not lie, dissemble, compromise, or weasel. However those very characteristics I admire in him as a man, husband and father, remain his tragic flaw as a politician.
Tom has a responsibility to his principles, his family, his party and the state of California. His stubbornness and ego is going to have dire consequences. The McClintock recalcitrance has exceeded the point of diminishing return. Ego and myopia reveal his hubris that has overshadowed his intellect.
Tom cannot win. Virtually every 'real' poll demonstrates his support remains solid but static. The push poll 'strokes' he has been fed are flawed samples and he 'should' know that. I honestly feel he is being ill served by his closest and most loyal inner circle that are contributing to the political and professional demise of a good man they claim to love.
However, as a leader Tom is ultimately responsible for "the welfare, discipline and tactical deployment of his troops" and he must bear blame for mistakes. And refusing to join the groundswell of support for Arnold IS an epic mistake.
The most recent Democrat poll I have seen indicates that Schwarzenegger can win (even with McClintock on the ticket). However, the margin is CLOSE (within the statistical variance of 'accuracy'). In other words, it is a dead heat between Arnold and Cruz Bustamante.
IF McClintock really cared about fixing the tragic problems he 'says' are imperative, he would join Bill Simon, Darryl Issa, Peter Uberoth and the county republican chairs and for the good of the state, the party, his political viability, AND his family, support the one man who CAN win.
His stubborn refusal to recognize reality is a personal and professional failure of epic proportion.
I have always considered Tom a smart guy. His is principled, black and white, consistent, and stubborn. However, his blind conceit will result in consequences that I fear the state and Tom McClintock cannot survive.
McClintock has a unique opportunity he has never enjoyed (and never will again) politically. His inability to recognize the extraordinary opportunity he is squandering is a great sadness.
Tom has always enjoyed solid grassroots support from core conservatives. However, he has never been able to gain traction in any of his statewide campaigns (despite an 'almost' in his last Controllers race). His failures have resulted because of his inability to reach out beyond his core, and an inability to raise money at a competitive level. Contributing to his difficulties has been a personal proclivity for (as one of his closest aids has acknowledged) "whizzing in everyone's breakfast cereal".
Politics IS the art of compromise. Compromise is anathema to McClintock…which arguably fatally handicaps him as a politician.
It is significant to note that Darryl Issa (the guy who spent over $1.6-million of his own money to empower the Recall effort) recognizes the necessity of electing Schwarzenegger. However, Tom McClintock is too blinded to recognize $2-Million from the Indian gaming interests was NOT an endorsement of McClintock but an effort to help 'their' guy (Bustamante).
Tom has acquitted himself very well on what has become the national stage. People who never heard of him now recognize his knowledge, intellect and commitment. However, some of the very important national figures that were anxious to embrace and help McClintock are about a heartbeat from orchestrating his political destruction.
Right is not always Might.
It has always been fascinating that smart people can do incredibly stupid things. There is a long list of 'smart' people doing dumb things: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Wesley Clark, and yeah…unfortunately, Tom McClintock.
© 2003 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved
"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. . Visit Geoff's Web Site: www.geoffmetcalf.com. While you're at it - pick up a copy of Geoff's latest book! E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Tom is a for real Jeffersonian constitutional conservative. I have sat in his offices many times, had him as a guest on my various radio programs, and socialized with him and his wonderful family."