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May 25, 2005

Draft Warren

"It's become time to define a Schwarzenegger Republican. A Schwarzenegger Republican is a Bush Republican who says he's a Schwarzenegger Republican."


That's Warren Beatty giving the commencement speech at the Berkeley School of Public Policy. I consider myself something of a sucker for good oration. And indeed, I've got the speech compendiums to prove it. But even I was blown away by Beatty's address, it's masterful. And you know what? His equivocation is crap, the guy wants to run for governor. You don't offer a 5-point plan for better public policy if you don't. You don't spend the time, and work with the writers, to craft an address like this if you don't want to enter the ring.

Maybe, in the end, this is the way forward for California Democrats -- fight glamour with glamour, Maria Shriver with Annette Benning, and the Terminator with Bulworth. Pit Arnold against a fellow star who publicly demands clean financing of elections, Medicare for all, and a fairer tax code. A few days ago, I would've laughed the idea off. That was before I read Beatty's speech. Now, hell, sign me up as a staffer.

I like Phil Angelides -- believe me, I do. Unfortunately, I think Arnold will stomp him. Our nerdy treasurer against California's governator just isn't a fair fight. Beatty vs. Schwarzenegger is. Because given the choice between a conservative action hero and a liberal bureaucrat, Californians will gravitate towards the cameras. But even up the star power and refocus the election on ideology and they'll choose the progressive every time.

Beatty's trying to make waves. That speech was covered in cameras because a rumor, somehow, was started that he would announce his candidacy. So why play coy? My guess (and I'll be open source about it) is Beatty's fishing for a draft movement, much as Arnold and Clark did. But you know what? After reading that speech, I'm moved to start one. Beatty's argument is downright inspiring and, to be honest, it's been far too long since I've been inspired. More to the point, his star power could put some real momentum behind some truly progressive ideas, and restore California's rightful place as the progressive cauldron of the country.

Now, I am, unfortunately, a busy guy lately. I can do a lot of the writing and content delivery, but building the site, keeping it constantly updated, and so forth is more than I can take on. Later today, I'd like to register the web address http://www.draftwarren.com, but only if I've got some folks able to help me make something of it. I'm talking web designers in particular, but also California politicos willing and able to write, collect news articles, and generally push this forward. If you've got the skills to help, read the speech (most of it is excerpted after the jump, full text can be found here, video here) and, if you're moved to pitch in, let me know.

---------------------------
I'll repeat I wanted to be rooting for Arnold, but he'd have to take some of that bombastic marketing and market the right thing — telling rich people like me the truth: that with a state debt of $18 billion caused by energy deregulation and the dot-com bust, our taxes are going to have to be a little higher on the rich. No matter what that group of advisors say. And maybe only temporarily. Which is what both Ronald Reagan and Pete Wilson did.

And tell them, Governor, just as your advisor Warren Buffet told you before you told him to be quiet and do 500 sit-ups, that Proposition 13 has to tax businesses the same as homeowners, and that'd raise about $5 billion a year. It won't make business leave California. And that the Bush tax cuts for the upper 1 percent in California alone amount to about $12 billion a year, so what's the point of ruling out all new taxes on the rich other than to make sure they continue to finance your nonstop campaign advertising?

And what is the sense in running to Wall Street and borrowing $15 billion, raising the debt to over $30 billion, and then coming back here and trying to cut programs and obligations to nurses, firemen, teachers, cops, students, schools, the elderly, the blind and disabled, and then denigrating these good people as special interests? Please. These are the people you should be especially interested in.

We are not the governor's dumbbells.
...
It's not fooling anybody for him to run around raising money from Wall Street and K Street and rich Republicans all over the country who hope that if they can get this reactionary stuff started in California, they can get it done back in their own states and actually dismantle the New Deal, which they simplemindedly forget saved American capitalism, and then they can dismantle the fair deal, the new frontier, and the Great Society and the entitlements and the rights and the guarantees that make the society safe for everyone including the rich.
...
Now this is what I call good advice. I'd like to help. So imagine my chagrin when on television Arnold expresses reluctance to listen to my advice. He said to Chris Matthews that if I promise not to give him advice on politics, he'll promise not to give me advice on acting.

I can only advise him at this point that if politics and acting are both off the table, we are left only with hair and makeup. And you know? I don't want to give him advice on that.

But I can advise on cosmetics and cover-ups in the makeup of American politics. The base that is used to constantly conceal the mistakes and the mischief in the misanthropic agenda.

As a public-policy dermatologist, you might advise that just a couple of minutes a day of sunlight would be more than helpful. And you might cut down on the photo-ops, the fake events, the fake issues, the fake crowds, the backdrops, the signs, the distractions, the scapegoats, the "language problems," the broken promises, the minutemen, the prevarications and put some sunlight on some taxes.
...
Bipartisanship?? We don't have it here. And let's not mistake the exploitation of the name of one of the greatest liberal families in American history for bipartisanship. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Governor, you're no Kennedy Democrat.

Stop trying to milk the illusion of bi-partisanship. You are a conservative Republican who likes to have a few Democrats around for show. This is good advice.

Do I think Arnold will eventually take it? I think so.

Of course he can joke that I want to defend the nurses because I'm closer to needing one, and the elderly because I'm nearer to being one, and the blind because I can't see past tax-and-spend liberalism. And then I can joke that he should defend the teachers because he has so much to learn, but finally it's not funny.

Government is not a joke, and despite what he's said, it's not a movie.
...
Good public policy for our economy, our culture and our safety will never fully exist without:

First, public financing of elections.

Second, assuring the separation of church and state.

Third, creating a single-payer universal health care system: Medicare for all.

Fourth, facing the value to the rich and the rest of a just redistribution of our enormous wealth with our tax policy. Concern for the unfortunate is not socialism.

And fifth: moderating against the dangers of the muscular utopianism of an empire that imposes what some call democracy on places in the world where it cannot be sustained and will lead to American decline.

Good public policy in a social democracy declares that might does not make right. Denial of this leads to totalitarianism, communism or fascism. Our silence is an anti-inflammatory, a steroid for bullies.

Bullies are basically cowards.

I say, inflame. Inflame yourself. Inflammation mobilizes. Enjoy the sound of your own voice. With humility, with affection for those who are in the dark.

With democracy, in this most formidable state, the world's fifth-largest economy, California's public opinion can be the beacon of public opinion in America. With democracy, because we are in this moment the mightiest country of all time — the power of American public opinion to guide its government may be the rescue of the human race.

May 25, 2005 in California | Permalink

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Draft Warren:

» Draft Warren from Shakespeare's Sister
Okay, after being a bit dubious about a possible run for California governor by Warren Beatty, Ezra’s convinced me. Let’s draft him and get the Gropinator the fuck outta there... [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2005 4:44:28 PM

» The State of California from Get Your Blog Up
Unless things change quickly, Arnold is pretty much done in the state of California. While he seems to have bottomed out his approval rating (at 40%)... [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2005 4:57:37 PM

» It Is A Tumor from The Talent Show
Though I'm not as enthusiastic as Ezra, I've gotta say that Warren Beatty's speech the other day was very impressive. Not only are his ideas right on, but it's full of long-overdue jabs at Arnold Schwarzenegger :I've never enjoyed being... [Read More]

Tracked on May 27, 2005 4:09:01 PM

» Warren Beatty Speech at Berkeley Spawns Draft Beatty for Governor Effort from Calstuff: News.Observations
Famed actor Warren Beatty gave a very well received speech before the Goldman School of Public Policy for their graduation. The speech attracted much media attention because of the sharp criticisms of Governor Schwarzenegger and the hints it provided t... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 9, 2005 10:28:35 AM

Comments

what a great and interesting idea!!!!!i enjoy read ing your wonderful ideas, ezra!!!!!

Posted by: jacqueline | May 25, 2005 4:47:11 PM

I'm greatly impressed with your willingness to take action, moving beyond mere words - although your words in this case truly reflect that your are a thoughtful and passionate believer in a better country.

Certainly, the Terminator has done a lot of terminating of California's dreams and actions for progessive improvement of society.

It is also obvious that no currently elected Democrat in CA has the heft to defeat even a now-weakened Arnold.

We should have no prejudice against choosing a person to run against Arnold because they don't have a history of successful runs for public office. Jon Corzine, US Senator from NJ, is a good example of a highly effective holder of office who came from the private sector. There are many others in our past history.

Thanks for your example of committment to a better America.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | May 25, 2005 4:55:26 PM

That was really confusing- I hit the jump without reading your paragraph about excerpting the speech, and after hitting the button there is no delineation-suddenly you were sounding like Warren Beatty. I was getting inspired by your writing. Draft Ezra!
(Of course, I didn't understand why you were suddenly calling yourself a rich guy.)

Posted by: SP | May 25, 2005 6:17:41 PM

Unfortunately, I can't offer anything in the website design arena, but I sure hope some folks come forward.

I agree that a "Draft Warren" movement is viable, though it is necessary to recognize that drafts are unpredictable. Also, given the seemingly bottomless incompetence of the news media, it is difficult to predict the media's portrayal of a candidate, and the candidate's adroitness in reacting thereto.

All that said, I share your assessment that Angelides, with whom I've had some contact and whom I greatly respect, has no very little chance against Ahnuld. Were Phil contemplating a run against Dukemejian, maybe, but otherwise, it ain't gonna work.

I think Beatty's a credible alternative, so I urge you to go for it.

p.s. After 30 years in CA, I now live in Oregon, so this post is likely the extent of my contribution.

Posted by: NixonWatch | May 26, 2005 4:22:55 AM

Yeah, somebody please draft Warren Ellis. (www.warrenellis.com). Sure he's English, but I love to hear a debate 'tween he and the Governator.

Posted by: John I | May 26, 2005 11:34:17 AM

Beatty has been a star for a longer time than Ahnold, even. If he were seriously interested in politics you'd think he'd have done something about it sooner.

Posted by: NJG from NYC | May 26, 2005 3:35:03 PM

Beatty has been interested in politics far longer than Ahnold has. During the 1998-99 primary season, he was even making overtures that he was considering a presidential run--formed an exploratory committee and everything. Eventually decided not to do it, but I certainly would've supported him if he did. He may be an actor, but he's a smart one, and I think the election of Arnold proved that bread and circuses will always be more important than policy.

I think CA gov. is a great place for Beatty to start, and I've hoped for a bit that he would jump in. Go for it Ezra!

Posted by: BJ Chavez | May 26, 2005 4:31:29 PM

What do people really think Warren's chances are in light of his notorious sexual escapades?
His speech was tremendous and smart and savvy and to the point - I just would hate to work desperately hard to get him to run and have him not be able to carry the state --- leaving it in Republican hands.

Posted by: j. bryant | May 30, 2005 6:38:45 AM

Warren Buffet made all his money by raping the american worker. He bought my company then stripped all retiree medical if you were not 40. 40 is a “protected” age. I had worked for the company for 14 years but was not 40 by Jan. 1 2004 so I lost essentially $500 to $1000 dollars per month. He gives 37 billion to Africa but fucks his American workers in the ass!!!

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