Ed Driscoll

How Many More Times?

…Can Lucy pull the football away from Charlie Brown?

Right around this time three years ago, James Taranto looked at the October surprise, California-style:

Columnist George Will has lived up to his future-tense name. On Sept. 4, he made this prediction about the California governor’s race:

Ken Khachigian, a veteran Republican strategist, warns that [Arnold] Schwarzenegger should brace himself for what has become the Democrats’ trademark tactic. In football it is penalized as a “late hit,” but in politics it is often rewarded with success. George W. Bush received such a hit in the final weekend of the 2000 campaign–the revelation of his drunk driving arrest 24 years earlier. That probably contributed to an unusual development: Late-deciding voters, who usually break against the incumbent party, broke for Vice President Gore in 2000.

California Republicans have experienced late hits three times in the past 11 years. In 1992 Bruce Herschensohn narrowly lost a Senate race against Barbara Boxer when it was revealed on the Friday before the election that he and his girlfriend and another couple had visited a strip club. In 1994 Michael Huffington narrowly lost a Senate race against Feinstein when, a few days before the election, it was revealed that he had hired an illegal immigrant as a nanny. In 1998 Darrell Issa–he is now a congressmen; his $1.6 million funding of the recall petition drive produced this recall election–lost a Senate primary when it was revealed that he had embellished his military record.

A late hit by the Davis campaign against Schwarzenegger cannot come so late that there is no time for another such hit, one against Davis’s other problem, Bustamante. This could get even uglier.

Sure enough, the late hit came in a more than 3,500-word report in today’s Los Angeles Times that Schwarzenegger has behaved like Davis supporter Bill Clinton.

Jim Geraghty checks in with his GOP guru to look at a decade of nationwide late hits:

Could there ever be a better time for the reassuring reappearance of the man who has been in Republican circles longer than I