Susan Estrich, Professor of Sexual Discrimination Law at USC, author of “Sex and Power” and “Real Rape,” national campaign manager for Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, offers her views on the L.A. Times’ late stories about Arnold.
Exactly as L.A. liberal pundit Mickey Kaus predicted on October 1st, the L.A. Times launched its biggest salvo against Arnold on October 2nd. Estrich shares her opinion in today’s Times:
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What this story accomplishes is less an attack on Schwarzenegger than a smear on the press. It reaffirms everything that’s wrong with the political process. Anonymous charges from years ago made in the closing days of a campaign undermine fair politics.
Facing these charges, a candidate has two choices. If he denies them, the story keeps building and overshadows everything else he does. Schwarzenegger’s bold apology is a gamble to make the story go away. It may or may not work.
But here’s my prediction, as a Californian: It’s too late for the Los Angeles Times’ charges to have much impact. People have made up their minds. This attack, coming as late as it does, from a newspaper that has been acting more like a cheerleader for Gray Davis than an objective source of information, will be dismissed by most people as more Davis-like dirty politics. Is this the worst they could come up with? Ho-hum. After what we’ve been through?
To his credit, Schwarzenegger apologized for “behaving badly.” So should the Los Angeles Times.