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The Bell Curve: Looking back to 'fireside chats'

November 03, 2010|By Joseph N. Bell

In the new order of things, Pilot columnists take a hike every fourth week as our contribution to the paper's freelance budget demands. Unfortunately, the news that provides grist for the columnists doesn't always happen on that schedule.

Like today. When I would have been able to fill a column last Thursday with election stuff, I was benched. So I decided to do that column anyway and turn it in on Wednesday, as I knew the editors would be immersed in election news and wouldn't notice.

Besides, it would serve as a late Halloween joke.

Well, after I wrote the column it turned out to be an idea that didn't work, so on Tuesday night I'm in my TV room at home, watching the talking heads and election numbers and taking a final despairing look at the bad joke that didn't work. The first part is about the canonization of Costa Mesa Councilwoman Wendy Leece because she cast a much-desired City Council vote under a great deal of stress that she herself caused.

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And the second part is about Beth Krom, former mayor of Irvine who was running for Congress in the 48th District this day and whose political career will probably drown in the Republican tidal wave. Krom ran far and away the most professional campaign I followed. It was against an incumbent, Rep. John Campbell, whose principal duty seems to be keeping the Congressional seat warm in case the party needs him and who earned the sobriquet of "no-show Campbell" during the campaign. This is where the system breaks down outrageously, displacing competent and dedicated people with party errand boys. This will merit a column on its own another day.

But now I'm settled in my TV room at home, waiting to learn who will be our new governor and beginning to drift through the election math to other election nights that were more memorable than this one. And wondering if that feeling comes from saturation or grief. Or just from acknowledging that it's going to be a long night before California comes in and I can go to bed.

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