The California election season of 2004 was the closest thing to a political earthquake that the free world has witnessed. The upheaval came about as a too-shrewd Republican operator saw a way to take advantage of the California energy debacle and a century old law concerning state ballot propositions as a means to remove the just-reelected Democratic Governor Gray Davis and, presumably, put himself in office. But Republican Congressman Darrell Issa's personal investment of $1.7 million to initiate a recall and promote his political ambitions went swiftly awry. His party had another idea about candidates. When they decided that super ambitious Arnold Schwarzenegger's fame would make him more electable, it was all over for Issa (pronounced, eye-sa). In a quick recognition of realities, this former owner of America's biggest car alarm company (and, according to his own admission, brother of a car thief) retreated to the sidelines.

130 plus others didn't -- people who saw the recall as an opportunity to qualify themselves on the ballot and acquire a nanosecond of fame they never would in any other way. Leave it to California to be open to an adult film actress, an actor, a comedian, a musician-laborer, a stay-at-home mom, a golf pro, various attorneys including one calling himself a marijuana legalization attorney, a sumo wrestler, a tribal chairman, students, the barely intelligible, the delusional hopefuls and other dreamers with bizarre ideas bordering on profound political ignorance to run for the state's highest office. Small wonder people across the world saw the affair as a circus.

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