Channeling Mike Dukakis in the Race For Governor

I was wondering why watching Phil Angelides andSteve Westly seemed so familiar.
At first I thought it was because I remembered meeting Steve Westly when in 1989 he ran against Gov. Jerry Brown for Democratic Party Chairman (he lost that race in 1989, and backed Phil’s opponent when Jerry quit). Or maybe it was because smilin’ Phil was in all those house party videos in 1992 when Democrats stopped losing in California.
Then I realized what it was – both men are channeling the spirit of former Governor Mike Dukakis in their campaigns. Now, unlike some, I don’t say this to be mean, but more as an observation. It’s not a bad thing to me, but I don’t know if it’s the winning plan for beating Gov. Doofinator in California in 2006.

Now obviously, in Angelides’ case, as a fellow Greek-American politician, it’s natural that both Mike and his cousin, Olympia D would come to his aid, and that’s fine. I mean, I actually saw the former Governor give a hell of a speech to the West LA Democrats in 2004 that was really something. Nothing at all like his cold fish campaign for President. Sure, no one else did, but anyway.
And Westly, as a loyal Democrat, helped out Mike’s campaign as did a lot of folks, and a year later ran for that coveted state Party Chairman job in 1989 (easily a crap-tacular year for Democrats). Hooray.
But when you read the policies and stump speeches, and even the styles of these guys, you can’t help but think of Mike Dukakis, with a dash of Gray D. and begin to wonder how it is we have incumbent Doofinator on the ropes, who is more and more likely to get re-elected….because the C-list is running against him?
Take Westly’s prize position on how to get “more money” for the state without “raising taxes” – get a really fired up California IRS agent army on board to get all the money the State is allegedly owed. Sure, that’ll work. OF COURSE there is so much “owed money” we can make all our dreams come true, painlessly. Now, I’m sure he’s a good guy and means well, but this is straight out of the Dukakis ’88 platform!
I’m sure it sounded good in the issues room at Westly HQ. How many people would like the chances of an audit to increase 10 fold is probably really high. And I”m sure that there are so many deadbeats in California, we can just magically pay for free stuff for everyone, and not raise taxes on people like, well, Steve Westly, who made a killing in dotcom stock options.
Considering he can’t even handle random question from some goofy blogger I wonder if he has enough money to get some better policy folks and perhaps some personality lessons before November. Add to that his paraphrasing of Lloyd Bentsen’s witty retort in his convention speech, and you can see why people get worried.
Angelides is a good guy, and to be sure has been playing a straight Democratic political campaign. His positions against the Doofinator have been pretty straightforward, and against an equally standard politico, like the GOP usually nominates, he might win.
But he’s not he’s going to be up against a Hollywood star who can lie, spin, and cheat his way like no other. How “nerd” beats “cheesy star” is beyond me. I seem to remember it wasn’t the brightest kid in class that got elected school president, it was the popular kid who cracked jokes and flirted with the girls and bs-ed the teachers.
It’s going to be a long campaign season. I wonder why it is the alleged “A-List” Democrats that supposedly exist decided not to run for Governor this year. Do they know something we (and Angelides, Westly, and the Doofinator) don’t?

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