Thursday, November 02, 2006

West Coast Blues

Like many Democrats in California, I'm struggling with my decision over who to vote for in the Governor's race. Truth be told, I'll most likely vote for Phil Angelides, but I'm not happy about the way he has run his next-to-invisible campaign and I am not entirely sure he's earned my support. During the primary I was supportive of Steve Westly not only because he was so similar to Angelides on the issues, but because I felt Westly had the greatest advantage in the image department against Arnold.

After the resounding rejection of Arnold's expensive and silly "Legislate-by-Proposition" election, the Governor essentially tossed out his previous script and wrote a new one with a page from the idealized world of "The West Wing." Sure, Arnold's no Democrat and no genius, but his turnaround has been, by all objective standards, amazing. Even though I laugh every time I see a bumper sticker that says, "Schwarzenegger: Protecting the California Dream," (from what, those baddies in 'Kindergarten Cop'?) it is hard to deny Arnold has moderated most of his colors, and fast. Whether that transformation is admirable or opportunistic is another story.

Watching the hard-fought campaigns in contested races across the country makes me a tad envious. I'd love to be able to vote for someone like Claire McCaskill or Jon Tester, or even for any of the Democrats running for office in Iowa, so long as I knew I was supporting a strong progressive against those reactionary candidates fielded by the Far Right. It is a true shame in a state as large and intellectually diverse as California, the Governor's race has been dead in the water. Hopefully next round, there will be a Democrat running that inspires rather than simply exists.

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