California, as anyone who reads the news or lives in this state knows, faces a raft of economic problems. Businesses are fleeing the states. Storefronts sit vacant on once thriving thoroughfares. The unemployment rate remains mired in double digits. The state budget bleeds red inks. Private sector workers who keep their jobs have seen their earnings decline while public sector employees enjoy some of the best compensation packages in the nation, with their overly generous pensions threatening to bankrupt the nation.
Willie Brown, the former Democratic Speaker of the state Assembly says “that 80 percent of the state, county and city budget deficits are due to employee costs.” And the Democratic Governor with whom he first served rambles on about his glory days in the 1970s while his allies hit his Republican rival for having hired a housekeeper who (unbeknownst to the Republican) falsified her papers.
Meanwhile, that Republican has come up with a plan to fix the state (while interest groups favoring her opponent dishonestly call her plan almost identical to those of George W. Bush). Meg Whitman could lose this race, not based on her ideas, but based on the nasty, negative campaign Democrats are waging against her.
In short, she could lose to Jerry Brown for the same reason Bill Simon lost to the perennial candidate’s former chief of staff, a Democrat who was returned to the Governor’s mansion, not based on his record of accomplishment or promise of achievement, but on his success at demonizing his rival.
Yet, less than one full year after winning reelection, facing some of the same problems which currently plague the Golden State, Gray Davis was recalled by California voters. Could that happen to his political mentor should he win next month?
Oh, and, the unemployment rate in the Golden State was roughly half what it is today when Davis won reelection.