In today’s Sacramento Bee, Dan Walters takes a grim look at next year’s race for Governor, suggesting that Schwarzenegger could still win, despite abysmal approval ratings, if he sufficently slimes his opponent. Walters points out that this is what happened in the past two gubernatorial elections, when the incumbent was suffering from low popularity due to poor decisions and leadership. He also notes how easy that could be this year, given the exciting news from the Field Poll that a majority of Californians have no idea about the leading Democratic contender, Phil Angelides.
Walters also is so kind as to give the Republicans a suggested head start:
But as the Field Poll indicates, [Angelides] has a very indistinct image in the larger voting public, and as he advocates billions of dollars in new taxes, he risks being defined as a tax-and-spend liberal in a state whose voters are not particularly keen on expanding government.
Okay, first of all, Angelides is not a “tax and spend liberal,” because such a person doesn’t actually exist outside of the right-wing conservative talking points. And the only reason he “risks” being labeled that is because of the right-wing smear machine, which includes biased columnists like Walters. And while voters have been told for years, again by people like Walters, that they aren’t “keen on expanding government,” poll after poll has shown that they are quite keen on doing whatever is necessary for improving public education, increasing access to higher education, upgrading the state’s transportation system and rescuing the state’s health care system from complete implosion.
Unlike Walters’ beloved Schwarzenegger, Angelides is showing the kind of real leadership that will bring our state in a position to actually resolve these challenges that lie ahead. He is telling Californians the truth: that we cannot provide the services we want for all residents if the wealthiest people in the wealthiest state in the wealthiest country in the history of the world do not pay their fair share. That saving our state means a drastic revolution in the status quo — the kind of revolution that moves us forward, beyond the narrow way of thinking that appeals to the most selfish instincts in people. One that says we are all one California family, and in a state that generates $1.3 trillion in wealth each year, we have the means to ensure that people are given a chance to provide for their families the kind of security that we all dream of, and that we all deserve.
So this Thanksgiving, I will be giving thanks that there are leaders out there, like Phil Angelides, who share that broad and positive vision, and who are doing something about it.