“Davis in 2002: Ich bin ein Bulb-dimmers.”
“Davis in 2002: Power to some of the people!”
“Davis in 2002: The tunnel at the end of the light!”
“Davis in 2002: Gazpacho and candlelight dinners.”
Those of us who live on the Left Coast and who have watched Gray Davis inch his way up the slippery pole of California politics were not surprised that the ungovernor met the alarms of 1999 and 2000 concerning the coming energy shortage with complete indifference. Gray has never cared about much other than raising money, and if the lights were still on, that was fine with him.
We even understood when the ungovernor curled up under his desk as the blackouts began to roll. That’s the Gray we know and love.
Even his childish petulance towards everyone in Sacramento was routine. But when he lost his composure last Thursday and declared that “We are literally in a war with energy companies that are gouging us,” and then warning the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioners that if they “don’t do anything to solve the problem … then there will be a lot of blood on the floor and a lot of corpses along the way,” then we looked up.
Had Gray blown a fuse? Gone around the bend? Was he marching towards the Canadian and Texas borders with an army of contributors?
And then on the weekend came the explanation. The Los Angeles Times somehow stumbled on a huge political story and then buried it in the fifth paragraph of its Saturday paper: Davis had hired Gore campaign heavies Mark Fabiani and Chris Lehane. And Davis had done so at taxpayers’ expense! That’s right, a governor with $30 million in his campaign account has hired two Gore bouncers for $30,000 a month of taxpayer funds. And did I mention that these two are also working for Southern California Edison — the huge utility teetering at the edge of bankruptcy which is being kept afloat by Davis?
The two assure us that there is no conflict.
I, for one, have my doubts about the ethical judgment of Lehane who labeled Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris a “Soviet commissar” during the Recount fiasco last fall. And as for their collective competence, these are two of the key proponents of Al Gore’s wonderful debate strategy — remember the Lurch debate?
So Davis has moved overnight from supine to shrill, and the nation’s Beltway-based media have yet to notice that no Sacramento Democrats want to be seen near him. Davis is sinking quickly, and that’s a disaster for pundits, including me. So once again I turned to my radio audience for help: Could they suggest a catchy slogan for the ungovernor’s re-election drive in 2002? Hundreds of offerings poured in. The best of them lead this column, but in case Fabiani and Lehane need something to get their invoice paid for May, they can have this list:
“Davis — Angela or Gray, it doesn’t matter — in 2002.”
“Davis in 2002: Carpe nocturna!”
“Davis in 2002: What you see is what you get”
“Davis in 2002: Iceberg? What iceberg?”
“Davis in 2002: Back to basics — rocks, sticks, flint.”
“Davis in 2002: A kite and a key for every house.”
“Davis in 2002: Made in the shade.”
“Davis in 2002: Think of it as camping.”
“Davis in 2002: ‘Survivor’ comes home.”
“Davis in 2002: A thousand points of light, give or take a thousand.”
“Davis in 2002: Second rate deserves a second chance.”
“Davis in 2002: Celebrate futility.”
“Davis in 2002: Batteries not included.”
“Davis in 2002: A windmill for every home.”
“Davis in 2002: Be all that you can’t see.”
“Davis in 2002: An army of one.”
“Davis in 2002: An army of none.”
“Davis in 2002: I’ve not yet begun to blight.”
“Davis in 2002: Keep the good times rolling!”
“Davis in 2002: Ask yourself: Are you better off today than you were 438 years ago?’”
“Davis in 2002: Your bridge to the 18th century.”
“Davis in 2002: Come over to the Dark Side.”
“Davis in 2002: Now he’ll solve the traffic problem.”
“Davis in 2002: It wasn’t me.”
“Davis in 2002: You can’t fall off the floor.”
“Davis in 2002: Nowhere to go but up.”
“Davis in 2002: Stick with the devil you know.”
“Davis in 2002: Make love, not power.”
“Davis in 2002: Embrace the night.”
“Davis in 2002: Moving forward at the speed of a 28K modem.”
“Davis in 2002: Dead man talking.”
“Davis in 2002: If the light ain’t lit, you must acquit.”
“Davis in 2002: Bringing back day baseball.”
“Davis in 2002: Power? We don’t need no stinking power.”
“Davis in 2002: Read my lips: No new power.”
“Davis in 2002: Reach for the curb.”
“Davis in 2002: Got power?”
“Davis in 2002: 58,000,000 French can’t be wrong.”
And, finally, “A vote for Davis is a vote for morbid curiosity.”