Last night I attended a panel discussion entitled "Is California Governable?," featuring the governors who have befouled Sacramento for most of my life—Jerry "Gov. Moonbeam" Brown, George "The Duke" Deukmejian, Pete "They Keep Coming" Wilson, and Singapore Gray Davis. Brown was Huffingtonesque (though more entertaining than his ex-girlfriend), wrapping spacy paleo-leftism in a faux-centrist package. Deukmejian was Rotarian and mostly comatose, except when talking about how we should tax the hell out of gambling. Wilson got off the biggest laugh lines (when someone in the crowd hissed at him for supporting "paycheck protection," he expressed concern that they were leaking), but came off like a pinch-faced sourpuss, shaking his head theatrically in both disagreement and assent, and complaining at length that voters were too stupid to do much except choose whatever the television instructed them to. Davis, as usual, was an ass-covering robot.
I realize I may just have a bad attitude, but my non-bad-attitude fellow attendees came to a similar conclusion—that it was almost shocking how three ex-politicians (Brown's still mayor of Oakland, and running for state Attorney General) immediately launched into the most dreary of stump-like recitations of their party lines, offering precious little insight into the governance of a fascinating state, and quickly settling into the tired old battle lines of corporations vs. unions. I came away thinking that the rest of the country is damned lucky that none of these guys managed to worm their way into the White House. And that—shudder—maybe the current clown is the best governor we've had in decades.