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Hullabaloo


Saturday, August 23, 2003

 
Helluva Hangover

It is just possible that the tired old saw “…as California goes, so goes the nation” is not the laughable irrelevance that we all think it is as we watch this sideshow. As I read today's LA Times poll, showing that Davis and the legislature both have over a 70% unfavorable rating, it looks to me as if the electorate of this state is having a bit of a temper tantrum.

Historically speaking, that often leads to one of those “clean house” elections --- like 1994.
It’s impossible to know what the country as a whole will be feeling a year from now, but I can easily picture a widespread discontent that could shake up the whole election.

The reason is that the economic downturn is just now starting to be felt and downturns are much more painful when it seems like only last week the sky was the limit. Falling from a lofty height really hurts.

I think that people may finally be coming to terms with the fact that the economy isn’t going back to what it was and that translates into big dreams and aspirations going down the tubes. Recessions come and go, but speculative bubbles are once in a lifetime.

Unfortunately, conventional wisdom emanating from pundits and corrupt analysts made a lot of Americans believe that the business cycle really had been vanquished (if they knew what the business cycle was in the first place) and that the end of history was nigh.

They believed that success beyond their wildest dreams was almost guaranteed so they bought big expensive houses and ran up their debt with cheap credit, secure in the knowledge that they were winners, with a capital win. Why, things were going so well that we could turn politics into a soap opera and journalism into a reality TV show. Seriousness was so boring and 70’s.

Now people are beginning to understand that they may have to lower their expectations. We are in a confusing war, insecure, in debt, underemployed and under the bosses thumb --- and nobody knows what hit them. People are starting to wake up to the knowledge that this may be no blip, no "correction."

George W. Bush’s America does not look like a shining city on a hill.

I hope that Davis doesn’t lose. I think it is a travesty of democracy --- one of many, lately. But, if the worst happens, the Democratic talking points are clear:

As California goes, so goes the nation: Throw The Bums Out.