Phil Angelides looks like a nerd. Gangly and elongated, earnest in manner, liberal in politics, he is in almost every way the polar opposite of the current governor of California -- whom, Angelides announced yesterday, he is seeking to replace in next year's gubernatorial election.
LOS ANGELES -- Someone once asked Jean Renoir, the great French filmmaker whose flight from the Nazis plunked him down in Los Angeles in 1941, why he'd never made a film about his adopted city. After all, even after World War II ended, Renoir continued to split his time between France and L.A.
"Wilshire Boulevard," Renoir replied. "It has no smell to it."
How do the Democrats win back the allegiance of the white working class? The problem may be deeper than even the most pessimistic Democrats fear it is.
The redoubtable and unpronounceable Ruy Teixeira, Democratic poll analyst par excellence, has been rooting around in the raw data newly released from the 2004 exit poll and has come up with one morsel that should cause Democrats everywhere to gag. It's not just that John Kerry got clobbered by working-class whites, whom he lost to George W. Bush by a hefty 23 points. It's not just that 66 percent of these voters trusted Bush to handle terrorism, compared with just 39 percent who trusted Kerry. It's that 55 percent of white working-class voters trusted Bush to handle the economy, while only 39 percent trusted Kerry.
LOS ANGELES -- The street lamps are festooned with banners reminding people about the Academy Awards, as if anyone here needed reminding. The police are scrambling to mollify the African American community after the latest South Central car chase, in which a cop shot and killed a black motorist who turned out to be a 13-year-old boy. And the race for mayor, though Election Day is less than three weeks away, hasn't really dented the public's consciousness, which in matters of politics is characteristically dent-resistant.
In other words, it's just a typical week in my hometown.
Suppose, as a result of George W. Bush's decision to go to war there, that Iraq turns into Iran? Just what do we do then?
As the vote-counting continues in last month's Iraqi elections, it's clear that the predictable has in fact occurred: The electoral alliance put together and dominated by Iraq's Shiite clerics has swept to power. It will command a clear majority in the National Assembly, with the Kurds, Sunnis, and various secular groups bringing up the rear. It will write the national constitution, although, according to the soon-to-be-replaced transitional authority of Ayad Allawi, the new document needs a Kurdish and Sunni buy-in to go into effect.