William Bradley, a California-based political analyst, has served as a
senior advisor to Democratic presidential and gubernatorial campaigns, a
chief consultant to state legislative committees, and a Los Angeles energy
F undamentals are being decided here. The power crisis that has blindsided California has also turned the state into ground zero in an unanticipated war between radical capitalism and a democratically controlled economy. One of the great debacles of recent times--a classic saga of greed, ideology, stupidity, and media neglect--the crisis has already spawned the biggest utility bankruptcy ever in the United States, sparked the largest state-bond issue in the nation's financial history, triggered the first planned blackouts in the Los Angeles area since World War II, evaporated a huge state-budget surplus, and wrecked the presidential hopes of the most-populated state's Democratic governor, Gray Davis. With the crunch of summertime coming and utility customers still dependent on a wholesale power market dominated by rapacious out-of-state firms, the ordeal is anything but over. Nationally, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are using the crisis to promote their supply-side energy policy of...