Though Gilbert rightly points out that Phil has the backing of most of the Democratic establishment in California, that really doesn't reflect the quality of his candidacy. Endorsements are strictly an insider's game, reflective more of one's connections, fundraising, and past "back-scratching." Phil announced first, put together his campaign earlier, and looked to be the default nominee against Schwarzenegger. As Marie put it yesterday in a coment, it was assumed that Angelides' nomination was a foregone conclusion.
But Westly's outsider candidacy has been gaining ground since day one, and if endorsements were starting today I think it's safe to assume that many of those big-wigs on Angelides' side would be supporting Westly.
But I'd also to talk about policy a little. The greatest weakness in Angelides campaign is his over-reliance on tax increases. Anglides has proposed to close the state budget deficit, decrease college tuition and fully fund schools by raising taxes on the wealthiest Californians. That sounds all well and good until you consider this fact: the wealthiest Californians are already taxed extra for mental health services, and, if Proposition 82 passes next fall, will be taxed additionally for universal preschool. We simply cannot solve all our state's problems by taxing the wealthy over and over again, even if they can afford it. It's just not a sustainable policy.
Furthermore, such tax increases are simply not going to pass the legislature with a two-third's majority, as state law requires. As Dan Weintraub notes:
One problem with the treasurer's plan is that to enact it, he would need to get Republican votes in the Legislature to achieve the two-thirds majority required to raise taxes. And Republican lawmakers in recent years have been nearly unanimous in their opposition to tax increases.So what has Westly proposed to do? As I noted before, as Controller, Westly collected unpaid taxes from the wealthy and corporations in an effort that netted $4 billion. With the budget deficit currently standing at $5 billion, another such effort, which Westly has proposed, would get us much closer to fiscal solvency. Other measures, such as revamping the lottery and negotiating better deals on state purchases constitute the rest Westly's budget reduction plan. Nothing sexy, but it's all workable and passable.
And though I believe, like Gilbert, that Californians are caring, I do not think that basing one's candidacy on raising taxes over $9 billion, as Angelides would have to do to implemented all his proposals, is the best way to get elected. Just ask Walter Mondale.