Late last night, just before Gray Davis conceded defeat in a gracious speech, I spoke at his event with Sen. Sheila Kuehl, the Santa Monica Democrat who hopes to replace John Burton next year as leader of the state Senate. Kuehl is a partisan liberal, head of the ďProgressive PACĒ that raises money for leftist Democrats running in legislative primaries. She is also usually level-headed, pleasant, intelligent and courteous. Last night, she was none of the above. Here is an excerpt from our interview:
DW: How are you feeling?
KUEHL: I am really sad. Iím more angry than anything. And I havenít even started thinking about what the Senate will need to do in order to save the state.
DW: Save the state from what?
KUEHL: From ignorance. This guy has no idea how to run a state. One of two things will happen. Heíll have his own ideas and no way to carry them out. I mean he has already proposed three things that the governor cannot do. He wants to roll back the car tax on his own by fiat, which he can t do. He wants to tax the Indians, which he canít do. He doesnít know anything about running the state. So either he will propose a lot of stuff he canít do and weíll have to govern, or heíll be pretty well manipulated by people who have an agenda, very much the way I think the president of the United States has been handled by people who are really telling him how to do these things. In which case we may have to counteract things that are worse than things he proposed on his own. His handlers will probably be more conservative than he is, or in the Republican Party line. Convince him heíll bring businesses back to the state by cutting more benefits to workers, by unraveling anti-discrimination statutes which they call job killers.
DW: Will he be received civilly by the Democrats in the Legislature?
KUEHL: He will be received civilly. We have received everyone civilly. I donít know if everybody is going to go to the State of the State (speech). Because frankly I donít think there is going to be a lot of content that anyoneís interested in. Whatís this guy got to say to us about the state of the state? Nothing.