The governor's advisers say they intend to shift the focus away from Mr. Davis's personality and his record to what they characterize as the "right wing" agenda of the recall proponents and the high cost of the election at a time when the state faces a $38 billion deficit.
His aides say they will use television advertising, telephone banks and mass mailings supported by liberal interest groups and unions to send a message that the state cannot afford the risk of overturning an election and putting the state in the hands of a novice politician with views out of step with those of most Californians. The national Democratic Party has pledged its full support to defeating the recall.
"We're going to make it clear to all Californians that this thing is the handiwork of a little band of right-wing nuts," said Garry South, one of Mr. Davis's chief political advisers. "This whole process is ludicrous. Voters are just astonished at what is happening here."
Actually, the main thing voters seem to be astonished about is Gray Davis:
Governor Davis starts with numerous handicaps. Polls show that fewer than a quarter of the state's voters approve of the job he is doing as governor; fewer still feel any affection for him. Polls also show that a majority of voters support the recall, though by a narrow margin.
I'm always fascinated by the little tricks history plays on the unsuspecting. Here we have a self-styled "Progressive" governor of one of the worst-run (and historically worst-run) states in the country being taken down by a hundred year old relic of the "Progressive" era. Davis has never been a particularly inspiring figure, and at the moment he's taking the blame for the decades old liberal-built state government which is wasteful, profligate and suicidally anti-business. Even Reagan couldn't permanently change the madness that is California. Davis probably couldn't have done much about it, but the point is he was ideologically incapable of trying and there is now the very real possiblity that this will change.