The Sacramento Bee points out:
The embrace of Angelides by the Democratic establishment and party partisans conflicts with polls showing Westly faring better than Angelides against Schwarzenegger in a hypothetical general election race.
“It’s cathartic for Democratic Party activists to listen to the Angelides rant,” said Dan Schnur, a Republican political analyst. “… It may be enough to get him the nomination, but not enough to get him elected.”
But Angelides’ fiery partisanship and his vow to fund schools by taxing the rich — Californians earning more than $500,000 — is striking a chord with union groups yearning for a populist message.
Art Pulaski, executive secretary of the California Labor Federation, said its board found “nothing wrong with Steve Westly.” But he said the umbrella group for 2.1 million union members chose to back Angelides in the primary because he offered a more “forceful voice … who will side with the middle class” against tax breaks for the rich.
Pulaski said the labor group is “mobilizing our forces, the ground troops, to support Phil’s campaign” and is also sending out mailers on his behalf.
Another powerful Democratic constituency, the California Teachers Association, recently gave $1 million to an independent political committee backing Angelides. CTA President Barbara Kerr said teachers will be volunteering in phone banks and in communities to get out the vote for his campaign.
“The minute the activists started to turn out, the race started to turn,” said Democratic political consultant Phil Giarrizzo, who said ground work by well-organized volunteers could mean a difference of three to five percentage points in the primary vote. “… Clearly, Phil has regained his footing.”
Angelides’ Socialist agenda and shrill campaign rhetoric may be enough to get him the Democratic nomination. But it will hurt him when the general election comes around.
Angelides’ gambit is an effort to win the gubernatorial primary June 6 by rallying partisans angry over President Bush, the Iraq war, corporate scandals, corruption and the Republican hold on Congress.
Democrats nationwide are packaging this intense discontent in an effort to win back the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.
Angelides’ use of the same strategy could help with a comeback win in the Democratic primary. Yet the tactic could cost the nominee broader appeal against Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in November.
Undeterred, Angelides directs fiery rhetoric to charge up voters and inspire volunteers from union members to anti-war activists to turn out for his campaign.
And while Westly offered a nuanced answer in the debate about bringing back California National Guard troops from Iraq, Angelides thunders: “This war in Iraq is wrong. It is wounding the conscience of this nation.”
For Angelides, it doesn’t matter that Westly agrees with him on almost every California policy issue. While Westly runs as a problem-solving centrist “who is not an ideologue,” Angelides depicts him as someone selling out by playing it safe.
That’s right Phil! Don’t play it safe! Be all the Socialist you can be! And let the voters of California know what the California Democratic Party truly stands for:
-And Absense of Moral Values!