The Corner

Lewis On California

Michael Lewis’s piece on the California recall in yesterday’s New York Times Magazine, “All Politics Are Loco,” is just marvelous–brilliantly reported and written. But in the middle of Lewis’s beautiful prose lies this:

“[After the Internet bubble burst, Gray Davis’s] many troubling acts–spending $10 million to drive Dick Riordan from the 2002 Republican primary, his sensational ability to get people to pay him to do business with the state–were newly exposed. The excuse for exposing them was the budget deficit–which no governor could have avoided.”

No governor could have avoided the deficit? Nonsense. Revnues rose more than 25 percent during Davis’s first term, inflated by the Internet bubble–true enough. Yet how did Davis respond? By increasing spending more than 36 percent.

Lewis may wish the recall amounted only to kind of especially colorful circus–he has as fine a sense of the absurd as any reporter you could name–but it just doesn’t. Californians are about to punish a govenor who deserves it.


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