Bill Carrick

It's obvious that the Golden State isn’t golden anymore. As a new transplant here, the first state political event I watched up close was a May 2009 special election, featuring six ballot initiatives designed to avert a titanic budget crisis. California’s voters responded with what can best be described as snarling apathy. Turnout was 20 percent, which beat the previous California record for low turnout in a statewide election. The five initiatives that dealt with spending and revenue—which needed to pass in order to implement a major fiscal comprom ise—all went down, hard.

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It's obvious that the Golden State isn’t golden anymore. As a new transplant here, the first state political event I watched up close was a May 2009 special election, featuring six ballot initiatives designed to avert a titanic budget crisis. California’s voters responded with what can best be described as snarling apathy. Turnout was 20 percent, which beat the previous California record for low turnout in a statewide election. The five initiatives that dealt with spending and revenue—which needed to pass in order to implement a major fiscal comprom ise—all went down, hard.

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The Boss

Robert Shrum, John Kerry's chief strategist and speechwriter, is considered the poet laureate of populism--the man who injected the phrase "the people versus the powerful" into Democratic vernacular. Over his 35-year career, Shrum has been responsible for many of the memorable lines to leave the mouths of such Democratic eminences as Ted Kennedy, George McGovern, and Al Gore. But one of his most telling speeches won't ever be collected in an anthology of great oratory. For many years, Shrum plied his trade on behalf of Richard Gephardt.

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Cool Hand Duke

Michael Dukakis’s message to the Democratic Party is neither epic nor apocalyptic. He is not promising, like Joe Biden, to restore John F. Kennedy's spiritual days of glory or, like Richard Gephardt, to save the nation from impending economic serfdom to the Japanese and South Koreans.

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