"We are literally in a war with energy companies, many of which reside in Texas. Californians wants to know if [the president] is going to be on their side." - California Governor, Gray Davis
"I'm deeply concerned about the impact of blackouts on the daily lives of the good people of the state of California, and my administration is committed to helping California." - G.W.
Meanwhile, Davis has publicly threatened to sign a windfall profits tax bill as a means to commandeer electricity from generating plants or simply take over the plants themselves of companies that won't cooperate. Chief "obstructionist" company, according to Davis? Reliant Energy of Houston, Texas... a major backer of one G.W. Bush...
And the race is on. Yep, this is all about power, but it's not entirely about electricity. In the final months of the last administration, Old Tubby was willing to use the power of the presidency to help California through this crisis. That policy changed the day W took office.
What it looked like to me, and a few of my associates, at the time was that W was trying to deliberately make Davis look bad. W was willing to let California twist in the unpowered wind to a) punish us for not voting for him, and b) to cripple Davis as a potential national Democratic leader and a challenge to W in 2004.
The closer Davis gets to actually getting something out of these energy companies that have screwed us, the better his reputation gets, and W puts the screws on a little tighter.
Now, I've never been a big fan of Gray Davis. I always thought he was a bit of a weasel and a political lightweight. Back in January, when W first cut energy assistance to California, I thought, "Well, if it keeps Davis out of the White House, it's worth sitting in the dark for an hour or so from time to time."
But lately, I've actually been impressed with the way he's doing battle with the power companies. He's managed to get concessions out of almost all of them, except Reliant. Now we'll see whether or not he's able to complete this "Davis and Goliath" scenario he's set up and play it through to the Democratic nomination for President in 2004.
I'm not picking sides, mind you. I'm just enjoying the show.