Nothing more than feeeeeeelings

In another display of preferring style over substance, E. J. Dionne refers to Gray Davis as a "hero" for how he handled California's fire crisis.

Then came Southern California's wildfires, and suddenly Davis was everywhere. The buttoned-up guy was unbuttoned. He appeared in open-necked shirts, reached out to those who had lost everything, urged firefighters on and cooperated visibly with Schwarzenegger.

Nevermind that Gray Davis inherited a $12 billion surplus, raised state spending by 36% in his first term, created a spending deficit of $38 billion dollars, hired tens of thousands of new state employees, and presided over a pseudo energy deregulation that made California look like a third-world country. Yet, Dionne now thinks of Davis as a hero for "reaching out" and "urging". The entire column is devoted to this theme - putting feelings ahead of actions. Empathy is more important than function. Collective commiseration supercedes pragmatic solutions. If only "we all" came together to "settle our differences"...

Dionne seems to have forgotten that Davis is a criminal, and not just the ordinary type of criminal that comes with being a politician.

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It's the oldest convention

It's the oldest convention in the politician's book of tricks, at least since the advent of video: get captured with your tie loosened and your sleeves rolled up. Or get a good shot of you sitting at the kitchen table with a "working family." Or throwing a few sandbags at the levee. So Davis knows how to unbutton his collar. What a hero! Shee-it!

Reminds me of all the public adulation of Bush and Giuliani after their "on the scene" photo-ops after 9-11. What politician wouldn't have done the same?