President Bush is definitely a loser in CA in 2004.He accepted "donations" to his campaign from companies he passed bills to support...
Gray Davis pandered to unions and business interests in CA but he did not pander to minority voters en masse until the recall was announced. The recall proponents have themselves to thank for DL rights for undocumented residents.
Despite the apocalyptical proclamations about jobs and people leaving CA, the costs of providing healthcare and education to eligible CA has risen dramatically in CA over the past decade (much like the rest of the country). Furthermore, the incredibly wise citizens of CA have mandated a significant portion of the cost inflation . . . not to mention less than business-friendly citizen iniatives. CA is adamantly opposed to revising (if not scrapping) Prop 13 despite the fact it basically mandates excess dependence on sales/income tax and various fees.
Blaming Gray Davis for the structural flaws of the deregulation law and outright depravity of energy companies is ridiculous . . . it would be akin to Democrats blaming Bush for the 2001 recession (but he is certainly culpable for runaway spending and foolish tax cuts). Gray gets plenty of credit for his retarded response to the energy crisis AND for signing BS bills that made no sense considering the falling revenue stream from sales/income tax that was clearly evident in 2001 and 2002 (just like Bush).
On top of all that Gray had no friends other than his wife and his dog. He was not a liberal . . . certainly not by CA standards. He was basically Pete Wilson with less charisma . . . and that's an achievement. The GOP had a right to be bitter about the 2002 campaign . . . then again they chose to run a dog (Simon) instead of a legitimate leader for CA (Riordan).