The other odd man out

Published July 27, 2004 3:10PM (EDT)

OK, we take it all back. When we caught up with Michael Dukakis in Boston earlier in the week, it seemed that he might have the most circumscribed convention role of any modern Democrat. In fact, that crown fits better on the head of former Calif. Gov. Gray Davis.

Davis was unpopular with California Democrats even before he was ousted in a recall vote last year. Now that he's out of office -- now that he can't control appointments, dole out favors or exact any retribution for wrongs against him -- it's hard to find anyone who wants to spend a whole lot of time with him. Davis was a high-profile host when the Democrats held their convention in Los Angeles four years. Now? "I'm a delegate," he told us on the convention floor Monday night. "I'm honored to be an enthusiastic supporter of John Kerry."

Davis' successor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is starting to struggle a bit with the problems of governing California. He finally struck a budget deal with the Democrats who control the state legislature Monday night -- a bitter month of partisan fighting behind schedule -- and his approval ratings have begun to drop a bit. Still, the Gropinator gets a star turn at the Republican convention in New York next month.

Davis gets . . . well, not much. Standing alone on the convention floor Monday night, he said he had attended a strategy session with a Kerry advisor in Boston and that he'll do some speaking and fundraising back in California. Anything else? "I'll be emailing friends in other states."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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