Debra J. Saunders

Which politician is more reviled by his own constituents -- California Gov. Gray Davis or New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg?

The latest Public Policy Institute of California poll found that a measly 28 percent of Californians approve of Davis' handling of his job. Hence the movement to recall him.

In New York, the bloom is off hizzoner's rose. A New York poll found that Bloomberg's approval rating -- 24 percent -- was at a record low.

California critics describe Davis' approach to governance as "nonstop fund raising" -- another way of saying barely governing. Davis has worked his whole life to be governor. Once elected, he went light on doing the job.

The New York Daily News sums up Bloomberg's approach to governing as his "nonconfrontational style" -- a euphemism for ineffective.

Both pols are facing big deficits in their budgets.

California state coffers have a $38 billion hole. New York's shortfall is about $3.8 billion.

Californians are angry at Davis because he spent too much time fund raising and campaigning last year, when he should have been paying more attention to the state's growing revenue shortfall.

New Yorkers are miffed with Bloomberg because he has spent too much time telling other people how to behave -- as in the city's new ban against smoking in bars and restaurants -- when he should have been making Gotham's government run better.

Changes in workers' compensation laws under Davis have driven California employers' premiums through the roof, hurting employers and jobs.

New York businesses are being dinged as city workers fine them under an obscure law for such offenses as displaying illicit signage on awnings. Awnings with the words "cold beer" -- rather than simply the establishment's name -- can earn a fine of $2,500.

Both politicians also show a deficit in their personalities.

Sacto wags call Davis "Gumby." Even the statewide officers who say they won't run in a recall election have made it clear they don't like Davis.

New York tabloids have dubbed Bloomberg "Mayor Mike." The citizenry call him puritanical, prissy, a grinch lookalike and a busybody.

Davis has been happy to allow others to take the credit for tax hikes. Just before his own finance director Steve Peace raised the vehicle license fee -- at an average cost of $158 more per car owner -- Davis told the Sacramento Bee the decision was "up to the financial officers of the state."

Debra J. Saunders

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