"Ezra Klein gets under my skin. He seems to spout the party line."

After years of sitting in a room in Southern California writing a blog for Slate magazine, you’re planning to challenge Senator Barbara Boxer in the Democratic primary in California in June. What led you to get into politics?
I’ve been a blogger since 1999, and it hasn’t done the job. In California, the Democratic Party is worse than it was when I started. The only thing left is the interest groups. It used to be a functioning party independent of labor, and now that has atrophied.

You’re known as a conservative Democrat who likes to fulminate against the party’s sacred cows, like labor unions, the welfare system and amnesty for illegal immigrants.
I recently ran into four or five people in the space of a week who are Democrats but who think the teachers’ unions are wrecking the schools. Most Democratic politicians think it’s just suicidal for them to say that.