I miss Saint John Chiang.

Sure, the state treasurer is still trying to run as the white hat, against the morally compromised, wife-cheating black hats, Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa.

But the act has worn thin.

Chiang pitches himself as the serious candidate, the sober candidate, the one who doesn’t screw around, who can be trusted. But his campaign has proven to be the most relentlessly and personally negative of the reality-based contenders (The reality-based caveat allows me to exclude Travis Allen from this discussion).

This is not how the campaign was supposed to go. The prevailing pre-campaign narrative was that Chiang might slip through to November because Newsom and Villaraigosa would go completely negative against him. It hasn’t worked out that way. Chiang is the candidate who has lowered the level of the campaign – focusing on the other leading Democratic contenders’ sex lives, exaggerating minor mistakes, and trying to sell the idea that both failed as mayors.

Such attacks are at odds with the truth. Just visit L.A. and San Francisco if you want to understand why. As the race goes on, the detailed attacks get nuttier and nuttier. Villaraigosa is supposedly a sellout when it comes to children and the poor (I suggest Chiang visit South L.A. to see otherwise). Newsom is less than a true-blue progressive (if only Chiang were right about that, but Newsom’s irresponsible support for single-payer shows his true progressive colors).

The latest attacks are so beyond the pale as to make one wonder about Chiang’s judgment. He’s attacked Villaraigosa for his management of LA Unified – even though the mayor doesn’t run the school district in L.A. The truth is the opposite: Villaraigosa tried to change that and gain mayoral authority over the district, but education unions that have backed Chiang’s career stopped him.

Among Villaraigosa’s other sins, according to Chiang, include meeting with Mitt Romney after the 2012 election and giving his phone number to someone who works at a hedge fund. And then there’s my favorite allegation: that Villaraigosa “partied with Charlie Sheen.” Did they do drugs together or have wild sex orgies?

Given how boring California politics can be, one would hope the answer is yes. Alas, they were at the same party (a hotel opening in Cabo, according to reports) and met briefly.

Here’s the fun thing about these allegations. I’m guilty of all three. I’ve met Mitt Romney and once even had lunch with him at a diner in Iowa City. I have a friend who works at a hedge fund and to whom I gave my number. And I have been at a couple of parties at which Charlie Sheen was present. When it comes to Mitt and Charlie, I was present as a reporter.

Which would make me, a left of center teetotaler, a secretly conservative libertine, at least according to Saint John.