So Gavin Newsom is running for President (well, kinda maybe, probably pinky swear if he has no other way to save the country from itself possibly).
He doesn’t stand a chance, though oddly enough it may not be totally his fault.
The current state of California politics – one-party rule (with that party ruled by a few hundred Bay Area nabobs and solons), the collaborationist media, the million-person, billion-dollar government union strike force, the power obsessed Sacramento hive mind blob, and an electorate that is at best only transitorily interested and utterly disheartened – is quite handy for those politicians who have benefited from it but rather useless when the act is taken on the road over the state line.
In other words, California does not grow resilient, intelligent, quick, open candidates. The current cosseted, cradle-to-grave, challenge-free environment is the political equivalent of a climate-controlled, custom built, full-time gardener attended, glassed-in arboretum, a hothouse designed to grow only one type of flower.
And while they look pretty, an untransplantable flower wilts and dies when it leaves the only home it has ever known, so how can Orchis Hairgelia be expected to survive out in the jungle, the desert, the windswept plains of the real political world?
Take Kamala Harris – please (sorry, couldn’t resist). An affair with Willie Brown jumpstarted her career, and then the way was cleared for her to advance because of what she was and who she knew – not what she could do. Evidence of her abusive and chaotic management style, the wildly inappropriate cackle, her incomprehensible speaking style, her flexibility with the facts, and her relatively low-wattage intellectual capabilities were all brushed aside and she was – with her toe barely dipped into the Senate pool – being touted as a real up-and-comer by an identity-obsessed punditry that only – at best – looked through the greenhouse glass and thought they saw something beautiful.
She sprinted out of the gate during her 2020 presidential run – good poll numbers, buckets of money, fawning press, the whole magilla. And then something happened – Kamala happened. It went so far south so quickly she didn’t even make it to Iowa.
But maybe it was merely a combination of bad luck, America’s tendency towards racism and misogyny, and a general desire for blandness after Trump that put paid her campaign. Yes, that must be it, the media and Biden campaign decided, so she was tapped for veep.
And then Kamala happened again; she has proven so bad at the job that even a dweeby, white male former mid-sized city mayor and current transportation secretary is beating her in the “what if?” polls.
Like Harris, Newsom is a product of the same system, a San Francistocracy that factory-builds candidates who will serve its own needs and has no interest in what’s inside it as long as it looks pretty and does as it’s told (I think Vegas has a word for that).
Beyond Harris, there are the cautionary tales of Xavier Bockarrhea (fewer cabinet secretary’s in history have looked so consistently like a Ficus tree trying to solve a calculus problem), the failure of Barbara Boxer’s dream of becoming vice-president (though I believe Julia Louis-Dreyfus played her on HBO), and the two Erics – Swalwell and Garcetti. In Swalwell’s case, the (what’s another far less credulous than alleged?) affair with a Chinese spy may be a bit of a mitigating factor when discussing his failures, but Garcetti is another matter.
Again, brought up in the California system. Again elected to office rather easily. Again, a vapid jargon-droning machine – but none of that stopped him from coming thiiiis close the running for president. It was only when he went into the wilderness that – to his credit, despite the fact that he reportedly already had thoughts about his post-presidency library – he realized that his chances involved hell and snowballs.
And even his latest foray into the great big outside world has come a cropper as his nomination to be Ambassador to India – a mere consolation prize and not even Miss Congeniality – is floundering on the rocks of California’s political culture. Los Angeles has been so easy for Garcetti he simply cannot understand the problem, to the point of his asking – as a grown-up – for his parent’s help. The main reason Garcetti is unlikely to be ambassador is the same exact reason he got to be Mayor – a system lubed and massaged by Rick Jacobs.
So why does Gavin think he has a chance? First, he has had a chance at anything he put his mind – and, more crucially, the Getty’s money – to. He has little understanding of the possibility of failure she he has never had to try very hard. And two-thirds of Democrat voters would rather Joe toddle off to the home in 2024.
Additionally, as happens so often when national “journalists” parachute into the state, the coverage of even the possibility of a Newsom campaign has been kid-in-a-candy store giddy. Once the obligatory “he says he isn’t running and supports the president” hurdle is cleared, stories about Newsom go full delusion.
His recall victory – in which he failed to carry the independent vote, actually lost the “walk-in” tally, and had to outspend the pro-recall campaign literally 100 million to zero – is called decisive and convincing and resounding. The party’s base is described as thrilled that a real “fighter” is telling it like it is. He manages a booming economy, the fifth-largest in the world, doncha know? He wins awards for the state’s unmatched education system. He’s popular, successful smart, and straight out of central casting for the job. He’s not afraid to go after horrible governors like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott on their own turf. And California has Silicon Valley and Hollywood and good weather and Disneyland and mountains and trees and beaches.
The stories do not mention California has one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients, a crippled middle class (unless you are a government worker), and absurd cost-of-living issues from housing to utilities to, well, everything. Ignored are things like the $30 billion looted from the EDD, the $100 billion train thingy (not sure if it can even be called a project anymore), near-the-bottom educational performance numbers, near-the-top unemployment numbers, and the growing exodus of the people and companies that actually pay the taxes to operate the state, and on and on. These are not problems for Newsom – yet.
Interestingly, besides the inherent weaknesses caused by the Habsburg level in-breeding of California’s political system, another problem may face Newsom, a problem that will come from the woke progressive wing he tries to embody. Gavin is being called too white, too male, too cis, too hetero to create the fundamental changes American society apparently needs and even voters who agree with his policies, for lack of a better term, are already worried he doesn’t adequately represent proper diversity (this specific sentiment was expressed by a “person-on-the-street” interview in a recent Washington Post article – one can only doubt that a candidate being deemed unacceptable solely because they were too black, too trans, and too gay would have nabbed the same approving pride of place in a similar type of article. But I digress.)
Finally, if Biden clings like grim death to his apparent decision to run for re-election, Newsom will face exactly what Teddy Kennedy faced when he tried to supplant Jimmy Carter as the Democratic nominee in 1980. Even a candidate with an, um, challenged personal history but propped up by a compliant press and a powerful political machine and an actual Kennedy – not just some adopted manque – couldn’t pull it off against a president possibly less popular than Biden is now.
To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, you’re not even Teddy, Gavin, let alone John, even when you have been watered and pruned and re-potted and polished.
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