Patterico's Pontifications


Brace Yourselves for Gavin

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:54 am

[guest post by JVW]

Just before noon Pacific Time tomorrow, Gavin Christopher Newsom will become the fortieth governor of the state of California. Having come up through the political ranks as a member the city’s board of supervisors and then mayor of San Francisco, then as the lieutenant governor of the Golden State, he finally reaches the top office in the state which he no doubt expects to launch him to national prominence and perhaps blaze a pathway to the White House.

Believe it or not, once upon a time Gavin Newsom was (relatively speaking) a breath of fresh air in the stale and putrid Bay Area political climate, and was even popular among a subset of conservative activists. I first heard of him when he made appearances on Laura Ingraham’s radio show in 2002, just before his run for the mayor’s office the following year, to promote his successful “Care Not Cash” plan which sharply decreased cash subsidies paid to San Francisco’s homeless and replaced them with vouchers that could be used for housing and food, but not tobacco or alcohol. At a time when San Francisco seemed to be overrun with aggressive panhandlers (the more things change. . . ) this proposal turned out to be quite popular among Newsom’s constituents in the wealthy Pacific Heights and Marina area of town, though it was anathema to the city’s militant compassion brigades who fought the proposal tooth and nail. Newsom would finish first in a nine-person open primary for the 2003 mayor election, then defeat the runner-up, a hardcore Green Party activist, in that fall’s run-off election by a relatively narrow 53% – 47% margin.

Newsom thus took office as a straight white male (he had been the only one among the eleven San Francisco Supervisors) who had run on what was derided by activists as an anti-homeless platform, who had advertised himself as a fiscal conservative, and who had even paid the local GOP a $500 fee to be an endorsed candidate on one of their endorsement mailers in a previous supervisor election. To say that the far left activists who wield a great deal of influence in Baghdad by the Bay viewed their new mayor with a great deal of suspicion would be an understatement. So Newsom, recently turned 36 and already plotting a rise up the political hierarchy, set about mending fences. Understanding the awesome strength of the LGB (as it was styled in those days; I don’t think they had added the “T” or the “Q” or any other letters back then) lobby, he unilaterally declared that marriage licenses would be granted to same-sex couples in San Francisco. Though his edict was ultimately invalidated by the sate’s supreme court, his move immediately put him in the good graces of the lifestyle left and his support of striking hotel workers later that fall helped him with organized labor. Newsome coasted to reelection in 2007, winning nearly three-quarters of the citywide vote.

As he was ending his first mayoral term, Newsome’s backers were promoting their man as a strong candidate to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor in 2011, just as he would be completing his second term as mayor. These plans were derailed by two simultaneous personal embarrassments to Newsome: the acknowledgment that he had conducted a extramarital affair with his campaign manager’s wife during the dissolution of his marriage to former Victoria Secret model and current former Fox News hostess Kimberly Guilfoyle, and an announcement from Newsom that he would seek treatment for alcoholism, though he now claims that he never followed through with formal rehab and has resumed occasional drinking. After announcing his candidacy for governor in April 2009, 18 months before the election, he switched his objective to the lieutenant governor’s office later that fall once it became clear that Jerry Brown had a clear path to the top job. In an election that nationally rejuvenated the Republican Party owing to frustration with Obama’s Washington, Brown rode a wave of disillusionment with Schwarzenegger to victory and dragged along Newsom (who received half a million fewer votes than Brown) to Sacramento with him.

The Lieutenant Governor of California naturally has very little to do, so in many ways it is the perfect place for an aspiring politician to develop a statewide network and position himself for a future run for the big office (viz Gray Davis). Newsom set about styling himself as a leading advocate for technology (there’s big campaign money there, after all), and as both a member of the University of California Board of Regents and a trustee of the California State University system he dabbled in higher education policy, unsurprisingly coming out in favor of lower tuition and higher taxpayer contributions to the system. As he had done a decade earlier with gay marriage, Newsom jumped on the marijuana legalization bandwagon very early and advocated early parole for those convicted of drug-related crimes. This positioning paid off nicely as Newsom easily fended off what could have been a serious challenge from former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and coasted to victory in last fall’s gubernatorial race.

So what kind of guy is California getting as governor? For all of his earnest wokeness, Gavin Newsom is practically the definition of white privilege — er, White Privilege. He is at least the fourth generation of Newsoms to have attended college, and his father was a state appeals court judge and the attorney for Getty Oil, a connection which would grease the skids for young Gavin who had no problem raising capital to open his own winery and then expand the business which made him a multi-millionaire when he eventually sold his interests to embark upon his political career. Like his fellow Democrat Senator Kamala Harris, Newsom was guided into the San Francisco political world by the notorious fixer Willie Brown, though unlike the comely Ms. Harris, Newsome presumably maintained his feet on the ground throughout the mentorship.

Gavin Newsome reaches his (pen)ultimate dream tomorrow morning, but it may turn out that he’s grasping the poisoned chalice. Everyone from his predecessor to otherwise friendly newspaper opinion pages is warning that the strong economy might be in peril, and that the Golden State faces some serious challenges in pensions, education, housing, and water, issues that Brown left to fester during the past eight years, his victory lap notwithstanding. Considering the number of big-ticket items that Newsom has pledged to explore, from universal pre-K to paid work leave to universal healthcare for all state residents, even a slight slowdown in growth, let alone a recession, will make those plans little more than pipe dreams. The great white heterosexual male hope of progressives, perhaps the last one we see for a while in the intersectionality-obsessed Golden State, has his work cut out for him.


Sunday Music: Bach Christmas Oratorio, Parts 5 and 6 (BWV 248)

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the Epiphany of Our Lord. Today’s Bach music is Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, parts 5 and 6.

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 2:1-12:

The Magi Visit the Messiah

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The text of today’s piece is available here (Part 5) and here (Part 6). It contains these words:

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the Jewish lands at the time of King Herod, behold, there came sages from the east towards Jerusalem and said:

Where is the new-born King of the Jews?
Seek Him within my breast,
He lives here, to His and my delight!

. . . .

When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and with him all of Jerusalem.

. . . .

And he had all the high priests and interpreters of Scripture among the people gathered together, and inquired of them where Christ was supposed to be born. And they answered him: In Bethlehem in the Jewish lands: for thus it is written through the Prophets: and you, Bethlehem, in the Jewish lands, are by no means the least among the princes of Judah; for out of you shall come the leader to me, who shall be a Lord over my people Israel.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.1103 secs.