Flea Market: Ensign-Newsom Sorry Similarities


ensignSex, Lies and Politics: The sordid tale of how Republican presidential wannabe and Nevada Sen. John Ensign had an affair with a campaign aide who happened to be the wife of a senior adviser in his Capitol Hill office  carries unfortunate echoes for Gavin Newsom.GavinNewsom

The San Francisco mayor and wannabe California Governor copped to a dangerous liaison involving an eerily similar triad two years ago, a scandal that came and went in S.F.’s laid back liberal culture, but is likely to resurface in the heat of Newsom’s first statewide campaign. (The GOP has already trotted it out on cable news.)

There is at least one big difference between les affaires politiques, however: Newsom to his credit stood up tall and accepted responsibility when he acknowledged the whole icky mess, while Ensign has spent the days since his admission trying to slime the unfortunate couple, who say their “lives have been ruined,” with shaky allegations of being blackmailed.

That said, the magnitude of the breach of trust involved with both cases is considerable. Former governor and ex-Marine Pete Wilson used to say that being in a political campaign with someone was the closest thing to going through war with them. Some way to treat your foxhole buddy, eh?

More on sex: A sharp-eyed reader opines that Calbuzz misread a recent L.A. Times analysis examining the impact of sex scandals involving Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa on the governor’s race; we characterized the piece as kissing off the importance of the political playboys’ wandering, um, eyes, but Cathy Decker’s nut graf, buttressed by an academic study, states that it will truly matter to some voters. Busted.

boxerangryBoxer Rebellion: Barbara Boxer’s snippy insistence that a military officer address her as “Senator” instead of “Ma’am,” – “I worked so hard to get that title” – offers a good measure of how fiercely she intends to fight to keep it.

Although we keep reading speculation about how formidable and well-financed former Silicon Valley executive Carly Fiorina will be as a Republican challenger when (if?) she finally gets into the arena, Boxer got a nice boost from an unlikely source this week when Steve Forbes, the erstwhile GOP presidential contender and silver spoon publisher bashed Fiorina is his new book, “Power Ambition Glory.”

“Examples of business leaders who rise to heights of corporate power only to be brought carly_fiorina_630xdown by their egos include…Carly Fiorina, former head of Hewlett-Packard,” Forbes writes. “As leaders of corporate empires, both failed because they focused on what flattered, instead of what mattered.”

There’s more: Fiorina was “high-handed,” “brusque” and “concerned more with publicizing herself and socializing with entertainers and high-fashion figures than with promoting HP and running the business.

“There were even rumors that she was positioning herself to run for political office.”  Imagine that.

Thanks to Calbuzzer CA Politech for the cites.

We Get Letters: Big Bad Dan Walters cries “foul” over our Fishwrap item that trashed the California press for whiffing on the no-go fed rescue of the state budget story. BeeDan sniffs at a WashPost piece we highlighted as “old news,” and forwards his column from May 22 saying “the Obama Administration said it couldn’t underwrite loans (for California) without congressional authority.”

Fair enough, but his column was referencing public congressional testimony, constructed with Clintonian obfuscatory precision (or precisely Clintonian obfuscation) by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner; the new Post piece advanced the ball considerably, reporting private White House meetings involving Obama’s big brain troika of Geithner, Lawrence Summers and Christina Romer…

Comment of the Week: Buddyg takes home a coveted “I’m a Calbuzzer” button for his calbuzzertake on our latest post on Senator Difi’s shifting position on the Employee Free Choice Act. As winner of our first Calbuzz Comment of the Week, he also gets his comment highlighted in full:

DiFi has always been too MOR for this state, on too many issues. In this case, she is also naive if she thinks there is a compromise that will give even ‘half a loaf’ to both sides.

There can be no denying that federal labor law is broken and employers regularly take advantage of that when resisting union campaigns and collective bargaining negotiations.

Simply put, the cost and consequences of violating the law are just not substantial enough to make it worthwhile for employers who don’t care about workers’ rights to comply. That is the reality, and has to be the analytical starting point, which of course, the Cs of C of the world will deny forever.

Until DiFi gets over the idea of (dis)pleasing everyone and realizes there is a right and a wrong on this, she will continue to be pressured. It would be fitting and just for labor to mount a campaign to knock her out of the box, and take Arlen Specter with her!”

— By Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine

subscribe to comments RSS

There are 5 comments for this post

  1. avatar Desert Observer says:

    BuddyQ may have earned an “I’m a CalBuzzer” button from you, but he won’t qualify for a “Yellow Dog Democrat” button from me. His comment “It would be fitting and just for labor to mount a campaign to knock her out of the box, and take Arlen Specter with her!” smacks of political cannibalism – something our party can do without. We don’t need labor, or anyone else out to feather their own nests, turning good Democrats out of office, and possibly opening the door to a dreadful minority party candidate. And frankly, until labor does some serious housecleaning and becomes a bit more democratic in their own houses, they really don’t deserve Democratic voter support for their Employee Free Choice Act political dream.

    • avatar 4oceans says:

      Okay, so CalBuzz can trace the oddities of the Ensign fiasco with the weirdness of the Gavin escapade…. But there are a bunch more tidbits of strangeness to these encounters. Not all to be aired here. But most interestingly, Gavin chose to ‘declare addiction’ as the excuse for his misadventure. Then, in the most unprecedented ‘treatment’ in the history of ‘addiction’ Gavin ‘entered rehab’ WITHOUT ACTUALLY GOING To
      REHAB….. He never actually did any ‘treatement’ that could explain or resolve his sexually random deeds. That is the more interesting aspect of the Gavin story. Gavin’s was a total PR coup. The beautiful woman involved never even said bo about the whole fun time. We’ll see if the old hypocrite Ensign can get so lucky…..

    • avatar 4oceans says:

      Oh… and here is one other story where you could just cut and paste the names of the ‘young’ guys in the governor’s contest:

      Antonio Villaraigosa has himself to blame for not running for governor
      Right now, he knows he can’t win, given all the self-inflicted damage he’s done.
      Steve Lopez
      2:58 PM PDT, June 22, 2009
      » Discuss Article (94 Comments)

      Of course L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said no to a run for governor.

      What else could he say?

      You can’t do a mediocre job, get lukewarm support in the polls, and announce one week before the start of your second term that you’re graduating to bigger challenges. That’d be like getting a 2.0 GPA in high school and announcing you’d like to be a brain surgeon.

      Although Villaraigosa had already made it clear he was probably going to bow out of the race, there was our guy on CNN with Wolf Blitzer this afternoon, making it official on national television. Pure Antonio. He actually thinks the rest of the country cares.

      “I can’t leave this city in the middle of a crisis,” he said. “It’s as simple as that.”

      Because of our crisis?

      Here’s a bulletin:

      He’s not running because at the moment, he knows he wouldn’t win, given all the self-inflicted damage he’s done by way of empty public promises and dubious private choices.

      Trust me, if he still thought he had a chance, he’d be scratching at the doors of donors in every ZIP code. And if state Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown or San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom stumble any time soon, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Villaraigosa back in the race, provided he had enough time to raise the loot.

      Don’t bet on that happening, though, until he rehabilitates himself.

      I’m hoping that one day he’ll be bound for glory again. At the moment, however, he’s the little engine who couldn’t.

  2. avatar miquel95929 says:

    Gavin only did a Half Ensign because he was single at the time. Another distinction is that as you said Gavin took responsibility and cleaned up his act. The Third difference is that Ensign is a total hypocrite for calling on Clinton to resign over his affair and he was only doing a Half Ensign.

  3. avatar Buddyg says:

    Desert Observer, I don’t think it’s necessary to explain the mutual back-scratching aspect of politics. Labor has strongly backed Democrats for decades (and strongly backed Obama), yet at the national level over that period, we have witnessed the decline of the middle class, the decline of unionism, the (concomitant) rise of income inequality and corporate abuse, and the Dems barely lifting a finger to promote long-overdue labor law reform. Why do members of the working/middle class have to waft coffee under Feinstein’s nose in the year 2009? You have nothing to say about the main point of my post — that labor law is broken and employers actually use its flaws to club workers over the head — and that is what DiFi still needs to absorb, or be tossed out for failing to do so. Since she hasn’t recognized this problem in her long stint in office, and shows no signs of doing so now (and neither does Specter) — surely the Dems can come up with a candidate of significant stature to replace her (and him).

    As for unions cleaning their own houses, that is an ongoing process, it is a dodge to divert attention from the far more damaging and widespread corporate abuse that has incapacitated our economy, and it is also a diversion from the fundamental (if apparently inconvenient for DO) truth that they are the best vehicle working people have to maintain their heads above water and improve the lives of their children and grandchildren.

    Unions have been taken for granted by the Dems for far too long, but the only way that won’t continue to happen is if labor is viewed as being responsible for tossing out anti-labor and labor-indifferent pols and replacing them with people who don’t just say they care about working people, but actually do something about it.

Please, feel free to post your own comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.