Calbuzz joined in the festivities at Cal State Monterey Bay last week when a jovial Carmel Valley walnut rancher we’re lucky enough to know was honored by some 300 or so Central Coast movers and shakers for his service to the good ol’ US of A.
The honoree – Leon Panetta – has certainly earned the outpouring of affection and praise he received. This is a guy who served as Congressman, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, White House Chief of Staff, Director of the CIA and Secretary of Defense. In the meantime, he founded the Panetta Institute for Public Policy at CSUMB, which trains young people for service in government and politics.
Oh, and did we mention that he was the CIA Director who – after seven years of Bush administration failure — oversaw the finding and disposing of Osama Bin Laden?
Loyal Calbuzzers know that we have long been fans of Leon Panetta, even before we smacked Sen. Dianne Feinstein for her initial objection to president-elect Barack Obama naming him as director of the CIA.
“Sorry, Sen. Feinstein, that the news leaked out before you could be briefed or suggest your own candidate for the job. But having frozen Panetta out of the California governor’s race in 1998 by not deciding whether to run until he had no chance of lining up financial backing, now would be a good time to stand aside and let him rise to the occasion,” we said then.
“Let’s be glad that president-elect Barack Obama has selected someone who will not be cowed by the testosterone-poisoned atmosphere of the ‘intelligence community.’ And let’s savor the fact that Panetta is a man of integrity, intelligence and humility – a rare set of qualities in a CIA director.”
Which he was, in spades. As well as a terrific Secretary of Defense. (Read this fabulous profile by Julia Prodis Sulek for more.)
So when we had a minute to chat with Panetta, we noted that there was still another job he could do – serve as governor of California.
“Only if they’ll appoint me,” Panetta said with a chuckle – a wry reference to the grueling fund-raising and campaigning it takes to win the office of governor.
Which brings us to this: Jerry Brown has demonstrated the wisdom of picking a senior citizen for governor who has no higher ambition, no ulterior motives, nothing to prove and no one to please. So Panetta, who is 74, seems to us perfectly suited to become California’s next governor — after Brown.
He’s in excellent health, is as brilliant as ever and dedicated to nothing but seeing democratic government work as it’s supposed to. As he said at his own welcome home party:
“There’s a fundamental dysfunction when people cannot come together to find solutions to the problems facing this country. It takes risk. If you’re an elected leader, damn it, you have to take risks in order to be able to achieve what needs to be done.”
So, you deep-pocket, do-good Democrats – form a committee that can put together $40 million or so and draft Leon as your candidate. And tell Gavin, Kamala, Antonio and anyone else who would get in the way, to stand down.
That, Leon, would be as close as you can get to an appointment.
Calbuzz Honored Again Herewith is a shot of one of your faithful Calbuzzards (this one having been on six-month assignment investigating the status of the American health care system) enjoying the glow of the trophy purportedly presented to Calbuzz for having won three straight listings on the Best State Political Web Sites from the Fix at the Washington Post.
The San Francisco Giants, with only two in a row, are struggling to keep pace with the Calbuzz threepeat. But we have offered tips to Bruce Bochy on how to keep the magic alive. Our secret — fart jokes and spit balls.