PARIS —Here in the City of Light, where authorities keep busy rounding up immigrants and removing lovers’ locks from the Pont des Arts, traffic came to a screeching halt on the Champs Élysées when word came that Rho Khanna is re-challenging Mike Honda for Silicon Valley’s 17th District seat in the U.S. Congress.
“Mon Dieu!” cried Pierre LaPeu, smacking his head with a force that drove his chapeaux into la gouttiere.
“Enfin, nous avons de l’espoir dans la Vallée de Silicium!”
Paris, where there appear to more smart phones per capita than anywhere on the globe, is quivering with anticipation that the center of innovation half a world away might wind up with someone in Congress who is, how do you say, “awake.” Tres eveille!
At Sennielier, the 128-year-old art store on Quai Voltaire where impressionists have bought custom paints, canvas and brushes for generations, Khanna vs. Honda is all the talk. “Your Mike Honda is almost as old as Charles de Gaulle, n’est-ce pas?” asked one patron, a Gauloises dangling from his lip.
Khanna’s All-Stars. The Calbuzz International Wine Sampling and Croissant Munching Desk reached out via email to consultant Joe Trippi and pollster Paul Maslin, newly signed on for Khanna, for an assessment of their chances. Trippi, the former night clerk at the fleabag Vendome Hotel in downtown San Jose, who later virtually invented online campaign tactics in the U.S., apparently exhausted himself telling Josh Richman of the Bay Area News Group:
This is a place I consider home, and I’ve always been someone who thinks we need fresh thinking and new blood in the Democratic Party — and in Washington in particular — considering the challenges we’re facing.
Maslin, one of the most sensible partisan pollsters in American politics (well, except for that stint for Ross Perot; we digress), offered:
The substantial increase in turnout that a presidential year will invariably produce should work to the benefit of a candidate such as Ro Khanna. These mostly younger voters with weaker partisan affiliation simply want results– and if that means a break from an incumbent and instead embracing a younger challenger– so be it.
In their last head-to-head, Honda won by 3.6 percent, after labor loyalists declared Khanna the tool of billionaires and selfish Silicon Valley interests.
As Calbuzz spelled out then, Khanna is actually a progressive, enviro-Democrat who diverges from party orthodoxy on some economic issues that put him at odds with down-the-line labor Democrats.
Here, in the Parisian Latin Quarter, all Americans — whether Indo- or Japanese- — all look pretty much the same. What matters is whether they can stay up late enough for dinner at 10 p.m.
Which Khanna can.