As every schoolchild knows by now, thanks to the indispensable good work of the California Budget and Policy Center, the federal government underpins about one-third – nearly $100 billion – of California’s current year $267 billion budget.
As a practical matter, this means there is one and only one political story that matters to the citizens of the state for the foreseeable future: how will California’s elected leaders fend off Despicable Donald Trump, America’s 46-percent president, an Ayn Rand Congress and the most destructively reactionary administration ever assembled (excepting the disturbed fantasy life of Jon Fleischman during his Young Republican days).
With that political landscape in mind, here is what we recommend the Golden State’s top political talents adopt as their resolutions for New Year’s 2017.
That old Beltway bromide – “Every Senator looks in the mirror and sees a President” – needs updating, thanks to Queen Kamala and her busy little circle of sycophants, who started whispering about a 2020 White House run even before she’s been sworn into the job to which she was just elected. Memo to Ms. Fearless for the People: California just lost a quarter century of hard-won Senate experience, so it would be nice if you’d spare us a few minutes for doing something substantive to combat nascent fascism before heading off to Iowa and New Hampshire.
Dianne Feinstein. Live long and prosper. Some more.
Every time we hear some political genius tick off a field of candidates for DiFi’s Senate seat in 2018, we have the same reaction – better check with Dianne. Given her psyche, her private ruminations about retirement would be enough to fill a fat psychology textbook, but the rise of Trump makes the question far more perilous than a mere matter of personality or speculative scenarios; the plain fact is, she’s one of the few major D.C. weapons Democrats have left to battle the no-checks-no-balance new world, which makes Higher Power petitioning for her continued salubriousness a smart idea.
The House Majority Leader is all-in with Republican Speaker Paul Ryan and their right-wing towel boys in vowing to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Week 1 of the FLTOS (Fat Lying Tub of Shit) presidency. But McCarthy also is the representative of the Central Valley’s 23rd Congressional District, where nearly half the residents are on Medi-Cal and a quarter-million people have obtained health insurance since Obamacare took effect; here’s a desperate wish that Smilin’ Kevin miraculously does the right thing for his people instead of his party.
L.A.’s mayor, presiding over several million people Trump has promised to deport, needs to step up and take a national leadership role in fending off Wheat Top’s vicious promised policies. Many of the 66 million voters who opposed the 46-percent president live in America’s cities, so Garcetti needs to coordinate closely with NYC’s Bill de Blasio, Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel and other urban executives to form a defensive wall against what’s been dubbed a “bloc of island nations.”
Jerry Brown’s astute pick to fill out Kamala’s term as A.G. quite clearly has the political and communications chops to perform superbly in the role of chief foil to Trumpkins. What we don’t know yet, however, is whether he can muster and manifest the large-scale legal smarts and muscle needed to bog down FLTOS in a protracted war of attrition that not only confounds the one-party feds but also drives Dear Leader even crazier than he already is.
A few months after our founding, back in 2009, Calbuzz got the first interview in which then-Attorney General Brown discussed seeking an unprecedented second bite at being governor, and we admit we came away a little dubious about his big idea of governing as “an apostle of common sense.” Today, no one but the rankest partisan could look at his performance over the past six years and judge him anything but an unqualified success; under the circumstances, that’s why California would be well-served by having him stick around for another four or eight years, although Willie Brown’s notion of dispatching Jerry to the Senate if DiFi does step down ain’t a bad second choice.
The (all rise) Speaker and state Senate President came strong right out of the box with tough anti-Trump rhetoric and promises the day after the election, vowing to protect the state’s progressive policies on immigration, environment and health care against the Dark Side.
However, we’re still waiting to hear exactly how they intend to replace those zillions of dollars the FLTOS and his gang of hyped-up hyenas are crazy and cruel enough to stop sending westward.
Any race in which Gavin Newsom, America’s top model spokesman for adolescent hair products, is the purported front-runner is open for business, so here’s hoping that the zillionaire hedge fundsman turned progressive activist adds interest by joining the throng lining up for the 2018 gubernatorial sweepstakes. Steyer decidedly does not fit the historically failed profile of an outsider business executive seeking a second career that starts at the top of the political ladder; he’s conscientiously paid his dues, investing plenty of time and labor, as well as money, on climate change, voter registration and other crucial issues.
Pelosi is an historic figure who not only became the first woman Speaker but also stiffened Obama’s spine and willed universal health coverage into being when her party had a narrow window to do so. That said, she’s also presided over the loss of the House and a steady decline in Democratic numbers so that she’s now her party’s face of failure. At this dangerous time, it would be suicidal for D’s to switch leaders for a greenhorn, but she should commit to grooming a successor this term and then call it quits.
California’s smartest Republican was smart not to say anything incriminating about Trump during the campaign, but just as the state party chairman’s grassroots effort to rebuild the GOP in the state was generating some green shoots, along came the FLTOS to hand two-third legislative majorities back to the Dems.
In a year when Republicans seized control of every piece of indoor plumbing east of the Mississippi, Californians saw right through Trump’s con act – dealing him a 4.3 million vote defeat in which he racked up a grand total of 31.9 percent of the vote which, to be fair, still exceeded GOP’s pathetic 26 percent of statewide registration. One step forward, two steps back, big fella.
Happy friggin’ New Year to all.