The key question raised during Act II of Jerry Brown’s road show on the state budget in L.A. this week came from a local Long Beach vote grubber, as reported by the eagle eared Steve Harmon:
James Johnson, a Long Beach councilman, asked Brown how he intends to figure out the contradiction voters have between their desire to fully fund schools and their hostility to taxes.
Brown answered, partly in jest: “That’s why we’re here — we’re hoping one of you people will come up with it...
As cuspidated cartoonist Tom Meyer illustrates today, it is precisely this bifurcated attitude of pixie dust magical thinking among Californians that almost-Governor Krusty must confront and disabuse, lest he swiftly disappoint the Golden State populace, and find himself as instantly unpopular and despised as his recent predecessors.
While Calbuzz has eye-glazingly droned about this political phenomenon, it is a point worth repetition and elucidation (as demonstrated with some frequency by the “two Santa Claus theory” propounded by our friends over at Calitics , for example), the better to keep front of mind the electoral landscape that provides such fallow ground for the chronic polarization that afflicts habitues of the Capitol.
Bottom line: As he surveys this political topography, Brown could do worse than to consult the wisdom of Calbuzz’s favorite despot, Chairman Mao:
The cardinal responsibility of leadership is to identify the dominant contradiction at each point of the historical process and to work out a central line to resolve it.
Ho, ho, ho.
The audacity of audaciousness: Aging relics that we are, your Calbuzzards confess that we’ve been catching up on our sleep since all the excitement of last month’s election.
Nodding off at nappytime must have been the reason we missed the extraordinary news that Kamala Harris had been elected Queen of All She Surveys at some point over the last couple weeks.
What else could explain the overweening self-importance, pompous pretentiousness and garden variety delusions of grandeur that led Ms. Attorney General-elect to summon the state’s press corps to announce with trumpets blaring – Make Way, Make Way for the Empress of River City! – her “Transition Leadership Team,” a bloated and overblown engine of hot air and fecklessness festooned with gobbledegook about “best and brightest minds,” not to mention 11 – eleven, count ‘em, eleven – sub-committees and the enlisted services of Warren Christopher and George Shultz, California’s greatest living symbols of political decrepitude.
Transition to what? Give us a break.
“She’s got this queen complex and it will not play well here,” one veteran Sactown operative told us, summing up the prevailing cognoscenti view. “It’s ceremony for the sake of ceremony — all style, pomp and circumstance and no substance.”
Let us count the ways this thing is wrong, wrong, wrong:
1-Queen Kamala is stumbling into office on the weakness strength of a thoroughly underwhelming victory of 46.1-45.3% over L.A. DA Steve Cooley, a miniscule edge, eked out only after weeks of vote counting, which ain’t exactly what you like to call your sweeping mandate.
2-Landslide Harris clearly benefited from incumbent AG Brown’s coattails (or Meg Whitman’s undertow, depending on how you look at it) yet presumes to insult and trash by implication his stewardship of the office, declaring that now that SHE’s here, we can finally be about the work of deciding “how to fix the state’s broken criminal justice system,” as she modestly put it in her big announcement.
3-The new AG’s framing of her ascension as the Long-Awaited Arrival of the One is in sharp contrast to both Brown and Lite Gov-elect Gavin Newsom, who so far have handled their transitions in a low-key, no-frills way (despite following incumbents of the other party) more befitting, you know, a routine transfer of political power after an election.
4-Harris’s shaky record in San Francisco, with its botched handling of a cop killing, an illegal immigrant multiple murderer and a shameful scandal over tainted evidence that got scores of drug cases tossed, normally would have been enough to bury her, had she not opposed a guy who ran the worst campaign in the history of the world, but that, in any case, is not exactly a case study for developing what she brags will be “smart and innovative policies.”
5-The newbie top cop (not to mention the rest of us) would be better served by her spending at least a little time scouting out the bathrooms before leading us all into a golden age of law enforcement nirvana.
Much of Harris’s grandstanding, of course, likely has less to do with the operations of the AG’s office than with her wasting no time beginning to position herself for a future governor’s race. No matter how many pull-ups the 72-year old Krusty can do, younger ambitious Democrats (see: Villaraigosa, A.and Newsom, G.) can’t help but calculate the odds he’ll be a one-term governor and nobody wants to be left at the starting gate.
Must reads of the week or whatever:
Why April 11, 1954 was the most boring day in history.
You probably won’t be surprised to learn what America’s most annoying word is.
Terrific yarn from Neon Tommy about the guy who took the iconic picture of the Kent State massacre.
Amid all the chatter about Brown eyeing a special election, Timm Herdt seems to be the only one (besides Big Dan Walters Himself) who bothered to look at the calendar.
Both Peggy Noonan and Michael Gerson have excellent takedowns on the shabby way Obama handled the tax deal.
At least Krusty’s not alone.