Experts Expound

Experts Expound

So what’s Tom Steyer up to? Earlier, he reportedly was going to run for governor or U.S. Senate and he’s been taking lead roles on environmental protection issues. Steyer, who was just named to Politico’s list of the top 50 people to watch, has bankrolled two successful good-government campaigns and fought the Koch Brothers. So what’s in his political future in California?

Finally, a politically savvy billionaire who isn’t out trying to give other billionaires a tax break. The fact that he beat back the attempt to weaken the greenhouse gas law and closed the $1 billion corporate tax loophole counts for something.

As everyone knows, the California political landscape is littered with the carcasses of rich, first-time candidates who thought they could buy their way into public office — Al Checchi, Bill Simon, Carly Fiorinia, Meg Whitman. Voters have not taken kindly to these kinds of candidates, and despite his wealth, Steyer might be better advised to gain some actual public service experience before he decides to take the plunge for governor or Senate.

The political ego has now exceeded the size of the bank account. He wants to run for Gov in 2014 to seed a 2018 effort. Really!

Commenting on this would be like political insider trading but for the fact that Tom himself is really open about: he loves California; he sees climate change as an issue that is going to have an enormous impact on the economy and health of our people; and he believes we all have an obligation to do what we can to do right by our kids – the next generation – when it comes to the type of state, country and world we are leaving them… Tom’s concerns about the next generation is the driving force behind his giving away the majority of his wealth to community and philanthropic causes, as well as his political activisim… Some wealthy guys buy sports teams (and all Kings fans are thankful for that); some buy art; some circle the globe in yachts; some go on exotic big game hunting safari’s – Tom is a guy who really enjoys putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to policies he believes are in the best interests of our kids…

Rumors of his wanting to run abound as do rumors about him insisting on “his” version of an oil-severence tax that would send the money back to taxpayers (so not to raise it and give it to say…education!) Not much of a team player so hard to know more than that.

San Diego mayor spot may be open soon.

You put the words “billionaire” and “politics” together and you always seem to come up with a problem. Steyer seems to be different.

He seems to go his own way, and who can blame him? So far, he’s been successful, but when it comes to running for a statewide political office, he’ll face a level of scrutiny he’s never been subjected to before, including his finances, and he’s going to have to take the advice of others. Money is his strength, and money in a political campaign may be his weakness.

It’s just a matter of time before karma gets to him. His Quixotic hubris is pissing off a lot of people on both sides of the aisle, and when payback comes it won’t be pretty.

The last thing we need is yet another billionaire buying an office. Been there, done that.

The road to the Governor’s Office is littered with wealthy ideologues. If he is smart he will keep doing what he’s great at: financing progressive policy.

He’s a business guy who has shown the ability to translate into politics, which is attractive to business-minded Republicans and moderates. With the open primary and his ability to self-fund, he doesn’t have to play the same games as other Democratic candidates. If he’s able to navigate the crowded Democratic field without making too many enemies within the union establishment that calls the shots, the sky’s the limit.


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