Big Daddy

Big Daddy

Hey Big Daddy,
As a Republican, a real Republican, I can’t wait until 2010. What’s your sense of the Republican gubernatorial field?
–Hopeful in Hanford

Dear Hopeful,

I don’t mean to undermine your very core, given your moniker and all, but I’m not sure I’d get my hopes up if I were you.
I will say this – I admire your spirit. Where else but California can you have a party that is quickly becoming marginalized and regionalized – a party that has lost its grip on the Legislature, most Constitutional offices and, given the events of last weekend, reality – and still think you’ve got a real shot at grabbing the brass ring?

I’m not saying Republicans have no chance in 2010, but it’s going to take some kind of pocketbook to make that happen. Of course, lucky for you, that’s exactly what you’ve got.

Between the top two GOP gubernatorial candidates, along with U.S. Senate wannabe and First Amendment lover Carly Fiorina, you’ve got a trifecta of candidates with a net worth equal to a Democratic tax proposal – and that’s significant. Of course, of the three is equal to that of the cumulative political experience of my pet poodle, but I guess that’s exactly what you people find so appealing.
But as the saying goes, where there’s a few hundred million dollars, there’s a way. And Republicans may have some things working in their favor next year. The Democrats control just about every lever of power in Sacramento and Washington D.C. And the odds are, voters are still going to be mad in two years when we vote again, and are going to be looking for someone to take it out on. That means bad news for Democrats across the country.

But in California? It’s hard to know exactly what the party stands for anymore. As a result, you’re at the whim of whatever standard-bearer you choose – presumably either the guy with the glasses or the auctioneer. Sure, they’re rich, but so is Paris Hilton. That doesn’t mean she’s qualified to be governor.

The collective candidacies of Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner are another death knell in the concept of inclusive government. If you’re not rich enough to eat caviar on your Cheerios, or god forbid your daddy was never governor, how in the hell are you supposed to be able to run for office?

One thing’s for sure – there are about $100 million reasons why that primary fight is going to be ugly. And I’m not just talking a little-bit-of-a-hairlip ugly. I’m talking Dr. 90210-gone wrong ugly. Michael Jackson ugly. The Whitman vs. Poizner smackdown will have more mud than Wednesday night wrestling at the Tropicana. And frankly, I’m counting down the hours until both.

I meant that as a hypothetical, but the answer is, essentially, you’ve gotta be Gray Davis. Gray was a career politician, but also a ruthless fundraiser. You would be too if you were running against a checkbook with hairplugs, Al Checchi, and the Jane Harman, the Anna Nicole Smith of California politics.

Point being, that didn’t work out all that well. If there is any justice in this world, and that’s a big If, our next governor will be John Garamendi. Garamendi is the prototype for what a Califorina governor has been – plodding, white and boring as sin. He may be the human equivalent of the phone book, but that might be just the kind of governor California needs.   


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