Hey Big Daddy,
It looks like every time I turn around, another Californian is being named to the Obama Cabinet. What gives? And what does it mean for California?
You’re right. President Obama is snatching up Californians faster than AIG is grabbing stimulus dollars. There’s Leon Panetta at the CIA; Steven Chu running the Energy Department; Hilda Solis at Labor; Ellen Tauscher doing whatever the hell it is she’s going to be doing. The list goes on.
I haven’t seen this many Californians in lofty Washington positions since a 1971 party at the Mayflower Hotel, the details of which I’m not at liberty to divulge, even now. While many of the people from that fateful gathering are no longer among us, there’s a certain former San Francisco Mayor who would likely take umbrage at me spilling the beans, even some 40 years later.
But it’s not only the Obama Cabinet that’s overflowing with Golden State mojo. Take a look at the muckity-mucks in Congress. The speaker, Nancy Pelosi, is a Californian. Henry Waxman chairs what is arguably the most powerful committee in the House. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer both chair powerful committees. And, then of course, there’s Rahm Emanuel. Sure, he’s technically from Illinois, but anyone who raises money, wields power, and cusses like that is an honorary Californian as far as I’m concerned.
Even on the Republican side, we’ve got a little pull. The human hair mop that is Kevin McCarthy is climbing the Republican Congressional ladder faster than Chuck Schumer running toward a television camera. And even good, old Darrell Issa is moving up the food chain as the ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee.
Perhaps this newfound power is simple retribution. During the Bush years, it was as if the United States ended at the Nevada state line. But now, it’s a whole new era. And it’s paying real dividends.
Take a look at the way the federal stimulus plans have been written. In many of the most important areas, like energy, the dollars are being handed out to programs exactly like the ones that we already have here in California. And it just so happens that the chairman of the House energy committee, the House Speaker and the Energy Secretary are all Californians. Coincidence? I think not.
There are rumors that Obama may not be done. He had originally targeted Xavier Becerra for Commerce, but that didn’t work out. Now, Mike Honda is lobbying for the top job at the Peace Corps like his life depended on it. Somewhere, I think Joe Simitian and Sally Lieber are rooting him on.
To all of this I say, it’s about time. California often gets slighted when Republicans are in power, and taken for granted when Democrats are in power. Sure, they all love coming out to raise money, but so often, California becomes a political afterthought. So, kudos to President Obama, and our Congressional powerbrokers. All that’s left now is to sit back and watch the pork roll West.