Ed Driscoll

Parentheses States Spot Icebergs, Do Little To Alter Course

First up, George Will profiles Tom Campbell, a potential GOP successor to Gov. Schwarzenegger in Sacramento:

The most ominous domestic event of the 1970s was the collapse of self-government in New York City, which before being put into receivership by the state was liberalism’s laboratory. Since then, California has been the slate on which liberalism boldly writes its recipe for decline — high taxes, heavy regulation, subservience to public employees unions and environmentalism that is simultaneously apocalyptic and chiliastic.

Because California’s calamitous present — creative accounting as a rickety bridge to the next budget crisis, coming soon — might prefigure the nation’s future, next year’s gubernatorial election is portentous. An especially intriguing candidate in a colorful field is Tom Campbell. Colorful he is not. “Talk softly and carry a small calculator” could be his motto. What glitter, however, are his résumé and agenda.

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Campbell’s two rivals for the Republican nomination — former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman and another tech entrepreneur, Steve Poizner, currently California’s insurance commissioner — are rich. Campbell is a professor. Whoever wins the nomination, he says, will quickly become flush with funds. Yes, but you cannot steal first base in politics either. How can he be nominated?

Like this, he says: Gray Davis, a professional politician of modest means, won the Democratic nomination in 1998 when two rich opponents nullified each other with media bombardments. Republicans are a shriveling tribe: Their registration is at a record low, 31.1 percent, and they do not have a majority of registered voters in any of California’s 53 congressional districts. Democrats have a registration majority in 20 districts, and a statewide registration advantage of more than 2 million and growing. But the fastest-growing cohort of voters are independents who can vote in either party’s primary. Campbell believes he is energizing them inexpensively by buying lists of likely voters (those who have voted in four of the past five elections), inviting 150,000 to call in to an enormous conference call, and discussing issues for 90 minutes with the 20,000 who do.

If nominated, Campbell will face either the once-exotic but still canny Jerry Brown, who will be 72 and perhaps familiar to a fault, or Gavin Newsom, 41, San Francisco’s dashing and evidently delusional mayor, whose campaign suggests that the bankrupt state’s biggest problem is its denial of same-sex marriage. If Campbell is nominated, he can win, but if Californians were sufficiently rational to nominate him, their state would not be shambolic.

Exactly. Meanwhile, self-proclaimed “former RINO” Jazz Shaw writes that in that equally shambolic parenthesis state on the opposite coast, “New York State of Mind Still Not Republican.”

Yes, just keep what you’re doing, New York. It’ll work eventually! In a related post over at Commentary, Jennifer Rubin explores the disconnect between the media-political complex and the rest of America and concludes:

If you have a sense that both the mainstream media and the Obama team are operating in a parallel universe you are right. The White House and Democratic Congress would rather risk the wrath of the voters and send the economy diving back for a double-dip recession with the imposition of tax hikes than set about seriously curtailing spending, including entitlements. Well, they won, we’ve been told. Let’s see if they have the nerve to use their power to pass the largest tax hike in history—before we’ve climbed out of the recession. You think voters are angry now—wait until the tax-hike town halls get going.

Hey, it’s either that or kick out the wealthy, as California’s Democrat Rep. Diane Watson proposes:

It was just mentioned to me by our esteemed speaker, “Did anyone say anything about the Cuban health system?”

And lemme tell ya, before you say “Oh, it’s a commu–”, you need to go down there and see what Fidel Castro put in place. And I want you to know, now, you can think whatever you want to about Fidel Castro, but he was one of the brightest leaders I have ever met. [APPLAUSE]

And you know, the Cuban revolution that kicked out the wealthy, Che Guevara did that, and then, after they took over, they went out among the population to find someone who could lead this new nation, and they found…well, just leave it there (laughs), an attorney by the name of Fidel Castro…

Of course, lots of California residents are way ahead of her.