Can Peter Thiel Save California?
Back in the sixties and seventies when the Mamas and the Papas recorded “California Dreamin’’ and The Beach Boys were wishing us “Good Vibrations” and Hollywood was making movies like The Godfather and Chinatown, I thought my adopted city -- L.A. -- was the center of the known universe and a good portion of the unknown universe as well.
Now… not so much.
Yeah, I know Silicon Valley and all that. And we have our own Silicon Beach (I think they call it). But Hollywood is a ghost of itself and, frankly, everybody in the Bay Area to down here in Lalaland is living out the umpteenth lifestyle rerun of old Doors and Jefferson Airplane albums fifty, or is it sixty, years later.
Hell, we’ve got the same governor we always did for what seems like a hundred years (actually a record 13 years in two sessions) -- His Grooviness Zen Jerry who was supposed to be this great original, this innovator. But can anyone tell me what he has innovated, other than an unbuilt bullet train the Japanese had in 1962 (true -- look it up) and nobody wants anymore?
So what if grass is legal. Was it ever really illegal?
No, California has morphed into the most pseudo-progressive, self-satisfied, moribund place on Earth (even if it is rich and the world’s sixth biggest economy, ahead of France. Who cares about France anyway?).
Enter Peter Thiel -- putative gubernatorial candidate, according to Politico.
Wait a minute -- a gay Republican is going to run for governor? I thought Republicans were an extinct life form in California. After Arnold was governor, most of the remaining Republicans committed harakiri out of shame, didn't they?
And gay Republicans?
Well, there are more of them, just as there are more of everything in California, than you could shake the proverbial stick at.
And a Trump supporter as well. Hol-lee! I thought Trump supporters were shot, excuse me, tased on sight if they ever ventured west of Bakersfield.
Well, to be clear, and to contradict myself (as usual), wasn’t it in California that those Trumpiest of the Trumpians, Matt Drudge and Andrew Breitbart (prematurely, but he would have been and now all his acolytes are), met to work their magic? Actually Breitbart sometimes did the Drudge Report from my house. And don’t forget it was here in L.A. that that famous anti-Semite Steve Bannon made his fortune backing that famous anti-Semitic television series Seinfeld.
Frankly, I’m excited. (No, not sexually. I'm boringly cis-gendered.) Someone, some thing, might take California out of its endless, tedious liberal-progressive loop. A one-party state is not a good thing (unless you like, say, Belarus).
For a recent example of said one-party loop, try our new senator, Kamala Harris, questioning Trump’s CIA director pick, Mike Pompeo, on global warming during the latter's confirmation hearing. The woman seemed like a cyborg, spouting rote talking points programmed in by a neo-Stalinist who got lost on the way to the International. Pompeo did a great job of rolling his eyes, discreetly. Seems like he'll make a good DCIA.
But I digress. Thiel. As we all know, he was one of the pioneers of Silicon Valley -- Facebook and PayPal. He was, in my estimation, the best speaker at the Republican convention, both conventions really, the only one who wasn't... ba-da-boom... conventional. (Okay, maybe that wasn't a high bar.) He's also the author of a book that was one of my favorite reads last year (imagine saying that of a politician): Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future.
To have someone in the State Capitol in Sacramento with Thiel’s creativity would be extraordinary, scratch that, astonishing. He might make the most libertarian governor in American history. At one point Thiel was advocating building islands off the California coast for young entrepreneurs to start their companies and avoid taxes and regulations. He also was going to pay them not to go to college, which he considered a waste of time. He definitely has a point there. And think of the savings to the bloated University of California system.
But could he win?
I dunno. Could Trump?
Okay, it will be a little more difficult out here in the land of fruit and nuts, but stranger things have happened. What we don’t want is more politicians, particularly California politicians who are politicians squared or maybe cubed. (Remember Big Daddy Unruh?) Time for experimentation. I wasn't "ready for Hillary," but "I'm ready for Peter."
And I have a suggestion for him. If, after a few months, the polling looks bad, he could ankle the Republican Party and run on a secessionist ticket. He might win in a landslide. He and Donald are friends. They could work it out. A win-win for everybody.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn't Already. Follow him on Twitter @rogerlsimon.