Governor Dianne Feinstein?—The Horror!
In my last two columns (here
here), I`ve thoroughly raked
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger over the coals for
his failure to recognize the
twin threats that
illegal immigration and predatory banking represented to the
But there remains a single good news nugget
Schwarzenegger that I failed to mention.
In 2010, Schwarzenegger terms out. A
California Governor can
only serve two terms.
long list of potential candidates stands in the wings to
take Schwarzenegger`s place.
For some, their chances are so remote that
they will certainly drop out early on. But either of two
Democratic survivors versus a new GOP face may present
Californians with a curious choice.
Let`s look at
some of the most likely to throw their hat into the ring and
assess their chances.
Poizner, Republican, 500-1.
Poizner holds California`s least sexy elected office:
insurance commissioner. Even though Poizner has been
campaigning for several months, no one knows outside of
policy wonks know who he is. Poizner`s
official website doesn`t mention immigration.
Governor John Garamendi,
Garamendi has Poizner`s problem: Californians don`t
recognize him. That`s too bad because, in fact, he`s one of
Sacramento`s more engaging politicians. Garamendi owns a
1,000-acre ranch in the Sierra Nevada foothills where he
raises Black Angus cattle.
But Lt. Governor is a bad place from which to
launch a campaign.
Governor Cruz Bustamante had higher name recognition than
Garamendi, but that didn`t save
buried by Schwarzenegger in the 2003 special
Davis election. (Bonus points to any
reader who can tell me where Bustamante is doing today and
what he`s doing. Answer at end of article!)
Campbell, Republican, odds:
400-1. Campbell is better known on Capitol
Hill than in California.
Campbell, who served five non-consecutive
Congressional terms, lost to Dianne Feinstein in his 2000 bid to
become U.S. Senator. His biggest albatross is that, as
budget director, Campbell has a lot of explaining to do
about his role in the state`s current crisis.
Campbell has always been terrible on
immigration. While in Congress,
his grade was “F”.
Mayor Gavin Newsom,
Francisco” anywhere outside the
and Californians think
where violent illegal aliens can find safe harbor,
gay marriage and California`s least affordable city. The
concept of San Francisco just does not play well outside the
I don`t care what you may read to the contrary
or how much you hear about the
“influential” Hispanic vote, Villaraigosa will not be
California`s next governor
Villaraigosa has Newsom`s image problems
multiplied by ten. Exactly what platform would Villaraigosa run
on: how effectively he`s managed the city, how brilliantly he`s
educational excellence to Los Angeles` school system or how
moral code can serve as an inspiration to Californians?
Los Angeles is a crime-pit
by the country`s
violent gangs. The
Unified School District, which Villaraigosa tried
unsuccessfully to take over, is hopeless. And Villaraigosa`s
public adulterous affair would be a nagging problem in a
add to Villaraigosa`s problems his
ethnic identity politics, his
unimpressive re-election earlier this month, Los Angeles`
traffic congestion, the city`s
disinterest in politics (in last June`s state primary
elections — primaries are the first crucial gubernatorial
hurdle — just 14 percent of the Los Angeles County adults who
were eligible to vote cast ballots), it`s impossible to envision
platform he would campaign on.
inescapable conclusion is that
Villaraigosa`s gubernatorial prospects are dim, at best.
Among voters, Whitman isn`t well known yet.
the company that created her billion-dollar wealth, is.
contributor Rob Sanchez told me that Whitman`s riches were,
in part, earned off the sweat of cheap labor. When I asked Rob
H-1B visas eBay employs, he answered: “A lot!”
Whitman has a ton of problems. Not only is
she a political rookie, Whitman has been a Republican for less
than two years.
And until the idea of becoming California`s
governor struck her, Whitman demonstrate little interest in
Records from her home
San Mateo County showed that Whitman didn`t vote in more than
half the federal, state and local elections since 2002 including
every primary vote since along with such important GOP elections
as the 2003 recall that ousted Davis and the
2005 special election that Schwarzenegger had billed as
crucial to reform California`s government. [Whitman
Boosts Her GOP Credentials, by John
Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, September 4, 2008]
Still, the Republicans have to nominate
someone. And as of today, Whitman is the GOP candidate
creating the most buzz. But if Republicans think that a
political neophyte—no matter how much money she has— could beat
an experienced Democrat, they`re
whistling past the graveyard.
Attorney General, former governor and former Oakland mayor,
Here`s where it gets interesting. Brown has
name recognition, charisma, money and campaigning skills.
Since Brown`s previous terms in office are not
covered by the term limits that came into effect in 1990, he is
not barred from
running for Governor again. He
recently admitted that he`s
“plotting” about how to get back to Sacramento.
political resume is long and he could appeal to a large
voter base, especially in this motley field. Brown`s career
spans terms on the Los Angeles Community College Board of
Trustees (1969-1971), as
California Secretary of State (1971-1975), as
Governor of California (1975-1983), as chair of the
California Democratic Party (1989-1991), the
(1998-2006), and the
Attorney General of California (2007-present).
Notice that depending on where he`s stumping,
Brown`s curriculum vitae conveniently allows him to be
“from” either northern or southern California.
Even though Brown unsuccessfully sought the
Democratic presidential nominations in
1992, and was also an
unsuccessful Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 1982,
Pete Wilson, he`s an effective campaigner.
Brown can point disgruntled voters to
two prudent incidents that would resonate with today. After
being elected governor, Brown declined to host an Inaugural Ball
and dinner, choosing instead to take an intimate group to
Man Fook Low,
a Los Angeles Chinese restaurant. And while governor, Brown
refused to ride in chauffer-driven in a limousine. Brown
Sacramento either on foot or in his
1974 Plymouth sedan.
And in 1971—long before they became the
pariahs they are today— Brown
sued oil companies
for illegal campaign donations.
U.S. Senator, Democrat, 3-1
Feinstein represents the big “if” in
the governor`s race. “If” she chooses to run, Feinstein
would be the favorite, according to the
Field Poll that put her “favorable” rating among
Californians at 50 percent.
But “if” Feinstein stays in the Senate,
then Brown jumps into the lead. [Feinstein
An Early Favorite For California Governor,
KCBS, March 5, 2009]
Here`s a four-part scenario:
For Feinstein and Whitman, neither of whom has officially
declared themselves candidates, the gubernatorial nomination
is theirs for the taking.
Should they both enter the race, both will win their party`s
primary. And Feinstein would be the odds on favorite to win
the general election.
If, however, Feinstein and Whitman come to their senses,
realize that being California`s governor is not worth the
endless headaches and drop out, the Democratic nomination
will go to Brown. Brown would then go on to win comfortably
against one of the lesser light Republican candidates,
In short, everything revolves around
Feinstein. If she enters the race, she`s probably the next
I cannot think of development that should
terrify Californians more than the prospect of Governor
When I lived in California, I wrote
often and at length about Feinstein`s failures as a Senator.
She`s strongly pro-immigration (recent
grade, F-), promotes
trade and encourages the importation of more foreign-born
Feinstein`s policies have devastated
And last week, Feinstein delivered another
to reeling Californians.
Although the state`s unemployment rate is
10.1 percent, one of the nation`s highest, Feinstein turned
her back on U.S. workers when
she voted to table an amendment that would have extended for
program that assures that prospective employees are legal
There`s one more “if” in the equation,
however—possibly the most important one.
the primary, or Whitman, during the in election, attack
Feinstein and hammer away at her
foreign-born worker favoritism records, then either one
could possibly pull of a stunning upset.
But if worst happens and Feinstein prevails,
then expect terrified Californians to jump into their vans and
join me in
(P.S. Answer to Cruz quiz: after his
loss in 2006 to Poizner for California`s Insurance Commissioner,
the shamed Bustamante became something of a health guru.
Referring to himself during his campaign as “obese,”
Bustamante lost about 50 pounds to get his weight down to 225.
Bustamante developed low-fat recipes like
“Cruz`s Healthy Breakfast Frittata”.
I have no idea what Bustamante`s frittata
future may bring him. But his political career is toast.
him] is a California native
who recently fled the state because of over-immigration,
over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He
has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the
growth rate stable. A
long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School,
Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It
currently appears in the