Sunday, November 01, 2009


Fox News, Jerry Brown, etc.

Unless you are brand new to this site, you know that I am an opinionated old Democrat. Today I have several things to rant and opinionate about.

A few days ago Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco and bright young hopeful to become the successor to Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor of California, announced that he was abandoning the race. He hasn't been able to raise enough money to put on an effective campaign. That leaves the Honorable Jerry Brown as the sole major contender for the Democratic Nomination.

Mr. Brown was governor before, following Ronald Reagan and preceding George Deukmegian. Brown didn't do such a good job as governor the first time. Perhaps he wants to correct some of the mistakes he and other former governors have made. Proposition 13 was passed during Brown's terms of office. He wasn't able to persuade the legislature to put in place something as a substitute for 13. Well, actually, there was a Proposition 8 that year that addressed the same problem, but it went nowhere. The public was gung-ho to cut taxes, protect the business interests of landlords, and all that. Perhaps I shouldn't be too hard on poor Jerry.

My problem now, as a Democrat, is that I don't believe Jerry can win. I don't believe the voters are about to give him his second chance. I have to look at the Republicans in the race and try to decide which one of them I dislike the least.

I heard Meg Whitman the other day on the radio. Patt Morrison was interviewing her. Unlike nearly everyone who has commented on the disfunctionality of California's government, she didn't subscribe to the idea that California has become ungovernable because of the very structures that voters have put in place with our easy initiative process. Her idea is that what is needed is someone as governor who will show leadership. What she means is the kind of leadership she has shown running a large corporation. To her leadership means the willingness to fire 10,000 or more state employees if that's what is needed to keep expenses within the limits of the tax revenue the Republicans in the legislature are willing to accept.

I know very little about Steve Poizner. He has been the state Insurance Commissioner, a position first held by John Garamendi. Mr. Garamendi made the office an advocate for the users of insurance rather than the purveyors. Those of his successors who were Republicans have tilted the advocacy toward the insurance companies. I can't say the same about Mr. Poizner. As the only Republican among the state-wide elected officials, he has managed to keep a low profile.

I think I know a little about Tom Campbell. He used to have the reputation of being a rather "liberal" Republican when he was in the state legislature. I don't know where he stands today on the question of getting rid of the 2/3 vote in the legislature, universal single-payer health insurance for California, legalization of gay marriage, the right of women to choose to terminate a pregnancy, and other issues that I care about. Based on what was said and written about him a dozen or more years ago, I tend to believe that his positions on these things are closer to mine than are those of Meg Whitman or other "real" Republicans.

Sometimes I fantasize about changing my registration to Republican just so I can vote for Campbell in the Republican Primary next year. Of course, that's just a fantasy and it wears off quickly. My father and his father would both roll over in their graves if I were to leave the Democratic reservation.

Another issue that nags at me is the rather extreme partiality of Fox News for Republicans, particularly conservative Republicans. I often argue with H and R that Fox puts out a lot of "news" that just isn't so. My friend S points out that Fox presents both regular news and news comment. The comment is provided by such pundits as Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. Mr. Obama has recently taken on Fox News and is trying to discredit the organization. That's probably a mistake. Make Fox a martyr and people will flock to watch and listen to it. Better to take the position that the existence of Fox News is a small price to pay for the blessings of free speech.

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