Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Good News: California Gets A New Senator


Yeah, Biden picked Kamala Harris as his running mate. It was probably the smart political move-- certainly better than Susan Rice, who he really wanted. Everyone seems to like the idea. Obama, who probably had a lot of influence on this choice, said "Joe Biden nailed this decision." David Axelrod coined a new word: "Kamalat." I can't imagine there is one Democratic Party careerist who isn't saying something positive, effusive, supportive. I'm not a Democratic Party careerist so let me just say I never voted for her when she ran for anything here in California and I'll be happy to keep that record going in November. Oh, yeah, she's absolutely better than Biden. I wonder if she'll try to talk him into keeping her pal Mnuchin in place after they win. In any case... I'm way more interested in who Gavin Newsom picks to replace her in the Senate, where she actually does have a stellar voting record, significantly to the left of where Newsom stands on most things.

The most reasonable-- relatively speaking-- right out of the box public comment I saw from any official group came from PDA executive director Alan Minsky:
As we saw during her own presidential campaign, Kamala Harris is a political weather vane. First she was for Medicare for All, then she wasn't. She failed for years to hold police accountable for gross misconduct in California, then touted her commitment to police accountability in the wake of George Floyd's murder. While her penchant for taking positions broadly palatable to the corporate donor class raises concerns about her dedication to progressive principles, her habit of aligning her stance with the prevailing political winds gives us some hope. We will fight every day to hold Vice President Harris to the higher ideals she often espouses, and make sure those winds blow decisively in the direction of a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and a level playing field for working families everywhere.  
Someone knocked on my door the other day. I wasn't expecting anyone. A door knock is strange these days. It was a young lady, appropriately masked, holding a clip board. She asked me to sign a petition for a recall of our bungling corporate Democratic governor. I was happy to. A friend of mine, from the upper echelon of the Democratic Party, called me 2 minutes after Biden announced that he had chosen Kamala as his running mate. My friend told me she hopes Newsom appoints himself to the Senate seat-- "At least we'd get him out of the state."

I don't think this Senate seat is going to a white male, not even one named Newsom. Cross front-runner Adam Schiff off the list, as well as desperate hopefuls Eric Swalwell and John Garamendi. I doubt Newsom will sell it to Tom Steyer. And, I know the whole genealogy thing, but-- like it or not-- Eric Garcetti is viewed as a white man.

My guess is that Newsom's going to pick a proven, well-qualified person with a minority background. There was an on-line rumble for Katie Porter but a freshman congresswoman (also white) is probably not what Newsom has in mind. I also think he's looking for someone from Southern California, which leaves out two other social media heroes-- Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna.

That leaves six people I think he's going to look at-- well, five, because he's not really going to look at Kevin De Leon because he hates him and, Kevin is probably going to run for mayor of L.A. anyway. My list is of all southern Californians, all accomplished members of minority communities and all probably popular choices. Congressmembers Karen Bass and Ted Lieu have a ton of relevant experience-- she was Speaker of the Assembly and he wrote and passed the best legislation out of Sacramento in decades. She's an African-American and he's an Asian-American. He's also a veteran, not a bad thing in the state with the most vets; and he's wildly popular for his outspoken criticism of Trump. If I was making the choice, I can't see how I would pick anyone but Ted. But I'm not; Newsom is and I imagine he's most likely going to chose a Latino.

So... Hilda Solis is very progressive, a former congresswoman who Obama picked to be his Secretary of Labor. She's currently an L.A. County Supervisor. I'd love to see her get the job and I think she'd be a great senator Californians would love.

Xavier Becerra is also a former member of Congress, currently serving as Attorney General, having taken that position when Harris left it to become a senator. He was once thought of as potentially "the next Speaker of the House" and he's been good at the jobs he's had and would also be a relatively popular choice.

I hear, though, that Newsom likes Alex Padilla, the Secretary of State, more. Presumably, a lot will be riding on how smooth the November elections in California go since that's Padilla's biggest job. (The new voting machines in L.A. sure suck bad and thanks to Brad Friedman I now don't know for certain if that's Padilla's fault or not.)

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At 5:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do the optics of replacing a woman with a man matter?

At 7:28 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

I like Becerra he’s a progressive but knowing Newsom & who he represents he’s going Establishment mode for Kamala’s U.S. Senate Seat.

At 8:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having seen Katie Porter in action, I could accept her as the replacement Senator. I'd be OK with Ted Lieu. As for the rest of the names mentioned, I don't feel any tingles.
This tells me that I won't like the replacement very much, and once again the Democratic Party will have shown me that they don't represent my interests.


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