The Real Gavin Newsom

Thousands of scathing op-eds and blog posts have appeared about our sick puppy in the White House. Residents of California, however, should probably be more concerned about their current governor, Gavin Christopher Newsom. After all, he plans to toss his hat in the 2024 ring as Biden’s replacement.

So what are Newsom’s qualifications? Judging by what Amy Tikkanen says in her recent biographical sketch on the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Newsom was gifted at sports and later attended  Santa Clara University on a partial baseball scholarship.... In 1989 he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science.”

Only three years later, Newsom made a giant leap from academic rags to millennial riches by opening PlumpJack Winery, a store in San Francisco. “One of his investors,” Tikkanen explains, “was family friend Gordon P. Getty, the son of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. The venture proved highly profitable, and Newsom expanded it to include bars, wineries, restaurants, and hotels. The various enterprises made him a millionaire.” Well, there’s one good thing: Newsom has some very wealthy connections.

His next move, of course, was to get into politics by volunteering on Willie Brown’s successful campaign for mayor. From that point on, it was ‘Katie bar the door.’

In 2004, Newsom was elected mayor of San Francisco and instantly made national news by “authorizing city officials to issue same-sex marriage licenses, in defiance of state law.” That was certainly another useful trait: He had no qualms about breaking the law.

In 2009, Newsom took his first shot at running for governor of California. Failing at that, in 2011, he ran for and won the office of lieutenant governor under Jerry Brown. Yet another useful trait: Newsom knows all about hanging onto political coattails.

Both Brown and Newsom were re-elected in 2014. Since Brown couldn’t run again in 2018, Tikkanen observed, “Newsom coasted to victory” in the general election and took office in 2019. One of Newsom’s first executive orders as governor was to do away with the death penalty. He was, after all, raised as a good Catholic boy and knew all about virtue signaling. The die, as it were, was cast for this burgeoning Machiavelli.

With the onset of COVID-19, Newsom became the first state governor to impose draconian masking and stay-at-home rules. Nothing like flexing your muscles once you’re in office. This time, though, when Newsom and his friends were caught dining maskless at the French Laundry restaurant in San Francisco, a recall election was triggered. “Newsom easily survived the recall,” Tikkanen smugly concludes.

As Yogi Berra often said, “It ain’t over ’till it’s over.” There’s much more to the noisome Newsom story.

Let’s take a look at an unbowdlerized version. In the March 15-21, 2023 issue of the Epoch Times, columnist John Seiler wrote an article titled “The Real State of the State of California.” Seiler explained that, instead of making the customary State of the State report from Sacramento this year, Newsom would be “giving a series of talks around the state touting what he calls the California Way.” But what,” Seiler asks, “is the real State of the State in California?”

First, Seiler notes that, in the past two years under Newsom’s rule, California’s population has dropped by 500,000. As in the state of New York, California’s tax rates “can exceed 13%, but its budget deficit is mounting. Lawmakers in Sacramento and Albany think the answer is to soak the rich even more.” This high-handed attitude, of course, is what’s driving thousands of residents to low or no-income tax states like Florida, Tennessee, and Texas.

Newsom will have a tough time explaining that policy to any self-respecting Californian, no matter what their party affiliation. If he takes it nationwide in his 2024 run for the White House, he will just remind everybody of the runaway inflation that has already driven us all toward a deep recession. In fact, in the December 18, 2021 Los Angeles Times, Newsom openly admitted he’s dyslexic and not very good with numbers -- just the kind guy you’d want in charge of our national debt.

Then, as Seiler notes, there’s the effect of Newsom’s “excessive lockdowns of schools that sharply dropped student test scores” during the COVID panic.  According scholars at Stanford University, poor English language arts development in the primary grades portends “trouble for students’ future academic and life success.”

Governor Newsom and his wife have four children, at least two of pre-school age. You’d think these parents would be deeply concerned with such facts. But maybe not, because they’re rich enough to send their own children to a private school. What about the hundreds of thousands of other pre-school children in California’s public schools? Apparently Newsom thinks it’s not his problem. This literacy problem is not going away, however. It is a nation-wide problem, especially in Blue States like Illinois and New York.

Nevertheless, in the July, 2022 issue of the California Globe, columnist Katy Grimes reported that Newsom flew to Washington, D.C., to accept an award from the Education Commission of the States for his contribution to education in the United States. But why, Grimes asks, does California rank 50th in literacy education?” Could all this hoopla just be another case of “virtue signaling?’

There’s more to come, though. Ever eager to spearhead the most radical new movement, Newsom signed Senate Bill 107 “providing for a range of safeguards meant to block out-of-state attempts to penalize families that come to California seeking medical treatment for transgender children and teens or that move to the state to avoid consequences for already seeking that treatment elsewhere.” Newsom justified this new law by declaring, “In California we believe in equality and acceptance. We believe that no one should be prosecuted or persecuted for getting the care they need -- including gender-affirming care.”

Thus, the governor assured all Californians that he is completely comfortable with castrating little boys who identify as girls and maiming little girls who identify as boys. But did this good Catholic father confer about this with his wife, Jennifer, as well as with their 13-year-old daughter, Montana Tess, and their 12-year-old son, Hunter? How about all those bright and talented female athletes who are now being forced to compete with trans-men? Does the governor really think he will be able to win the hearts and minds of American voters with these kinds of shenanigans?

As for Newsom’s capacity to handle international challenges like border security, China’s threat to attack Taiwan, and the endless war in Ukraine, he doesn’t have a clue. To be sure, Governor Newsom is a tall guy with a big head, but he’s no alpha male.

Image: Tim Hurst

If you experience technical problems, please write to