Kamala Harris to campaign for Gavin Newsom facing recall --what could go wrong?
So Kamala Harris is set to campaign for embattled California Gov. Gavin Newsom, to keep him from losing office. The latter, of course, is facing a voter recall.
According to the Washington Examiner:
Vice President Kamala Harris vowed to campaign for Gov.Gavin Newsom as he faces a recall effort in California.
When asked whether she would back the Democratic governor, the longtime associate of Newsom answered, "Yes."
Harris, a former California attorney general and senator, did not elaborate further as she departed the Capitol.
Harris previously voiced support for Newsom, saying she backed him "100%" in a video message before officials announced the recall effort attracted enough verified signatures to proceed in late June.
The pair go way back, to the glittering old-money society parties of Pacific Heights back in their salad days.
Newsom campaigned for Harris as she was running for president in her failed presidential election campaign in 2019. Now Harris is returning the favor.
Three things, though, stand out that suggest this might not work out the way they think it will.
One, Harris is miserably unpopular in her own right with voters, with polls showing that her ratings are underwater. Just yesterday the New York Post ran this headline:
Kamala Harris under water in latest polling amid surging border crisis and veep office gripes
A normal pol in trouble gets a more popular pol to do some endorsing for him. Not Newsom. He chooses the least-liked politician in America, one who won't do her job, either on the border or on voting rights, to vouch for him to voters.
Sound like that will work?
Actually, sounds like he's desperate.
Two, the pair of them campaigning together can only serve to remind voters of all the cronyism in California politics.
They shared ties with Willie Brown who "made" both of them, handing each a big-dollar little-work commission appointment as his political children.
They also shared ties to Gordon Getty, who was Newsom's moneybags patron, and in time, became Harris's, too. Newsom, in fact, is a major influence who introduced Harris to all the San Francisco moneybag donors. The two of them even shared a political consultant/campaign manager.
They also seem to have shared some trouble with Newsom's ex, Kimberly Guilfoyle: Guilfoyle, before she dumped Newsom, complained that Harris was mean to her. With Newsom becoming Guilfoyle's bitter ex, it seems that Newsom and Harris could have an additional reason to bond.
Newsom has always been a godsend to Harris, what with his connections to the Gettys, the House of Pelosi, and the House of Brown (not Willie, but Pat and Jerry Brown). Here's a chart of all the inbred royalty around him, from CalMatters.
Here's a Vanity Fair story showing how Newsom roused the moneybags to troubled Harris in 2019.
Meanwhile, according to Politico, here are Harris's Brown ties:
It’s hard to think honestly about the origins of the rise of Harris without grappling with the reality of the role of Brown. He helped her. He put her on a pair of state boards that required not much work and paid her more than $400,000 across five years on top of her salary as a prosecutor. He gave her a BMW. He helped her, too, though, in a way that was less immediately material but arguably far more enduringly important.
“Brown, of course, was the darling of the well-to-do set, if you will,” veteran political consultant Jack Davis, who managed Brown’s mayoral campaign, told me. “And she was the girlfriend, and so she met, you know, everybody who’s anybody, as a result of being his girl.”
“I met her through Willie,” John Burton, the former San Francisco congressman and chairman of the California Democratic Party, said in an interview. “I would think it’s fair to say that most of the people in San Francisco met her through Willie.”
Harris, in turn, "served" as Willie Brown's mistress.
There also was this with Politico, with the glittery parties Newsom and Harris would go to:
“Few women,” gushed the Gazette, “are more involved than (equally glamorous) attorney Kamala Harris.” In the outlet distributed specifically to the neighborhoods of the rich, she was featured in a fashion spread, shown wearing $565 boots, a $975 skirt and a $1,095 coat, all made by Burberry. In the descriptions of P.J. Corkery of the Examiner—who also ghost-wrote Brown’s book—Harris was “super-chic” and “super-smart” and “drop-dead elegant” and “very visible.” She was seen at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room. She was seen at Jeannette Etheredge’s Tosca. She went to a ball to benefit local arts museums at which celebrity event planner Stanlee Gatti’s elaborate set-up incorporated centerpieces of large balls of ice—and was spotted “sometime around midnight” trying to bowl the frosty orbs with Gavin Newsom, who was then a city supervisor as well as a friend and business partner of the Gettys. She went to the 25th anniversary showing of San Francisco’s “Beach Blanket Babylon” and was spotted slipping out of the afterparty for a dinner at Jardinière with Willie Brown and high society grande dame Denise Hale. She went to a Ricky Martin concert in a limo with Hale and Denton and scenester Harry de Wildt. She went to the parties of haute couture clothier Wilkes Bashford. She went to ladies’ luncheons at Pacific Heights homes. She had Sunday dinners with the Gettys.
...and this, with Newsom's moneybags ties:
Because three years after the Getty wedding, in mid-2002, Harris called Mark Buell. She knew him because Harris was friends with his stepdaughter, Summer Tompkins Walker, the daughter of Susie Tompkins Buell, the major Democratic donor. Harris told him she wanted to run for district attorney. At first, Buell was skeptical, he said recently when we got together for dinner at an old Union Square haunt called Sam’s; he considered Harris “a socialite with a law degree,” he explained over salmon and sauvignon blanc. The more Harris talked, though, the more impressed he became. By the end of their conversation, Buell offered to be her finance chair. His first piece of advice: To knock off an incumbent in what would be a nasty, three-candidate fight, Harris was going to need to raise an early, eye-popping amount of money. Buell saw her friends, people he knew, too, as an asset to deploy. “So we put together a finance committee that primarily was young socialite ladies,” he told me. The group included Vanessa Getty, by then one of Harris’ closest pals, and Susan Swig—head-turning surnames in the city’s choicest circles. Buell’s directive: “I said, ‘No one has ever raised more than $150,000 for a D.A.’s race, totally. I want this group to raise $100,000 by the first reporting period.”
Outfitted in sharp designer suits and strands of bright pearls, Harris kickstarted her drive to become San Francisco’s top cop—in its ritziest, most prestigious locale. Predominantly white Pacific Heights—hills upon hills, gobsmacking views of the Golden Gate strait, mansions built and bought with both new tech money and old gold rush cash—is home to Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Gavin Newsom and others, one of the country’s foremost concentrations of politicians and their patrons.
The two were so close, in fact, that the Desert Sun reported this:
Newsom and Harris have shared campaign managers for many years and have long had an informal understanding never to oppose each other’s ambitions.
So in other words, they had a pact to preserve the political monopoly.
Which doesn't sound too promising for Newsom as word of their political elite "friendship" gets out. Harris there right beside Newsom is bound to lead to some clucking about both of their rises to the top.
A recall election, after all, is a rebellion, against the political establishment, so Harris's ties to Newsom -- set against the background of her being promoted above her level of competence to vice president, based on political connections, pretty well reminds votes of Newsom, too, and what they don't like about California politics.
There was a single report of that fraying in the Desert Sun:
Until Harris’ Latin American trip, Newsom had never uttered a critical word about the vice president, who — like Newsom — got her start in San Francisco politics, winning two terms as district attorney before becoming California’s attorney general and then a senator.
But Harris no sooner returned to Washington, D.C.. from her trip than Newsom checked in on the side of left-wing Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who earlier blasted Harris for her anti-immigration remarks. In a press conference just after Harris’ return, Newsom observed that “California has long had a different approach to immigration, a more inclusive approach.” He added that he has consulted with other federal officials about “how California can be more supportive in terms of the needs of asylum seekers.”
But set against the rest of the huge history the pair of them have, which includes money, it sounds like window dressing to me.
The third factor as to why this won't work is Harris's tendency toward political gaffes. She's got a tin ear politically, and actually, so does Newsom, the man of French Laundry COVID dining who advised California residents to put on their masks between bites of dinner. Everyone knows he's going to make some gaffes and weird videos, but does anyone imagine she won't make even more gaffes, too, as she hits the campaign trail for Newsom? Campaigning together, they'll be the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of California politics.
The pair were raised politically as hothouse flowers in a one-party state, cultivated and nurtured by billionaires. Neither of them ever learned to politick the way others learn to politic, which involves give and take, they both just waited their turn until they could be put into place by the big guys out there. Now Harris, with all her low political capital, capital so low that even the Joe Biden camp is apparently leaking bad stories about her to the press, is coming to "help" Newsom by campaigning for him...
What could go wrong?
Image: Elex Michaelson, video screen shot, via YouTube
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