Dem confab sports California stars
By John Seiler
Except for a hilarious Clint Eastwood stand-up routine, last week’s Republican convention in Tampa featured hardly any Californians. At their convention this week in Charlotte, Democrats are showing off their powerful California delegation.
* Convention Co-chair Actress Eva Longoria, although from Texas, now is a Hollywood star, so she’s a Californian in the view of fans. She’s the Dems’ Hollywood answer to Clint Eastwood. As a creative person, she won’t imitate Dirty Harry’s schtick of mocking the other party’s nominee not sitting in an empty chair. But I’m hoping she’ll make reference to Clint’s performance, perhaps critique it.
I’ve never seen her in anything. But I know she starred in “Desperate Housewives.” Aren’t Democrats supposed to be feminists? I don’t know. To paraphrase Jack Nicholson in “Chinatown,” “Forget it, Jake, it’s Hollywood.”
Let’s just hope it’s fun.
* Ex-President Bill Clinton. Although technically not from our state, he always has been considered an “honorary Californian” for all his trips out here. Remember when he raised some cash, then spent a couple of hours with Air Force One on the tarmac at LAX, allegedly tying up flights, as he got a hairdo? Media Matters, the pro-Democratic group, says the tying up flights part is “a myth.” But Air Force One always ties up air traffic, as we see every time President Obama comes here trolling for cash.
Anyway, Clinton is the only even semi-successful president in the past 24 years, since Reagan left office. The Bushes and, so far, Obama have been abject failures. Clinton, by contrast, left office with — get this, young people — actual budget surpluses. True, Republican House Speaker New Gingrich insisted on them, as did Republican majorities in the House and Senate. Still, Clinton’s name was on the budgets. And Obama also has to face a Republican Senate.
If it weren’t for that Monica business, then Clinton perjuring himself over it and getting impeached, he would be at Reaganesque levels of adulation. As it is, Democrats will be cheering as he were the return of JFK.
Clinton was known as president for his 80-minute stemwinder speeches. Let’s hope this one is a lot shorter. But Slick Willie always could gave a great speech, so this one should be good. Some Democrats have feared that Clinton will overshadow Obama. But Obama is an astute enough politician to understand that he needs every vote he can, and if that means letting Clinton rule the roost, then that’s just fine. Winning a second term is all that counts. Losing turns you into Jimmy Carter.
* Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is the chair of the convention. He governs a city on the verge of bankruptcy — in a state with a Democratic governor and overwhelming Democratic majorities in the Legislature, with a country run by a Democratic president and Democratic U.S. Senate. Republicans only control the U.S. House.
Why can’t he get some Big Bailout Bucks for his city and the state?
* House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. She’s the real author of Obamacare. And as the House speaker for four years — two wild spending years under Republican President Bush, then two more under President Obama — she’s as responsible as anybody for the $16 trillion debt. A difficult person to listen to even if, like me, you get paid to do it.
Ironically, her successor as House speaker, Republican John Boehner, hasn’t made thing any better. Maybe the whole system is just so rotten it’s about to collapse like a cheap card table.
* Rep. Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles. The Dems are featuring a lot of Latinos to counter the Republicans’ A-list of Sen. Marco Rubio, New Mexico Gov. Susanna Martinez, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, Senate candidate Ted Cruz, etc. Becerra is vice-chair of the House Democratic Caucus. First elected in 2002, he sits on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. So I’m eager to hear how he explains the $16 trillion debt he helped run up, especially when Democrats ran the whole show — presidency, Senate and House — from 2009 to 2010.
Ex-Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, although born in Canada and the ex-governor of another state, grew up in the Bay Area. Now she’s a Distinguished Practitioner of Law and Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Having wrecked Michigan, which under her had 15 percent unemployment and two bankrupt auto giants — GM and Chrysler — taken over by Obama, now she’s grabbing Californians’ tax money.
Like ex-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, she started out acting in Hollywood. He should put her in one of his “comeback” movies.
Expect a dull speech. Time to hit the fridge for a beer.
* California Attorney General Kamala Harris is the most activist AG the state ever has seen, and a governor-wannabe. I’m hoping Gov. Jerry Brown runs for a fourth term just to tick her off and make her wait another four years. Her worst action so far was manufacturing a biased “title and summary” for a pension reform initiative, which because of that was pulled by its authors. As Steven Greenhut wrote on our site:
“California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ recent misuse of power to provide a dishonest ballot title and summary for proposed pension-reform initiatives, which she opposes, comes right out of the totalitarian playbook, where those wielding power recognize no rules of decency or fairness.”
About the time she becomes governor in 2019, the whole state pension system will collapse, with no government retirees getting anything. Think she’ll talk about that tonight? Of course not. It’ll just be about imposing her utopia on the rest of us.
* Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland is my favorite Democrat. She long has criticized the Iraq and Afghan wars as misguided policy. Boy was she right on that. On foreign policy (not domestic), she’s a Democratic Ron Paul. She even attacked Congress for being “missing in action” by not taking seriously its constitutional obligation to either declare war when necessary, or prevent the president from declaring war on his own. The last actual declaration of war was in World War II, but we’ve been at war almost continually ever since.
I hope Lee criticizes President Obama for continuing the unconstitutional wars. In 2009, she opposed his troop “surge” in Afghanistan — something that, during the Vietnam War years, was called an “escalation.” But I doubt she will.
Conclusion: Both parties for two decades now have staged highly scripted imitation reality TV shows. Spontaneity has been snuffed out — except for Clint’s performance last Thursday. Nobody wants to do anything to scare the “undecided” voters into jumping to the other party.
Things were better with riots, as with the 1968 Dem convention. Or contested conventions, as for the Reps in 1976 and the Dems in 1980. When Obamacare gets into full swing, instead of prescribing Ambien to insomniacs, they’ll pass out DVDs of the Rep and Dem 2012 convention speeches.
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