Partisan bi-partisanship?

by CalWatchdog Staff | February 8, 2010 11:32 am

So it looks like the state Assembly Rules Committee has delayed its hearing on Abel Maldonado[1]‘s nomination to be lieutenant governor until 2:30 tomorrow. What the Democrats are planning remains to be seen, but the end result they’re hoping for seems all too clear.

To use a frightful cliche, the Democrats are in a win-win situation on the lieutenant governor nomination. Indeed, it’s hard for me to imagine a scenerio where they don’t ultimately get control of the lieutenant governor’s office.

Let’s game this out. Maldonado is a moderate Republican, nominated by a moderate Republican governor. At times, it’s hard to tell who the right wing hates more — Maldonado or Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In fact, regardless of whether Maldonado gets confirmed, Sen. Sam Aanestad[2] has already announced (to great applause from the right wing) that he’s running for lieutenant governor.

This presents a tremendous opportunity for the Democrats — get Maldonado confirmed, and then he and Aanestad split the Republican vote, allowing a Democrat (Janice Hahn[3], Dean Florez[4] or even, maybe, Gavin Newsom[5]) to cruise to victory. This way the Democrats talk up how bipartisan they are in confirming Maldonado while secretly preparing to unseat him during the upcoming election.

A recent op-ed [6]by former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez played up the bipartisan angle, but was almost Machiavellian in praising Maldonado. At times it read like the liberal Democrat Nunez was giving Maldonado a bear hug that would enrage right-wing Republicans far more than inspire fellow Democrats:

* “Sen. Maldonado is all we could ask for of a Republican — a moderate with a history of working with our party to pass critical pieces of legislation.”

* “He has proven time and again that he is someone Democrats can count on to genuinely consider issues put before him without a partisan lens clouding his vision.”

* “Look no further than his support of raising the minimum wage.”

Of course, all Democrats may not be on board with such a plan. Indeed, today’s Bee reports that three Assembly Dems [7]— Pedro Nava[8], Tony Mendoza[9] and Jose Solorio[10] — are agitating for their colleagues to vote down Maldonado. The plan, apparently, would be to force Schwarzenegger to appoint a Democrat as lieutenant governor, which the party could then rally around and support during the election against Aanestad.

I know it’s hard to believe that Democrats and Republicans would stoop to such tactics in a fight over lieutenant governor, the most useless elected official in the state, but hey, it’s just politics.

-Anthony Pignataro

  1. Abel Maldonado:
  2. Sam Aanestad:
  3. Janice Hahn:
  4. Dean Florez:
  5. Gavin Newsom:
  6. recent op-ed :
  7. three Assembly Dems :
  8. Pedro Nava:
  9. Tony Mendoza:
  10. Jose Solorio:

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