California governor Gavin Newsom is many things, almost all unpleasant, but as of today he’s become something new: proof that it’s possible to run for president without running for president — at least for a while. Wednesday night, something big happened that made his non-campaign for president just a little more real.
The former San Francisco Mayor, two-term Governor, and recall election survivor have enjoyed a high profile in recent years. When I say “enjoyed”, I mean “manufactured.”
Chris Cillizza, a CNN Democrat Tool (but again I repeat myself), announced in July of last year that Newsom had “just jumped-started his 2024 campaign” after declaring that his reelection was “almost certain.”
During the holiday of July 4th, Newsom ran a commercial in Florida attacking GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis and praising his own California governance.
Newsom urges all Florida residents to join the fight in the ad that aired on Fox News Monday. Or, join us in California where we still believe freedom is important: freedom of speech, freedom of choice, freedom from hatred, and freedom to love.
Cillizza wrote, “What better way is there to be known on a national level than to (symbolically) hit the biggest Republican in the neighborhood? ”
Newsom, however, has kept his name in the headlines without ever making a real bid to unseat Doddering Joseph. ”
And now there’s a new element to Newsom’s running-not-running-but-running campaign: Florida governor and GOP hopeful Ron DeSantis has agreed to Newsom’s challenge to a mano-a-mano debate. “Absolutely I’m game,” DeSantis told Sean Hannity on Fox News Wednesday night. “Let’s get it done; just tell me when and where. We will do it. ”
Fox reported, “An adviser to the California governor said Politico DeSantis should ‘put up or shut up… “Anything else is only games.'” Fox reported.
Well, it looks like the game is on for Newsom — assuming the candidate-not-a-candidate-but-really-a-candidate doesn’t back down from his own challenge.
This is one of the most surreal events that I have ever written about, in the 21 years since I began blogging and in the 43 years since I started following politics.
This Newsom/DeSantis Debate is like Ted Kennedy and George H.W. Bush* agreed in 1979 to square off, as President Jimmy Carter prepared his re-election campaign, and before the GOP primaries even started.
I’m not comparing DeSantis and Bush except for the fact that both (at the moment of writing this) polled as the second favorite among GOP primary voters.
I’m not going to bother defending Florida’s performance with DeSantis as compared to California with Newsom. Partly because Florida has performed better in almost every area, but mainly because I’m eager to see DeSantis accomplish it on his own, this should be some great TV.
Already, DeSantis is having fun at Newsom’s expense, taunting him to “Stop pussyfooting around” and just launch a real primary challenge against Biden already. I have to admit, as amusing as it is to refer to Newsom as the “candidate-not-a-candidate-but-really-a-candidate,” at some point soon, he’s going to have to do something more substantial than cosplay as Schrodinger’s Cat.
In some ways, the DeSantis/Newsom discussion makes Newsom seem more presidential than our supposed actual president Joe Biden. Despite the fact that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has a large amount of support in polls, the Biden campaign says Doddering Joe won’t be participating in any primary debates.
It’s ironic that if Biden pulls an LBJ, and decides late that he will not seek reelection that it would be more difficult for Newsom. My friend and colleague Stephen Kruiser pointed out that Democrat identity politics makes it impossible for a straight, white male, like Newsom, to remove First POC Kamala Harris, from her “rightful place” at the top of the ticket.
In order to defeat Harris, Newsom must come out as gay and transgender and begin the hormonal and surgical process of transition immediately.
What’s up, Governor? Just how far will you go to win the Oval Office in 2024 that you have sworn you won’t run for?