Monday, July 06, 2015

Gavin Newsom's leadership

On the front page of this morning's Chronicle (Will Gavin Newsom’s post-Pride glow get him the governorship?):

In an interview this week, Newsom said he is gratified by the outpouring of support, but he also argued, “Gay marriage was about people — but it was also about the principle that we have the capacity to change things. Hopefully, if there’s any’s that it’s not a single issue, it’s a style of resolve and commitments — you can call it leadership,” he said. “You are given a moment in time, you say what you think and the consequences are the consequences. I’m not going to wait for the prevailing winds.” He said he will be guided by what he calls “the spirit of the Obama say, ‘Don’t read the polls — change the damn polls.’”

Conservative political commentator Patrick Dorinson, who writes the CowboyLibertarian blog, says that outlook forever casts Newsom as “a founding father...the Mount Rushmore of the (marriage equality) movement. He will go down as the guy who stuck his neck out, and he’s been vindicated,” Dorinson said. “He could have played it safe, and he didn’t have to.”

As I've pointed out before, Newsom's timing on his gay marriage initiative---early 2004 in a presidential election year---was poor and helped re-elect President Bush. Why not wait until after the November election? And supporting gay marriage in San Francisco wasn't a particularly brave political act in the first place. 

His initiatives on homelessness, on the other hand, were much bolder in this ultra-liberal city, creating a rift with city progressives that still hasn't healed.

The Chronicle story doesn't mention two big, costly projects that a Governor Newsom could helpfully torpedo: the high-speed rail project and the delta water tunnels, as noted by the LA Times earlier this year. He's exercised leadership by publicly opposing both of these pet projects of Governor Brown. If Newsom had wanted to play it safe, he would shut up about those issues. 

Newsom went public with skepticism on the high-speed rail project back in 2013. Now that was real leadership, since the project is favored by Governor Brown, the Democratic Party, and the unions.

Local Democrats, like Scott Wiener and Mayor Lee, are lagging behind Gavin Newsom's leadership on high-speed rail.

And Newsom supports legalizing marijuana in California.

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