Why don’t we go ahead and beatify Tom Campbell already

I’ve been reading a bunch of stories about Tom Campbell, and I’m pretty sure that he is the greatest person in the history of all politics EVER! He’s brilliant and really far more serious than any of us silly “partisans” could ever dream of being. He’s sincere and never takes any of those hippy or fascist positions.  Really, this is the greatest man since, well, Arnold Schwarzenegger circa 2003.

That was actually pretty hard to write, but it’s not all that far off from the tone of the coverage that Campbell is getting.  Take this  Skelton column from today’s LA Times today:

Tom Campbell is a rarity. He’s a politician who carefully thinks through contentious issues and takes positions based on his notion of good government.

Good politics seem to be a low priority, if one at all.

Not that all politicians are finger-to-the-wind opportunists. Each varies by degree between being a policy wonk and political survivalist. But Democrats tend to genuflect to labor, particularly public employee unions. Republicans tend to cower before the anti-tax crowd, to name one.

Campbell is practically all wonk.

And he must have missed the memo to rookie politicians about going along to get along.(LA Times 4/9/09)

I will say this, Campbell is fairly wonky. And compared to the Governator, he is far more introspective and far less showman. But, you know, Arnold is an actor and a professional showman, so that’s hardly saying much.

There’s this emphasis in Sacramento, but in politics generally, to always look for the next great moderate hope.  And apparently this time, the focus has settled squarely upon Tom Campbell.  He opposed Prop 8, which gives him solid cred on the socially progressive vote in the Republican party.  All seventeen of them statewide.  

And boy is he serious.  I mean he’s so serious that he supports Prop 1A, but not Prop 1B.  That’ll really show those crybaby school kids.  We’ll cut and cap spending and then make sure schools get less than they are legally entitled to under Prop 98.  That’s very serious indeed.  From Debra Saunders:

With his service in Congress, the state Senate and then as Schwarzenegger’s state finance director, however, Campbell told me, “I am banking on the electorate to favor experience in government.”

That’s some bet. … Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles, noted that as with Davis, Campbell’s only hope would be “if Poizner and Whitman knock each other off – and that’s a possibility.”

“Maybe competence wins out,” Stern added.

Well, that would be something.  Competence winning out over money and right-wing nuttery? Well, long shot indeed. Saunders goes on to note that Campbell is the guy trying to win by supporting Prop 1A (but not 1B, but I digress).  Perhaps it would be nice if the Republican party had more people like Tom Campbell and even a few to his left.  But the unhappy lesson from the Republican electorate at the Sacramento state convention right after the budget deal was not that they should be more moderate, but that they must make every effort to be completely inflexible.  Completely ignore the situation that’s actually happening and how to address the problems, and just be Grover-zombies.

The fact is that Campbell is really no moderate in the classical sense. He’s moderate only because the Republicans have gone insane. Read his take on the issues of the day. They are moderate if and only if you take the ever-rightward-shifting pole of the Republican party.

But, Tom Campbell is serious and silly bloggers are not.  So, I’ll do my best not to interfere with any of his very serious work.

4 thoughts on “Why don’t we go ahead and beatify Tom Campbell already”

  1. if David Broder decided to run for Governor.  If this doesn’t betray the biases – and the political party – of the California punditocracy, I don’t know what does.

  2. I’m not defending his position on the props, or Skelton’s fetish for faux centrism, but Campbell deserves credit for his willingness to buck the party line.

    Apart from his opposition to Prop 8, when I read his response to the questions posted on CalBuzz a few weeks ago, I noticed that he said:

    I have frequently sought the advice of the CTA Union, though sorry that they opposed Prop. 76, and even sorrier that they succeeded in defeating Prop. 76! I respect teachers, and have benefited from what their union has to tell me.

    Not something you would expect a California Republican to say. While this doesn’t inherently make him a moderate or qualified to be governor, I think we should acknowledge the fact that he is willing to deviate from and even criticize the GOP’s wingnuttery.

    (I’m guessing that not a lot of people will agree with me on this)

  3. As a total cal politics newbie, where should i go and what should i read to get up-to-speed fast? For example, what’s the deal with Arnold? As a progressive, he seems like a pretty good Republican, but I don’t gather from looking at the polls that all that many people like him all that much. I know the budget has been a problem the last few years, but how? Whose fault is it? Etc, etc.

Comments are closed.