I need to say something: I <3 John Laird.
There, I said it. Former Asm. John Laird is neither flashy nor overly charismatic. But when it comes to quietly doing the work of the people, nobody works harder, knows his stuff better, or really understands the budget better than John Laird. And honestly, we really need him in the Senate.
So, as the Calitics editorial board has pointed out before, the Legislature should approve the nomination of Sen. Abel Maldonado to Lt. Governor. And while the race is going to be competitive, Laird has the horses to win the race:
Laird, a Santa Cruz Democrat, said Monday that the poll gave him a lead “in the low single digits.” Respondents were asked twice about the theoretical match-up, first near the beginning of the call with pollsters, then again “after every conceivable thing was thrown and him and me both,” Laird said. He said the lead grew slightly after potential negatives were given to respondents. (CapWkly)
This is a winnable race. And a winnable race for a solid progressive that will work his ass off to improve this state. For me, it’s an easy call what you do here. But some see otherwise, saying that it’s too big of a risk, that it gives up too much. Here’s Asm. Pedro Nava:
I will be voting “no” to confirm state Sen. Abel Maldonado to the second-highest constitutional office in California, a heartbeat from the governor, that of lieutenant governor.
Much has been made of his congenial personality, his friendly demeanor and his one vote to increase the minimum wage. But in order to take Sen. Maldonado’s true measure, you need to examine over 150 votes on issues of great significance to all Californians – laws that impact farmworkers, health care, civil rights, labor, women, consumers, seniors and the environment. (SacBee)
Look, if given the choice, I doubt there are too many people that would vote for Abel Maldonado for dog catcher around here. Yet, that isn’t what this is about. This is a confirmation hearing, not a test of whether you like the guy. Clearly, progressives aren’t going to like him, but the same was said of Bruce McPherson when he took over the (arguably more important) SecState gig. The Assembly confirmed him then, including a vote from Asm. Nava. As Sen. Steinberg mentioned last week, this is a vote about whether Maldonado is competent to assume the LG job, and it’s hard to argue that Maldonado is any more or less competent to assume that rather powerless gig than any of the candidates in the race for 2010.
Sen. Maldonado’s votes are bad. Very bad. So, let’s get him out of the Senate where he is casting those votes and into a short stint as LG.
SD-15 needs John Laird. California needs John Laird. A few months of incumbency in a rather banal gig is a risk worth taking. The calculus doesn’t actually seem that hard. Confirm Maldonado, and let’s get to the business of electing Sen. John Laird.