I wonder if there’s a different version of California for liberals — an alternate universe version where everything is working smoothly.
Maybe they don’t see the troubled part.
After all, most of what out-of-state politicians see is swanky affairs at homes in the Hollywood Hills or in the better neighborhoods of Silicon Valley — the kind of shindigs like the scene at the beginning of “Bullitt” where the supercilious senator played by Robert Vaughn first meets Steve McQueen’s character.
Michael Bloomberg is the second major politician I’ve seen talk about how wonderful the Golden State is recently.
Granted, the most recent was its Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, who went on “The View” and basically told us all how his state was some sort of template of how a post-Donald Trump America should look.
The problem is that Newsom isn’t alone.
In January, we had the specter of Bloomberg telling us how California “can serve as a great example” to the rest of America.
Bloomberg is a guy who normally wouldn’t need to be talking up the Golden State.
He’s the former mayor of New York City, a metropolis where the residents look down on California as a land for those with an unserious mindset, a people who have managed to somehow combine slacking and striving into the same general ethos.
There are two reasons why Bloomberg is suddenly putting forth a failing state as the kind of place that can set an example for all of us.
First, as per his Super Tuesday blitz strategy, he desperately needs to win and win big in California. If he doesn’t, I hope he kept his receipts for his presidential run.
Second, some of the failed policies that California is fond of? Bloomberg’s actually pretty fond of them, too.
“I think that California can serve as a great example for the rest of this country,” Bloomberg said at the opening of his campaign headquarters in Los Angeles last month, according to the California Globe, adding that it’s “something the rest of the country looks up to.”
Well, Bloomberg did mention the whole housing crisis thing and the fact the state’s homelessness is out of control, “as well as other issues California is currently trying to solve,” the Globe said. (If he listed those other issues, the speech would be ongoing.)
But then there’s the reason why he thinks California is doing quite well for itself: “Bloomberg noted that California’s efforts on climate change, gun control, and criminal justice reform were second to none, and that the rest of the nation should follow their lead,” the Globe reported.
Ah yes, there we go. California, a state that has a prohibitively high cost of living and wants to get to 60 percent clean energy usage by 2030 and 100 percent clean usage by 2045, according to Quartz, something I’m sure won’t have a negative effect on the the state’s electricity costs.
As for gun control, yes, the state constantly tests the limits of its least favorite amendment repeatedly. Much of this change has been goaded on, mind you, by Bloomberg-astroturfed groups like Everytown for Gun Safety.
As for criminal justice reform, let me point out that this is a state where a Democrat is currently proposing a bill under which offenders under the age of 20 could be charged as juveniles.
This’ll all play very well in California, mind you.
“Bloomberg was a late entry into the Democratic race, so he didn’t get a foothold in states like Iowa and New Hampshire,” former political strategist Casey Larkin told the Globe.
“California is his line in the sand and he’s going all in on it, similar to how Rudy Giuliani always started with Florida in previous Republican primaries.
“He’s saying this simply as a way to get California voters on his side. Notice how he specifically praised California’s gun control and their stance on global warming. He may personally believe it, but he mentioned the issues the resonate the strongest among California democrats who live in major cities. That’s who he’s going for. It’s a New York City strategy to target urban areas and miss the rest.
“He’s also going after the bases of the other candidates, all of whom aren’t here. They’re in Iowa mostly. He wants to get a lot now to make it a surprise when they get back here and make it an early shock with to carry momentum. So it’s also a play from George McGovern’s ’72 playbook.”
Technically it’s a reverse play.
For those of you who aren’t political junkies and/or Hunter Thompson fans who’ve read “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72,” here’s a TL;DR: Back during the 1972 election, long-shot far-left candidate George McGovern campaigned out in Iowa before the Iowa caucuses mattered that much while everyone else was in New Hampshire, which led to him posting a better-than-expected finish in the Hawkeye state that put him among the top tier of candidates.
Combine that with an establishment favorite who stumbled badly (Edmund Muskie, a jowl-tastic senator from Maine) and a Democrat electorate ready for an insurgent, and McGovern managed to win the nomination.
He then lost the general election to Richard Nixon like the worst XFL team last weekend would lose to the Kansas City Chiefs.
There’s your political lesson for the day, millennials. You’re welcome.
Beyond questions of whether this works (kissing up to the left in California as a gamble doesn’t seem like such a hot idea in hindsight when the only candidate who’s built up momentum thus far honeymooned in the Soviet Union), that’s kind of not the point — this is who Mike Bloomberg is.
Bloomberg may put himself forth as a moderate, but he’s also an inveterate nanny-stater — and those two things work at cross-purposes. If he believes the government can achieve something, he won’t try to get there by halves.
This is something the people of New York City found out.
He didn’t like sugary sodas, so he tried to ban sodas from being sold in large sizes. (The courts, thankfully, had a little word with him.)
On smoking, Bloomberg hated the habit, so he did everything in his power to eradicate it.
New York’s gun laws were practically draconian.
This is what he did in a city.
He now wants to do it for (or to, if you prefer) an entire nation.
In 2009, the late polemicist Christopher Hitchens wrote a piece on New York City’s petty regulations, spurred on by how they’d mushroomed under then-Mayor Bloomberg.
“In fact, the law these days is very clear. It states that New York City is now the domain of the mediocre bureaucrat, of the inspector with too much time on his hands, of the anal-retentive cop with his nose in a rule book, of the snitch willing to drop a dime on a harmless fellow citizen, and of a mayor who is that most pathetic and annoying figure — the micro-megalomaniac,” Hitchens wrote.
And now that micro-megalomaniac wants to remake America in that image, and he thinks California would be a “good example.”
California, with its unaffordable over-regulated housing market, rampant homelessness, streets strewn with fecal matter, Second Amendment-baiting gun laws and elected officials who are either gleefully proud of these things or oblivious to the extent of the problems.
In California, ordinary people can leave — and they do, in droves.
As ordinary Americans who love this country, our options are much more limited. We can be thankful, however, that our government is too, as are Michael Bloomberg’s chances of becoming the Democratic nominee.
However, chalk him up as yet another Democrat who can’t help but see an alternate reality version of California that simply doesn’t exist.
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