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Political Note #206 Governors Gotta Govern

One of the Presidential candidates has been criticized for how she bosses. Look at the presidential candidates. Can we tell what kind of bosses they have been?

Consider a mix of accomplishments and the implications of those accomplishments for how they worked as boss. For a few candidates, the most visible place where they bossed people was as a governor or other state official.

KAMALA HARRIS. Now a Senator, she was California’s Attorney General. She supervised a lot of lawyers. She supervised lawyers before that, too. She was the managing attorney in the San Francisco DA’s office from 1998 to 2000.

In San Francisco she and her office doubled conviction rates for gun felonies, increased the percentage of criminals charged with serious crimes sentenced to prison by more than 50%, tripled the number of misdemeanor cases sent to trials, and cut the truancy rate by almost 25% by prosecuting the parents of truant children. Good management? Too tough?

Or not tough enough? A police drug lab technician was removing cocaine from evidence samples. Did Harris’ DA office know about this and do nothing as the San Francisco Examiner claimed?   Bad Management? Not tough enough?

The left wing Magazine Jacobin found her inconsistent. As a young DA she refused to backtrack on a promise not to seek the death penalty when pressed to do so for the murder of an undercover police officer. As AG she refused to oppose a state court decision declaring the death penalty unconstitutional.

The New York Times asks the same questions about toughness and consistency. Their answer: “Those who have worked for her call her disciplined, a characterization she prefers to “cautious.”  (211)

JOHN HICKENLOOPER Both a mayor and a governor, Hickenlooper flubbed an interview question. Asked if he was a capitalist, he had trouble getting out an answer. He was, in fact, a capitalist. A cautious one. That caution is a clue to what kind of boss he has been; what kind of manager he has been, and what kind of politician he has been.

He had been a geologist. In Colorado. A market shift led to geologists in Colorado being laid off. He chose location rather than profession and started a brewpub. He chose location in that case, too – the lowest rent he could possibly pay. He was actually a capitalist, in practice. He probably didn’t think much about it being an ideology. He was good at it. Eventually, he was prospering with fifteen pubs. So was the neighborhood, which became trendy.

His relationship with the marijuana laws in Colorado is a good example of his caution. At every opportunity, he opposed initial and expanded marijuana laws. In Denver when he was running his business. In Colorado when they were leading the country in legalizing marijuana. As mayor, as governor he implemented those laws — carefully. The laws became a way of life. He said of the state legislation that it was beginning to look as if it might work. He had been responsible for making it work.

Watch out. Now he is opposing the Green New Deal.

JAY INSLEE   The governor was a basketball player. A star. A shooter. He was called “the black hole.” Passes would go to him and never come back. He took shots.

He took a shot at college. Got into Stanford, but no basketball scholarship. Still no scholarship after his freshman year, he went back to Washington.

He was a state legislator in 1992 when he ran for Congress. The mayor of Yakima was the favorite. Inslee took a shot. He proposed a middle class tax cut, claimed the mayor had supported a sales tax which she denied. He came in second in the first round and won the election.

He lost in the Republican wave of 1994. Moved to Bainbridge Island. Practiced law. He took a shot. Ran for governor in 1996, but came in fifth in the first round.

In 1998, he ran for Congress. In the 1st district where he had moved. He took a shot. He was the first Democratic candidate in the country to attack the Republican Congress for how it dealt with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He won. And kept on winning.

In 2012, he tried again for governor. He took a shot. He focused on creating jobs: in clean energy, aerospace, biotech. He had other proposals, too – legalize same sex marriage, oppose tax increases. He won with 51% of the vote. He won by more in 2018.

Now he is running for President. He has taken a shot. Climate Change. He announced he was the candidate opposed to climate change.

It is not so clear what this says about the kind of boss he is? This is a clue for how he runs for office, but about how he runs an office?


Not Comprehensive

These are not comprehensive candidate reviews. I will do at least one more of these brief comments inspired by the question about how candidates boss. I will skip a few candidates: Entrepreneur Andrew Yeng, Members or ex Members of Congress Tulsi Gabbard and John Delaney, Writer Marianne Williamson. They seem just too unlikely. If Governor Steve Bullock had announced, I would include him. If Senator and former Denver School Superintendent Michael Bennett had announced I would include him.

Find information about the candidates. Choose the ones you like the best.   Support one or two of them. Don’t base your decision on electability. Who knows what will make an electable candidate in 2020? Prepare for the possibility you will have to spend money to support someone else if your favorite(s) falter.

Meanwhile support Congressional candidates, too.

People who need our help now for 2020.  Read more about them in the website archive.

The most vulnerable Democratic incumbent in the US Senate is Doug Jones of Alabama. Political Note #189

Vulnerable Democratic Members of Congress include those who won the closest races. Consider those below:

Two Members of Congress won by less than 1,000 votes in 2018:

  • TJ Cox CA 21                    Political Note #192
  • Ben McAdams UT 04     Political Note #190

Eight additional Members of Congress won by less than 5,000 votes in 2018

  • Anthony Brindisi NY 22                Political Note #200
  • Joe Cunningham SC 01                 Political Note #199
  • Jared Golden ME 02                      Political Note #196
  • Kendra Horn OK 05                       Political Note #193
  • Andy Kim NJ 03                              Political Note #194
  • Lucy McBath GA 06                        Political Note #191
  • Debbie Mucarsel-Powell FL 26     Political Note #201
  • Xochitl Torres Small NM 03          Political Note #195

Three more won be a margin of more than 5,000 but less than 10,000.

  • Cynthia Axne IA 03          Political Note #204
  • Cil Cisneros CA 39            Political Note #203
  • Elaine Luria VA 02           Political Note #202