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Vanilla for Governor

Susan Estrich on

On Sept. 14, or thereabouts, California voters will decide whether to recall the Democratic governor of California, the singularly unpopular Gavin Newsom, and replace him with someone who, at best, most of us have never heard of.

Vanilla, he has been labeled by the Los Angeles Times, a title which earned him their endorsement.

Labor Day is the usual kickoff of the political season, particularly on the Democratic side, but this year, it is the kickoff of the silly season.

What makes this potentially interesting to those who don't live in California is that this is the bluest state in the nation, which makes it an unlikely place to be on the verge of recalling a Democratic governor.

But if Newsom manages to beat the recall, it will almost certainly be because there is not a single Democrat among the 46 candidates running to replace him, leaving the majority in this state the choice between keeping an unpopular Democrat in office and replacing him with a right-wing Black talk radio host, Caitlyn Jenner, 40-odd folks no one has ever heard of or the candidate best known as "vanilla."

As in, "Who is the plain vanilla guy who is running?" That's his would-be supporters asking.

 

The plain vanilla guy is Kevin Faulconer, the Republican former Mayor of San Diego who is best known for not being to the right of Attila the Hun (that would be Larry Elder, the radio guy), not a member of the Kardashian Klan (that would be Caitlyn Jenner) and does not bring a bear with him to rallies.

There are probably two words that capture the reason that Newsom is in trouble: "French Laundry." No, that is not an alternative to less fancy kinds of laundries. It is a restaurant that 99% of Californians, yours truly included, have never been to, with reason. The base meal is $355 per person. There are supplements -- I checked today's menu, FYI, and for truffle lovers, the supplement is $125 -- not to mention wine, I expect, in wine country. The French Laundry has three Michelin stars.

Frankly, it sounds way too fussy for me.

But not, as every registered voter in California could almost certainly tell you, for our governor, Gavin Newsom.

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