Gavin Newsom is too rich and chic for average Californians
Kara Swisher, a liberal opinion writer and podcaster who lives in San Francisco and Washington, DC, recently made a striking observation about California Governor Gavin Newsom.
“People tend to agree with him,” Swisher said during a appearance on the New York Times podcast “The argument.” “They don’t necessarily like him, you know. But they don’t like it. And that’s what I find interesting. ”
It’s interesting how so many people feel emotionally detached from Newsom. Sure, he won the encore battle, but he doesn’t compare to average Californians.
It seems too programmed and perfect. His posh restaurant group is not only backed by big investors, but he has also been awarded a federal government bailout Last year. Newsom owns a posh vineyard, gets his $ 200 haircut, and has a privileged family line – not to mention the $ 12,000 to $ 15,000 bar bill he bought at the expensive Napa Valley restaurant, the French Laundry, which helped fuel the recall.
We were suffering from a pandemic. Newsom was living his best life.
Good for him, but what about us? While still making up about 15% of the U.S. economy and the nation’s leader in job creation, the Golden State isn’t so bright anymore.
The California where I live in North San Diego County is comfortable, well-off, and a bit titled. But my family and my neighbors still experience stress and struggle. They fear losing their jobs, falling behind on mortgages, the delta variant, caring for parents with dementia, and whether a year of distance learning has destroyed their children’s study habits.
The California where I grew up, in the Central Valley, is rural, blue collar, and hardscrabble. It’s also about 50% Latino. The people who live there – whom I consider “my people” in the same way that writer JD Vance sees white working class Kentucky as his people – get up early and spend the day. They do it just to hunt “enough”.
In my hometown of Sanger, people think a lot about the concept of enough. Some fear not to have quite food to feed their families, especially in the winter when the packing factories stop buzzing and the work dries up like raisins in the sun. They worry about whether the area has quite water, or if they spend quite time with their children while they have two jobs, or whether the education their children receive from local schools will be good quite.
Newsom doesn’t seem to know this California exists. Worse, he never seemed the least bit curious about it. He has no interest in escaping his comfort zone – San Francisco, where he was mayor from 2004-2011, and Sacramento, where he now lives and works – and see how the remaining 99% live.
Of course, it is not because you live in a privilege that this privilege has to live in you.
It is offensive that in his remarks on the victory lap after surviving the recall, the governor invoked Robert Kennedy.
“I am humbled, grateful, but determined in the mind of my political hero, Robert Kennedy, to make the life of this world sweeter,” Newsom told his supporters.
Is Newsom humble? Not really. Life on Easy Street does not teach humility.
Boston’s late Irish-descent politician – whom my grandmother called “El Bobby” – came from money and power, but he was in touch with the underprivileged and the oppressed. He carried their anguish on his face, and he carried their struggle in his heart.
Governor, you are not Bobby Kennedy.
Swisher is right. Californians don’t “necessarily” like Newsom. They barely know him, and they certainly can’t relate to him. Unfortunately, the feeling is mutual.
Ruben Navarrette is a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group, a contributor to The Daily Beast and USA Today, and host of the “Ruben In The Center” podcast.
This story was originally published 6 October 2021 6:00 a.m.