Salvo 01.17.2023 4 minutes

Governor Slick

California Gov. Newsom And West Coast Leaders Sign Climate Agreement

Gavin Newsom seems to have been created in the same lab that made his hair gel.

Flanked by his entourage, California Governor Gavin Newsom walked over the bridge connecting the newly developed West Sacramento suburbs to the Capitol building. The metal Great Depression-era construction was chosen to evoke the images of Martin Luther King crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the march from Selma to Montgomery. Newsom’s posse was on the way to inauguration festivities and refused questions from the media.

Born to John Paul Getty’s best friend, Newsom was groomed by the San Francisco political machine from childhood. At 32, he was appointed to a vacant seat on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors and then elected mayor on the promise to end homelessness. Following a decade of personal misadventures, he landed the California governorship. Next step—presidential campaign.

In keeping with this ambition, Newsom’s inauguration focused on national themes. The governor scheduled the ceremony for January 6, the second anniversary of the riot at the United States Capitol, the event the Democrats and the media spent two years hyping up as an insurrection. Now Newsom saw an opening to present California as an alternative to the dark MAGA energy.

As cops in DC arrested the mother of Ashli Babbitt—the unarmed woman killed by a Capitol police officer during the riot—California’s golden boy fired shots at Ron DeSantis, the Florida Governor and current GOP presidential frontrunner. Hairgel—the moniker given to Newsom by his detractors—reassured his audience he was on the side of freedom. Shaking his finger, the head of the state that always banned slavery but who nevertheless wants to pay reparations to black Californians chided his opponents for “promoting grievance and victimhood”:

Long-dormant authoritarian impulses have been awakened. These politicians prey upon fear.

They silence speech, fire teachers, kidnap migrants, subjugate women, attack the Special Olympics and even demonize Mickey Mouse. They cry freedom while dictating the choices people can make.

He said, folding his mouth into a crooked O.

It makes perfect sense that the man caught during the COVID lockdowns partying maskless at the swanky French Laundry—in defiance of his own pandemic orders—is running this prelude to a presidential campaign accusing his opponents of being what he himself is: a cartoonish enemy of freedom, a failed leader whose authoritarian impulses generate paralyzing fears in his constituents.

He can’t run on substance. Not only did he fail to end homelessness in San Francisco, but thanks to the flow of drugs from south of the border, fentanyl encampments now litter the entire state. Criminality is skyrocketing, and environmental degradation is the norm. Yet energy prices are out of control, and eggs are missing from the supermarkets, partly because—like everything else—poultry production is overregulated.

Beaten down by the pandemic health mandates, downtown San Francisco stands empty. Residents are fleeing California, and the state receiving the most internal migrants is the Florida of the “demonizing Mickey Mouse” fame. The Florida demons, can you believe it, ended Disney’s sweetheart deals.

For decades, liberal counterculture attacked the children’s entertainment giant for being a corporate welfare queen with a heteronormative agenda and proto-fascist theme parks. But when Christopher Rufo publicized Disney’s videoconference during which the board members discussed queering of childrens’ programming—bibbidi-bobbidi-boo!—corporate welfare stopped being a problem. Mickey Mouse no longer represents inauthenticity and greed; he is a victim.

To Mickey’s defense springs a man who could play a Wall Street villain in an eighties movie. His former wife is currently engaged to the eldest son of the former president, Donald Trump. Newsom’s current wife, Jennifer Siebel of Marin County, is his exquisitely selected better half. She is a tall blond gifted with chiseled cheekbones, a diminutive nose, pleasant manners, and several good-looking children (who are rumored to be unvaccinated). The fashionably dubbed First Partner once faced Harvey Weinstein in some sort of casting couch situation. Yet Siebel Newsom remained friendly with the magnate, emailing him two years later to ask for advice on how to handle the fallout from Gavin’s infidelity. Anything for her man! Or to be the First Lady, anyway. Next to women pushing their mentally deficient husbands in pursuit of political careers, she‘s an angel.

Did someone program Hairgel’s persona out of the Getty mansion during the Reagan era? In the seventies, San Francisco punk rocker Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys sang in “California Über Alles” of then-Governor Jerry Brown as a Führer with presidential dreams, whose “aura smiles and never frowns.” Biafra is embarrassed of mocking the lefty Brown and now sings the song with the lyrics changed to represent Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is unfortunate because Newsom is better suited to lead “suede denim secret police” who “have come for your uncool niece” than any other California governor.

In any case, the Dr. Frankenstein who designed Gavin Newsom surely heard “California Über Alles.” Thus inspired, they created a walking and talking parody of “Big Bro on a white horse.” And the counterculture types vote for him, thinking only of important issues like abortion to the moment of birth or $5 million payments to black residents of San Francisco.

In the twentieth century, the Left railed for meaning and freedom, only to settle on power. Jen and Gavin with their pet Mickey and deathless, plastic grins are a stark contrast to the visibly ailing President Biden, whom Newsom is being groomed to replace. But it’s hard to say which option is more grotesque.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

Suggested reading

to the newsletter