After some dithering, Biden decided to go with U.S. Senator Kamala Harris. It was the smart choice. It was the safe choice. It’s the kind of choice you make when you think you’re in the lead. Of all the VP candidates on his short list, she has the best résumé. Former District Attorney of San Francisco, former Attorney General of California and now the junior U.S. Senator from California and also a Black and South Asian woman. But I suspect most important was that she has been through a primary, she’s already been vetted by others and she’s the least likely of the group to have any unexpected surprises pop up between now and November. She’s smart, she’s ambitious and she’s aggressive. The problem is, whereas we like our male candidates to be smart, ambitious and aggressive, those same traits in a woman candidate are viewed somewhat negatively. Unquestionably, we have a very irrational double standard. But maybe this time it’s different because of Biden’s age. If she shows the gravitas we expect of a possible—just-in-case—future president, she’ll do fine, and the old chauvinistic complaints will quickly be forgotten. But this also opens up a very interesting situation here in California. If the Biden-Harris ticket is elected and sworn in, there is an open U.S. Senate seat that, as I understand, the governor gets to fill and the line has already started.
In case you hadn’t heard about it, this past week U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky went on Fox News (where else) and badmouthed our lovely City of Malibu for what he charged was a bad case of elitism. You might well wonder why now, in a week when the last possible COVID-19 bailout bill (or whatever you might call it) was in play and ultimately failed, and also a week in which the White House seemed to have lost poor old Mitch’s telephone number, and thus the senate leader was missing in action on the bailout bill, he nevertheless still found time to go on Fox and bash little old Malibu. The back story is this: The California League of Cities asked all the California cities to send a letter to the powers in Washington explaining and pleading for the cities to be included in the bailout bill because the crisis had put us all in some very iffy financial positions. Sale tax revenue is significantly down (people just aren’t doing much shopping), transient occupancy tax (money collected from hotel visitors) is way down because visitors aren’t coming and gas tax revenues are way down (since people aren’t traveling much). Ultimately, we know, income tax revenues are also going to be way down. Our mayor, Mikke Pierson, sent the letter, along with an entire bunch of other mayors and councils. Having seen the letter, it didn’t seem to me to be much more than a plain vanilla request to the Feds for inclusion in the dollar giveaway pool. Some smart guy or gal in McConnell’s office saw that we had included switching to environmentally sensitive electric vehicles or some such language and saw possible political pay dirt. That or an opportunity to divert attention from his boss and point fingers at Chardonnay-sipping, brie-eating West Coast elites who want charging stations for their TESLAs when the rest of the country is just trying to put food on the table. This being the election season (aka the silly season), it went viral and Malibu started receiving emails and phone calls lambasting us for our obvious indifference to the needs of a suffering nation. Then some of our locals, who seem to have an almost morbid fascination with our city manager, went on the attack against City Manager Reva Feldman for the letter, when all she had done was nothing more than being included as a cc. We have less than three months to the election and it seems to me there are a few things we can do to retain our sanity. Stop this nonsensical blame game where we reduce complicated problems to blaming someone for whatever it is we are upset about and then proceed to unleash an almost irrational attack on the designated bad guy. For some, it’s those lefty socialists destroying our nation. For others, it’s people trying to destroy the white race or the Black race or every other race. For some, it’s the elitists up North or out West and for some of us it’s those pro-Trump, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals. We’re all Americans and, frankly, we’re stuck with each other, so let’s try and stop some of this crap.
Russia apparently is the first country to claim victory over COVID-19 and their president, Vladimir Putin, says they have officially registered a coronavirus vaccine. This announcement was met, as you might imagine, with some scientific skepticism, but Putin insisted his own daughter had been vaccinated and that it works for two years. As I write this column, Trump has not yet Tweeted acceptance of Putin’s claim, but it’s only matter of time because Trump knows that Putin never lies.
P.S. After Mitch McConnell’s unseemly criticism of Malibu, I can tell you all that he’s definitely been removed from my Christmas card list.