Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Deja Vu in the race for California Attorney General

Jerry Brown was governor of California from 1975 to 1982. He gained the nickname "Moonbeam" for his strange ideas of governance and his eccentric behavior, such as eschewing the Governor's mansion for an apartment with a mattress on the floor.

I was mortified when Brown was actually elected to the office of California Attorney General in 2006, and I will be equally mortified if he is actually elected back into office as California's governor, which is looking more and more like a certainty what with the Republican infighting between Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner.

Meanwhile, with Brown looking to vacate his current position, the California Attorney General's race is wide open. Last summer, there looked to be two front runners: San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris on the Democrat side, and California State Senator Tom Harman on the Republican ticket. The situation became more uncertain for the Republicans with the February 1st entrance of John Eastman, who just resigned as Dean of Chapman University Law School so he can run for California AG.

On June 4th of last year, Senator Harman posted a column entitled Why I am running for Attorney General on John Fleischman's Flash Report, a blog that covers California politics. In his column, Senator Harman emphasized his support for the death penalty, and also his willingness to support the will of the people of California by fighting lawsuits seeking to overturn Prop 8, which is a Constitutional amendment that defines marriage in the state of California as being only between one man and one woman.

On February 1st of this year, Mr. Eastman posted a column on Flash Report entitled... Why I am running for Attorney General. Wow, same title. In his column, Mr. Eastman emphasized his support for... the death penalty, and also his willingness... to support the will of the people of California by fighting lawsuits seeking to overturn Prop 8.

I can appreciate that Mr. Eastman is most likely sincere in his belief that these issues should be something worth addressing in his campaign, but I must say that it seems a bit disingenuous of him to allow Senator Harman to put himself out there and plow the road eight months in advance, and then swoop in to attempt to hijack these issues that Senator Harman, early on, made the focus of his campaign.

The wording of Mr. Eastman's column (save the title) may not quite smack of plagiarism, but the use of the exact same venue to announce his candidacy (the Flash Report), and the similarity of the major issues addressed by Mr. Eastman to the issues raised by Senator Harman back in June of 2009 is a different matter.

Mr. Eastman, I suggest that if you are going to run your own campaign, you should plow your own road to the AG's office.

Good Day to You, Sir


Anonymous said...

You, sir, need to get your facts straight.

While Sen. Harman has been promising to defend Prop 8 in court, Dr. Eastman has been busy actually doing so. I'm sure Eastman's amicus brief was far more instrumental in the California Supreme Court upholding Prop 8 than Harman's promises.

Eastman has been plowing the way for years, and it is a shame that you're callously ignoring his contributions.

Chanman said...

It's not about who has done more; it's about who established the beachhead first and who is the johnny-come-lately who barrels through after the mines have already been cleared.

Don't get too worked up - if Eastman wins the primary, he'll always get my vote over Harris in the general.

Anonymous said...

I am appreciative of the fact that Buckhorn Road has tossed this issue out there. Both Eastman and Harman appear to be solid individuals in terms of character, principles, and values, but politics is politics, which sometimes clouds the facts.

There is no question that Eastman is on the side of the angles, but pushing Harman’s record into the “promising” corner while characterizing Eastman’s as the tip of the spear “by plowing the way for years” is veneer thick in reality.

Sure politicians of any stripe talk the talk—hey that is how and do get elected, but the real test is who carries the water on the big issues. Who on the Republican side in Sacramento resists the temptation of introducing table scrap bills for special interests and instead introduces measures that reflect the core values of what made this country so great? Who carries legislation to not only elevate and reshape the nature of the debate in Sacramento for the fundamental issues that continue to plague our once golden state, but to also provide a forum for individuals like Eastman to highlight and rigorously deliberate both inside and outside the classroom?

A casual review of what Harman has done lately in defense of Prop 8, we can see clearly that he immediately introduced legislation, Senate Bill 617, to force the AG to represent the will of the people in court proceedings. I think Eastman would like that? Harman apparently recognized that there is no legal protection for the people's voice in cases where the Attorney General's personal or political beliefs diverge from those of the people. It seems to me that had Senate Bill 617 been enacted, the voters would have had the ability to be zealously represented.

What are some of Harman’s other legislative priorities which clearly show that he does more than just provide empty promises? Well after reviewing the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual and Transgender Caucus website (Taxpayers are paying for that?) located here:

As the lead Republican in both the Assembly Judiciary and Senate Judiciary Committees, Harman clobbered each of the bills forced by this identity confused caucus.

Well, maybe Harman is loose on the other big issues that are near and dear to conservative hearts? Again, after throwing a dart again the wall to pick a legislative year, I notice Harman introduced the following bills: SB 3 (2007) Illegal Immigrants, SB 315 (2007) Capital Cases, SB 621 (2008) Parental Notification, SB 626 (2008) Sex Offenders
SB 636 (2008) Death Penalty, SB 846 (2008) Criminal Street Gangs, SCA 8 (2008) State Spending Cap (co-authored with Tom McClintock), SCR 16 (2008) Commemorating Prop 13…shall I continue?

Bottom line, Senator Harman appears to have (despite the odds in Sacramento) PLOWED ahead on fundamental issues for years. But, that is just my opinion—I’ll let the facts speak for themselves.