As the mayor of San Francisco and even following his election as governor of California, Newsom’s two defining features — in the eyes of many — were his central casting political look and his unvarnished political ambition.
That view may be changing after Newsom’s performance in his state’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic in the past two months.
“This is not a permanent state, this is a moment in time,” Newsom said in explaining his decision at the time. “We will look back at these decisions as pivotal.”
He was 100% right — in both his early decision to keep Californians at home and in the impact that move had.
(Worth noting: The comparison is not apples to apples of course — due, at least in part to the density of new York City and the overwhelming numbers of cases for the state that come out of the city.)
“The state’s so ahead of the game on ventilators that it began sending 500 of its ventilators to hot spots in Illinois, New Jersey and New York on Tuesday. Based on the advice of federal emergency officials, ventilators will also be loaned to Washington D.C., Delaware, Maryland and likely Nevada, Newsom said.”
It’s tough to look at the past six weeks and say any governor in the country has done a better job of flattening the curve of the coronavirus — and doing it quickly via public policy decisions — than Newsom. And yet, Newsom has been drastically overshadowed by the likes of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland’s Larry Hogan — to name two. Whether that’s because Newsom is on the West Coast or because he lacks some of the everyman appeal of both Cuomo and Hogan is difficult to say. But it’s a reality.
Here’s the thing though: Newsom’s performance in this most trying of times will be part of his biography — and the historical record — forever. If California’s coronavirus cases and deaths remain low — as a percentage of its massive population — the state (and Newsom) will almost certainly be seen as a shining example of how to handle a crisis.
“When you’ve got governors with stratospheric approval ratings for their handling of the crisis and ratings that are 20 and 30 points higher than the president’s and you have governors from states like California and New York and Illinois leading the crisis response — all big-name, major-league governors — you’re going to see that leadership reflected in polls for the presidency in future election years.”
“It’s pretty obvious that the governor of California wants to be president of the United States someday. Willie Brown, the former Assembly speaker and Newsom’s political patron and predecessor as mayor of San Francisco, says in an interview with Politico, ‘he is still on track (for the White House), he’s doing what he needs to do…”http://rss.cnn.com/”
There’s no shame in ambition. (If there was, no one would ever be president — or run for it.) But what appeared to be the biggest knock on Newsom before the coronavirus pandemic — all ambition and no accomplishments — might have just disappeared over the past few months. And that’s a very big deal if Newsom wants to have a chance at being president one day.