April 24, 2024

Whatever Happened to Gavin Newsom?

It seems like only yesterday that California’s glib, hair-gelled governor was a rising star in Democrat circles.

More than a century ago, in his timeless Devil’s Dictionary, satirist Ambrose Bierce defined the politician as “an eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared.”

This seems an almost eerie foreshadowing of Gavin Newsom, the perfectly coiffed California governor whose good looks and oleaginous essence are the envy of every used car salesman in America. But Bierce wasn’t done deriding Slippery Gavin just yet. “When he wriggles, he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice,” he added. “As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.”

Whether Newsom is still alive these days — at least in a political sense — is a matter of debate. Heck, we half expect to see his mug on the back of a milk carton. And yet it seems only yesterday that the self-important Newsom was the subject of the political world’s most poorly kept secret: that he was being positioned to swoop in and replace his party’s deeply unpopular and embarrassingly incompetent 81-year-old president, Joe Biden. Indeed, Newsom’s every public appearance was seemingly scripted, including a red-state tour and a friendly meet-up with Biden himself, just to keep up appearances, and a trip to Communist China, there to burnish his foreign policy credentials and steamroll a little kid on the basketball court.

Naturally, all this publicity vaulted Newsom to semi-stardom, at least among Democrat power-brokers, all of whom wish that decrepit Joe Biden could somehow be yanked Vaudeville-like off the presidential stage in favor of this younger, stronger, smoother pol.

We in our humble shop have sensed the same thing — as has everyone who pays attention to politics. Nearly 20 months ago, our Mark Alexander predicted that Biden wouldn’t be the Democrats’ nominee in 2024, and he named Newsom as one possible replacement. And yet Scranton Joe shows no signs of relinquishing power — at least not voluntarily. Such is the appeal of the office, and such are the predispositions of those who are attracted to it.

As for President-in-Waiting Newsom, a funny thing happened on the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: He began to disappear before our eyes.

PJ Media’s Matt Margolis wondered last November whether Newsom’s star was fading, noting that his approval rating had hit an all-time low 44%, down 11 points from earlier in 2023, and that his disapproval rating was a remarkable 49%, which was also an all-time high. Yikes.

Earlier this week, a former Ronald Reagan speechwriter, Kenneth Khachigian, suggested that “bad governance and the phony factor” had finally caught up to Newsom. On the matter of the aforementioned state visit to China, Khachigian writes:

The staged visit exposed the governor’s most fatal political flaw — his lack of authenticity. That phony factor is one he can’t escape and was summarized in a recent exposé by the nonprofit news organization CalMatters: “Governor Newsom has long touted his baseball career, including that he played at Santa Clara University. But he was never on the roster, among other misperceptions of his accomplishments. Newsom hasn’t corrected his record.”

Embellishments like that, along with more serious ones such as traveling to Florida to claim that the Golden State is a low-tax paradise, are the type of political fumbles that have upended Mr. Newsom’s hopes for higher office. But those misadventures are peanuts compared with the damage from his governing policies, which fracture the finances and stability of California.

Ah, yes, those progressive policies. They’ll undo even the best-laid plans of a politician. But so will getting walloped on a national debate stage by America’s best governor, Florida Republican Ron DeSantis.

One of the nation’s shrewdest political minds, Democrat strategist James Carville, had perhaps the cruelest take on Newsom’s prospects. When he was asked by The New York Times’s Maureen Dowd to list his party’s up-and-comers, he named a handful of governors — North Carolina’s Roy Cooper, Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, Kentucky’s Andy Beshear, Maryland’s Wes Moore, and Pennsylvania’s Josh Shapiro — but not Newsom. As Khachigian put it, “Newsom was never as formidable as his fan base thought.”

Gavin Newsom isn’t dead just yet. But the combination of his own policy failures and the terrier-like stubbornness of Joe (and Jill) Biden is making it increasingly likely that the one-time heir apparent will be remembered by history as the error apparent.

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Please join us in prayer for our nation — that righteous leaders would rise and prevail and we would be united as Americans. Pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please lift up your Patriot team and our mission to support and defend our Republic's Founding Principle of Liberty, that the fires of freedom would be ignited in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2024 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.