California’s Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom visited the White House on July 13th while President Joe Biden was far away in the Middle East begging the Saudis to pump more oil. While at the White House, Governor Newsom met with First Lady Jill Biden to reportedly discuss how California could help advance the Biden administration’s agenda as well as education reform. The narcissistic governor made sure to smile for the cameras before entering the White House.
Governor Newsom is positioning himself as representing a new generation of leaders on the national stage who are willing to fight forcefully for the progressives’ radical agenda against the “evil” red states. He has done little of late to quell the growing speculation in political circles about his 2024 presidential ambitions.
The ostensible purpose of Governor Newsom’s trip to Washington D.C. was to receive an education innovation award on behalf of his state. He used the opportunity to deliver a partisan harangue. While skipping the summer national governors’ meeting held in Portland, Maine, the governor of the bluest of blue states hurled insults at Republican-led states from approximately five hundred miles away in the nation’s capital.
“I do believe education is under assault in ways that I’ve never experienced in my lifetime,” Governor Newsom said. “But what’s happening now – banning books, suppressing speech, the othering of our students, teachers, parents – it’s alarming. And so I came here not just to acknowledge and be recognized as a state that’s committed to righting wrongs and advancing the cause of reform and innovation but I’d be remiss if I didn’t speak more deeply to the moment that I think we’re living in as it relates to the assault on our freedom.” Newsom accused the governors of Florida, Texas, and other red states of engaging in what he called “performative politics” as opposed to what he claimed was California’s “real education reform.”
This was by no means Governor Newsom’s first attempt to cast himself as the rising progressive hero of his generation. For example, he ran an ad recently in Florida, paid for by his reelection campaign for governor, in which he tried to paint a grim picture of Florida under the leadership of the Left’s nemesis, Governor Ron DeSantis. “Freedom is under attack in your state,” Newsom proclaimed to Floridians. The ad urged Florida residents to move to California where, according to Newsom, “we still believe in freedom.”
The ad was a clumsy attempt to turn the tables on the truly free state of Florida. In addition to promoting himself as a fighter for the progressives’ national agenda, Governor Newsom has made his feud with his Florida counterpart personal. Governor DeSantis is living rent-free in Governor Newsom’s head.
Governor DeSantis, for his part, has treated Governor Newsom as a hypocrite worthy of mocking. DeSantis reminded people how Newsom slapped ordinary Californians with a COVID lockdown, treating them like “peasants,” while the high and mighty governor was enjoying a meal with his cronies at the fancy French Laundry restaurant.
When a TV anchor asked Governor Newsom what he would say to Governor DeSantis if he ever met the Florida governor, Newsom delivered an angry, self-righteous attack line: “Stop being a bully. Stop belittling people who look differently, act differently love different. Who the hell are you? Stop!”
We know who Governor Newsom is. He is the quintessential performative politician – all hat and no cattle, as they say in Texas. Gavin Newsom is the governor of a state that is falling apart on his watch. Yet he has the unmitigated gall to lecture the governor of one of the most successful states in the country. Florida leaves California in the dust in so many ways.
For example, when looking at a combined measure of personal and economic freedoms, Florida came out on top in World Population Review’s ranking of states. California ranked 48th in the nation.
As Governor DeSantis said about the difference between Florida and California when it came to respecting people’s freedom during the COVID pandemic, “In Florida, we weren’t locking them down, we were lifting our people up.”
As for education, Florida also outpaced California. U.S. News & World Report ranked Florida third in the nation in terms of “how well states are educating their children” overall. Florida ranked first for higher education and sixteenth for pre-k through 12th grade. California ranked twentieth for education overall, coming in third for higher education but a dismal fortieth for pre-k through 12th grade.
Most kindergarten through 12th grade public and private schools in Florida reopened for in-person learning during August 2020. On the other hand, many California public schools remained closed for in-person learning until well into 2021, limiting California’s public-school students to the inferior remote learning alternative that has set back their intellectual and emotional growth. Not to worry about the Newsom children, however. These privileged children attended a private school, which was re-opened for in-person learning by October 2020.
Fed-up Californians are voting with their feet as they head to Florida and other red states. There certainly are not too many Floridians or residents of other red states pulling up stakes and moving to California.
Governor Newsom himself chose to vacation in the red state of Montana, one of the twenty-two states where California prohibits state-funded and state-sponsored travel. Tellingly, Newsom’s office initially tried to hide the fact that he was spending vacation time in – horrors of horrors – a red state. But Newsom’s office trumpeted Newsom’s visit to the White House while President Biden was out of town as well as the red-state bashing speech he delivered in accepting an undeserved education innovation award.
In sum, Governor Newsom is a failed governor of a troubled state that he has made worse during his tenure. Governor Newsom’s arrogance and hypocrisy are his defining traits. Governor DeSantis has reason to be proud of his accomplishments in keeping Florida both free and prosperous. It is no contest.