Editorials

Interesting to see politicians run in 2 directions at once

State Senate candidate Anna Caballero, U.S. House candidate Josh Harder, Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Gavin Newsom, candidate for governor, during Newsom’s stop at at Harder’s campaign headquarters on Sept. 12
State Senate candidate Anna Caballero, U.S. House candidate Josh Harder, Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Gavin Newsom, candidate for governor, during Newsom’s stop at at Harder’s campaign headquarters on Sept. 12 gstapley@modbee.com

Bright purple Democrats, green-around-the-edges Republicans. You never know what you’ll find around here.

Maybe that’s why our politicians often seem to be running in opposite directions at exactly the same time – toward Democrat or Republican voters, but away from fellow red or blue politicians. Can’t blame them. It’s hard to predict where our smart, generous, open-minded voters will stand on issues or candidates.

Some strong Democrats adamantly oppose the radical environmentalists’ agenda that would take away significant portions of our rivers and the livelihoods of many people. Some solid Republicans abhor many of President Donald Trump’s policies – like abandoning our Dreamer neighbors, separating families at the border, reckless trade talk resulting in tariffs on wine, nuts and cheese, and dismantling the Affordable Care Act, which helps thousands of our residents.

Perhaps that’s why Congressional candidate Josh Harder was so quiet when he learned the state’s Democratic standard-bearer – Lt. Governor and gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom – was coming to town Wednesday. No tweets. No press release. Just a couple of Facebook posts that even some close watchers missed.

The Bee found out about the event through a Sacramento Bee reporter traveling on Newsom’s bus.

Perhaps Harder worried that the former San Francisco mayor would be characterized as the ultimate Bay Area politician – with Bay Area being code for elitist, condescending, tree-hugging, etc.

As if on cue, Rep. Jeff Denham tweeted out a slam, accusing Harder of “getting chummy” with Newsom while Denham was busy advancing water-storage legislation. “#BayAreaHarder continues to tie himself to those funding him: The Bay Area.”

At least Newsom dropped by. Republican John Cox hasn’t bothered. We checked Facebook, and didn’t see even one visit. Before the primaries, he promised to drop in on a Stanislaus Republican Central Committee meeting but was running so late and that he canceled – perhaps explaining the committee’s endorsement of Travis Allen.

While Harder tries to downplay any affiliation with Newsom, he went to Anaheim last weekend to stand as close as possible to former President Barrack Obama.

Don’t expect Denham to bring President Donald Trump to town. Or put his face in an ad or re-tweet one of his tweets. Denham’s Facebook page sent birthday wishes to former presidents George W. and George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, posted pictures of vets, cute pets and lots of local folks. But we couldn’t find Trump. There was a photo of the White House on President’s Day, but not the guy who lives there. Donald Who?

Running in two directions at once – something Denham and Harder have in common.

SPEAKING OF VISITORS, several people involved in fighting the state water grab spoke with an editor from one of the internet’s most notorious publications. Joel Pollak, senior editor (same title provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos once held) at Brietbart News, was in town presumably to hear our side of the controversy. Apparently he was more interested in finding out if we were angry with San Francisco. Conservatives hate the city by the Bay. Hopefully, our folks told him that’s not true here. We share a river, after all. If we lose water, so will 23 Bay Area cities.

THE UGLINESS OF TROLLS. No doubt, Supervisor Kristin Olsen regrets her arrest for driving under the influence earlier this week. The fallout will be difficult. But the memes already popping up are ugly, mean and, unfortunately, to be expected. Refuse to tolerate them by telling whomever sends one to you that their problem is worse than Olsen’s.

Mike Dunbar is the Opinions Page Editor of The Modesto Bee. 209 578-2325.

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