Nevertheless, I will risk my reputation once more and go to bat for yet another mensch: the (cross all body parts) next governor of "we're our own worst enemy" State of California.
So I love Tom Campbell a lot. But love, unlike affection, must be earned. So here's why I love Tom Campbell so much:
- I love him for his breadth and depth of public service: this includes, but is not limited to: serving in the U.S. Congress, the California State Senate, the Federal Trade Commission, the University of California system, and as Director of Finance for the State of California.
- I love him for his adaptability: he's lived in Berkeley and in the O.C. He was a prof at Cal and at Stanford.
(only the coolest of peeps can hang in both schools).
- I love him for his finesse: "I'm most concerned about the dropping educational attributes of our population."
(whereas I would have cried: "BEWARE THE IDIOCRITAZATION OF OUR SOCIETY!")
- I love him for his ethics and class: when I raised the issue of smear tactics, he took a total Nash Game Theory approach to explain why such tactics are ineffective. Nice way to get out of the implicitly-smearing-by-saying-you're-not-the-one-smearing rathole.
- I love him for his consistency. When asked why he didn't run as an independent because he is so balanced (aka "moderate"), he replied that he believes in personal liberties with respect to both governance *and* social issues. Thus, a conservative in the most classic liberal sense. He added that independents tend to skew election results to the extreme candidates, and cited Perot and Nader as recent examples (clearly he's not loyal to the GOP then.... another point in his favor for me!).
- I love him for his raw intelligence. Last night when he talked about the budget - which is really the main job of any governor (allocating the state's resources) - he decried simplistic, soundbyte-appeal responses such as "eliminating waste, fraud and abuse" (as in, duh?) and instead did the heavy lifting that a complex environment like California's requires and drew from finance/monetary policy, history, law, economics and legislative rules to develop comprehensive solutions. Not soundbyte-y but way more credible.
- I love him for his unabashed humor: "I'd like to be more optimistic than the facts permit me to be. Go Bears." He also humored an alum last night who begged him to recite some salty Irish chants. You may have had to be there, but it was priceless.