The Issa Effect

GOP candidates for governor just keep getting weirder

A recent story in the Los Angeles Times caught our attention. Seems there’s a guy running for governor of California who has some pretty interesting bona fides to recommend him to the post: first, he’s a registered sex offender; second, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for manslaughter.

In an eyeball-popping report in the Times last week, Seema Mehta wrote about candidate Glenn Champ’s presentation to a gathering of hundreds of California Republicans, as the state GOP sorts out who will lose to Gov. Jerry Brown this November.

Representing the felony wing of the party, Champ claims his experiences will come in handy working with politicians in Sacramento. As Mehta wrote, “He calls them criminals, saying, for example, that they routinely infringe upon constitutionally protected gun rights.”

“I know what the criminal mind thinks, and I know how it works, and I know how to stop it, and that’s something [other politicians] don’t get,” Champ told the paper.

We’re calling Champ’s ascendancy into GOP legitimacy part of the “Issa effect,” after Darrell Issa, the SoCal Congressman who parlayed a life of crime—stealing cars, concealing guns—into a powerful seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s unclear whom Issa will support for governor—but it is clear that the GOP ticket is shaping up as a doozy.

There’s state assemblyman and Second Amendment “gundamentalist” Tim Donnelly, who recently accused Barack Obama of being a dictator on par with Adolph Hitler. Donnelly is the California founder of a revived Minuteman movement, hypernationalist patriots bent on spilling the blood of a tyrant, if only they could get their hands on one. Donnelly got caught with a loaded gun in an airport a few years ago.

Then there’s former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari, whose recently unveiled “jobs plan” includes fracking the Monterey Shale and rolling back state environmental regulations and labor laws.

Another horseman of the inevitable electoral apocalypse is Laguna Hills mayor Andrew Blount, and he’s looking pretty good right now. Blount didn’t kill anyone, he didn’t carry a loaded gun into an airport, and he didn’t call the president Hitler. We’re not sure where Blount stands on destroying California’s water supply, but we’re willing to hear him out.

Tom Gogola is a contributing editor to this paper.

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