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    Is reality finally catching up to Gov. Gavin Newsom?
    • November 11, 2023

    Is reality finally catching up to Gov. Gavin Newsom?

    His approval rating is as low as it’s ever been, according to a new Berkeley/IGS poll, which should not be surprising considering he spends most of his time pretending to be president when Californians elected him to at least pretend to be governor.

    Apparently, the act is wearing thin. Voters were iffy on his recent trip to China, where he paid a photographer $5,000 a month to document the various ways he looks thoughtfully into the horizon. Voters were even less impressed with his appointment of a Maryland resident with no experience in elective office to California’s then-vacant seat in the U.S. Senate.

    Newsom’s constant national TV appearances and the strange campaign trip to Alabama likely did not help either.

    But while it was fun to see those efforts shrugged off by California’s voters respondents, it would have been more fun to trip them up with the question: Which of Newsom’s recent accomplishments do you like best? followed by a minute of silence.

    The last time Newsom polled so bad was right after the French Laundry scandal, where he was caught at a fancy restaurant partying with lobbyists indoor and unmasked while the rest of the state was being told such activities were dangerous and selfish and would kill everyone.

    In fact, it seems like Newsom sinks in the polls whenever it becomes impossible to hide the real Gavin.

    It’s strange to me that with such a long record of bold pronouncements that produce little results, Newsom’s approval rating isn’t always so low. But perhaps this is the turning point.

    Newsom has an undeserved reputation of being a fearless leader who’s not afraid to take bold stances. But, like the snake oil salesman who stays in town only long enough to swindle half the town before getting found out, Newsom has always left office before most voters realized not much happened.

    Five years into his governorship, homelessness is as bad as ever. The housing crisis persists. The opioid epidemic is still an epidemic. The cost of living is crushing people. Traffic is still bad. We still have rolling blackouts. The population is declining. California’s public schools are failing a generation of students. I could go on but you get the point.

    To his credit, Newsom is pushing to speed up the paused effort to build more water storage. But I remain skeptical as Newsom’s accomplishments seem to peak at the announcement.

    I’m sure if he were to rebut me he’d throw some policy jargon at me about “reimagining” this or “investing” in that. But all roads lead to the same destination.

    As mayor, he promised to end homelessness in 10 years, but a decade passed and homelessness was as bad as ever. A few years ago, as governor, he promised to end family homelessness in five years. How do you think that will turn out?

    Newsom’s defenders might say that at least he’s willing to try things. But it seems like the only thing he’s actually willing to try is the crudite in MSNBC’s green room.

    I’m not even sure why he wants to be president since there’s no higher office for him to audition for from the Oval Office, but he seems intent on getting there.

    I pray this poll is the first step in preventing that.

    Follow Matt on Twitter @FlemingWords

    ​ Orange County Register