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I Too Am Running for Lieutenant Governor in 2018

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Most hilarious California political story of the holiday season so far: Assembly Speaker John Perez and State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg are running for lieutenant governor in 2018!

At least, the Sacramento Bee reports that Perez and Steinberg have opened campaign accounts to raise money for the lieutenant governorship in that year.

And why not? The race is less than six years away!

In trying to fashion a reaction, I’m reminded of the words of many, many novelists who say how hard it is to invent fiction than surpasses non-fiction.

For how often do you see top elected officials formally announce that they intend to seek a taxpayer-funded vacation, six years in advance?

It’s like one of Tony Soprano’s crew declaring, years ahead of time, that he’ll eventually take one of those no-show jobs at the Newark docks. Or Gary Busey declaring that he intends to be a full-time bum in some years hence.

Yes, yes, the lieutenant governor does have a few narrow duties (serving on higher education boards and the State Lands Commission), and the current occupant of the office, Gavin Newsom, has done as much with the post as one possibly can.

But as Newsom himself has acknowledged, it’s an unnecessary job. And it’s a complete waste of time and energy and talent to put a smart, hardworking politician in such a gig. Perez and Steinberg are both smart and hardworking, so why would they throw away their lives?

Beats me. As I’ve written before, the lieutenant governorship is the perfect gig for writers who need a day job of no real importance so they can pay the bills while they think and write. In other words, I’m the perfect candidate.

So let me announce here my candidacy for lieutenant governor in 2018. As someone with no qualifications to do public service, I am obviously the best qualified candidate – and far better qualified than Perez and Steinberg for the job.

I promise to resign if governor dies and turn things over to whoever is next in the line of succession. My only agenda will be to end the job. When it comes to my other duties, I’ll die not trying.

Lead Prop Zero blogger Joe Mathews is California editor at Zocalo Public Square, a fellow at Arizona State University’s Center for Social Cohesion, and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (University of California, 2010).

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