Lucas For Speaker: Campaign Update — Week One


I’m very pleased to report that after a full week of my candidacy for Speaker, I am more viable than when I began. Momentum continues to build. 

Revealing numbers at his early juncture is both bad taste and bad luck but suffice to say I’m as much of a contender as anyone. 

I know that with nearly two weeks to go until the scheduled March 11 vote, some of you are reluctant to commit – a “No” always keeps you in the mix –and in deference to you I haven’t pressed on the issue. 

I’ve been heartened by the words of encouragement and the many compliments. Personally, I always felt I could do a better job leading the house than a manikin but it’s gratifying to hear someone else echo that sentiment.  

Not that I’m being derogatory about manikins. Some of my best friends are manikins. It’s important to be more inclusive, given the high visibility of the speakership and its powerful role modeling effect on kids. 

There’s a lot of really hard work involved in campaigning for this job. For me, it’s a little awkward since I’m not a peer per se and feel little skittish about intruding on each of your fundraisers, even though I know the competition does. 

Several lobbyists have remarked that a mainstay of recent fundraisers is the stream of speaker candidates each of whom hugs or pumps the hand of the fund-raiser’s beneficiary, swearing unswerving loyalty and soulful kinship. 

The lobbyists seem to find this amusing. Strikes me as rather tawdry. 

As I said in last week’s declaration of candidacy, I pledge to help you raise money 24/7 except when presiding of course.  I should probably take time out for meals and log some hours at home with the wife and kid as well. 

(There’s a reason domestic tranquility is in the preamble of the Constitution.) 

If there are better ways to help all of you, I’m eager to accommodate. 

For instance, I can help raise your public profile by cashing in some chits with the Capitol press corps. Print reporters, radio reporters, even TV  – I can get them to your fund-raiser fairly easily so they can question you about your commitment to public policy and other good PR stuff like that. 

That’s a far easier promise for me to fulfill than any other candidates. 

I had hoped not to play this card but based on what I see of the campaigns of the contenders, I think I need to better trumpet my pluses. 

I appeal to the 16 women members of the Democratic caucus not running for speaker and their six GOP counterparts to not simply vote for a candidate because of gender. 

While my name is neither hyphenated nor am I as sensitive or nurturing as I’d like, I cook, clean and cuddle allowing you an historical opportunity to elect the first Trophy Husband as Speaker of the California Assembly.

Just something to factor in, ladies. 

Two recurring questions over the course of the campaign have been how my political beliefs will affect my job performance and what exactly is my agenda. 

First, my agenda is your agenda. As I’ve said, I pledge never to vote on any matter pending in the house. This is the ultimate expression of post-partisanship and I again urge the other candidates to make the same vow. 

Here’s the campaign in a nutshell: I preside – otherwise, ride the tide. 

While I believe that Karl and Vladimir pulled a few punches, my personal politics will not intrude on my speakership. Those of you acquainted with my reporting career know I’m just as fair and objective as anyone else. 

In that vein, I want to reach out specifically to the 32 Republicans of the Assembly who, with varying degrees of congeniality, have pretty much been cut out of the action for the past decade. 

Some say its because you’ve made yourselves irrelevant by restricting your public policy contributions to “no” votes. That seems a simplification. Although it was kinda cool when Republicans made deals. 

Back in 1989, Assembly Republicans agreed to supply enough votes to approve an increase in the sales tax on gasoline. In return for those votes, Republicans insisted Democrats back a cap on state spending. Democrats were more than happy to do so after the cap was written so that state spending would never reach it. 

That kind of happy bipartisanship – of seeing the greater good for the temporary evil – can flourish again. No disrespect to my rivals but that atmosphere of mutually beneficial, alcohol-lubricated deal-making can only return with me as speaker. 

Restricting selection of a speaker to a Democrat-only affair is both myopic and, frankly, bad manners. There are 32 Republicans – 40 percent of the house’s membership – shutting them out of the action is both unfortunate and unfair. 

I can guarantee that whatever is being offered by the other candidates is table scraps compared the treatment the GOP will receive under a Lucas speakership. 

As Post-Partisanship’s Poster Boy, doing less than treating 40 percent of the house’s members with respect and comity would be dead wrong. 

We should talk. My people will call your people. 

To my Democratic opponents: The tension, pressure and exhaustion spawned by this contest must be taking its toll. I feel a little sad for what you must be going through, particularly given how it’s going to end. 

Some of you already recognize that your own vote plus that of seven others falls well short of a caucus majority. Talk to me. 

Some of you want nothing more than for the whole crazy rigmarole to be over and to hell with who wins. I can help. 

Some of you are wondering why go through this suffering for a lousy job with killer hours that will prevent you from seeing your children grow up. Let me shoulder the burden. I have a 15-year-old at home. It’s either this or the merchant marines. 

There’s no shame in acknowledging reality. And there’s no shame in shucking off a weight you don’t want to carry. Life is short. 

Then you go to the Assembly. 

Damn it. Strike that. I promised to stop demeaning the institution. Hey, we all make mistakes. It’s a big person who can admit they’re wrong. Once burned, twice shy. A stitch in time saves nine. Isn’t that the First Lady over there in the suede go-go boots?


Filed under: Venting


  1. I’d be glad to campaign for you, Greg. Just as soon as I de-register. By the way, have you thought about renting an apartment in Los Angeles? As it stands now, you are geographically undesirable. Perhaps you could address this topic in the Week #2 update.

    Comment by Hedy — 2.27.2008 @ 2:36 pm

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    Comment by Kiri — 2.18.2010 @ 5:32 am

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