News came today from the LA Times of Antonio Villaraigosa’s decision not to run for Governor of California.
If you had asked me a year ago–even a few months ago–I would have said Antonio’s run was a “sure thing.” Polling aside, the largest measure of the State’s Democratic machine was ready to line up behind him. On top of that, he was running in a State that would likely be leaning anti-Republican and he–the potential first Mexican American Governor in the State’s history–could help push that along with a “mini-me” version of the Obama effect.
So why did he decide not to run?
His people are talking about his dedication to the City of Los Angeles, and his devotion to his family, both as motivating causes. Behind the scenes, they are talking about low polling numbers and a possible Senate run in 2012.
But a big part of their decision was a recognition that CA is a sinking ship. The current crisis in the State speaks to the structural problems we are facing, ones that require a true and meaningful structural overhaul to cure. Stepping up to be “captain” at this time is a no-win situation politically. If you have vision of a political career beyond the Governorship, it is a death knell. While there is movement in CA to form a Constitutional Convention next year, that movement still possesses a flurry of unknowns. The simple truth of the matter is, things are bad. And we don’t know if there is going to be any clear and immediate way to fix them.
Villaraigosa isn’t a superstar in the political arena when it comes to his skills. Frankly, I think of him as more of a brown face who has been as lucky as he has been deliberate in attaining the positions he has. He and his team knew they weren’t up to the challenges facing California. Frankly, who is? Furthermore, they knew that fact would spell the end to a promising career.