In mid-December, California Governor Gavin Newsom brought in Dee Dee Myers as a Senior Advisor to the Governor and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).
That is a big title that gives little indication about what exactly Myers will be doing.
Myers spoke to POLITICO and claimed the first part of her role was,
“ ‘Job One is distributing that vaccine,’ she said. ‘My role in that will be helping to facilitate recovery and helping businesses through that, while keeping an eye on the big picture … helping to advance the governor’s agenda on both those tracks.’ ”
Right now, the vaccine distribution is more of a non-agenda, as Governor Hair Gel bumbled through yet another press conference to let Californians know that out of the 1.3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine received, only 454,000 doses have been administered. When reporter’s asked about the “agenda” to beef up distribution, His Hairfulness was vague:
“They’re all across the state. They’ve been distributed to counties, have been distributed to providers, distributed throughout the system.”
No evidence of facilitation happening here, Dee Dee. Better get on that.
After serving as the first female White House Press Secretary under President Bill Clinton, Myers seemed to fluidly segue into various entertainment communications and corporate governance positions. She served on the board of the Wynn Resorts last year, and received a hefty sum of $408,156. Nice work, if you can get it—and most of us cannot.
Before blazing the Press Secretary trail, Myers prior political experience was working for California State Senator Al Torres in the late 80s, and on two failed gubernatorial campaigns: Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s in 1986, and Senator Dianne Feinstein’s in 1990. So, aside from knowing the players and the playing field, she was not attached to any electoral success. The Clintons launched her into national prominence. Apparently, she was also Aaron Sorkin’s inspiration for C.J. Cregg, the female Press Secretary character in “The West Wing”, and Myers served as a technical adviser on the show.
So, lots of entertainment, and lots of politics, but not a great deal of economic or business experience. The entertainment industry is one of the most bloated and poorly run industries in America, so why Newsom would tap her to spearhead an office focused on economic development is a stretch, but not out of line for His Hairfulness. Newsom has no understanding of how business works, let alone how the economy works. He’s really good at killing them, but has little to no concept on how to build them.
But Myers has great confidence that she will be able to work with Newsom to do… something innovative.
“ ‘He’s really smart … he’s a big and creative thinker, and I find that very energizing, to think about what’s possible,’ she said. ‘He really understands, I think, the innovation economy and the potential of the innovation economy.’ ”
What in hell is “innovation economy”? Is it like the regular economy only more shiny?
If she is talking about startups and tech, Newsom has been on the forefront of driving that out of the state. With the departure this past year of defense technology giant Palantir, Oracle, and Elon Musk setting up shop in Texas with a new Tesla plant, it is pretty plain the innovation economy wants nothing to do with California. Myers breathless word salad descriptor of Newsom’s ability to turn business around falls particularly flat.
Gil Duran of the Sacramento Bee had this to say about the Myers appointment:
“If the billionaires, CEOs and former governors can’t engineer an economic rebound, neither can Myers. What she can do, however, is deploy her considerable expertise to help Newsom grasp the basics of effective public relations and executive communications.”
Boom. Myers was part of the first Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery, and we know how well that went. When you’ve lost Disney…You couldn’t lay goose eggs that large. Myers is 0-2 with the sluggish vaccine distribution and a lack of clear strategy. So it is clear: Myers use is that of optics and damage control, two areas that Newsom continues to handle poorly.
Now Myers is well suited for that. Her first role at damage control was taking on the White House Press Secretary gig in the first place. I like “firsts”, but in hindsight, we all know it was done for the optics. Bill Clinton was a slippery horn-dog who had the Gennifer Flowers affair almost derail his presidential aspirations. A bright, shiny object of a “first Female Press Secretary” did wonders to deflect the attention off Clinton’s libido… until Monica Lewinsky.
So, I will bet you dollars to donuts that Myers will be used once again to deflect and obfuscate from what is (or is not) happening in the Office of the Governor. Myers sharpened those damage control skills considerably at her last stint as Executive Vice President for Worldwide Corporate Communications and Public Affairs for Warner Bros. Entertainment. Another mouthful of a title that explains very little.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Myers led the press office through the studio’s takeover, the firing of her boss Kevin Tsujihara, after the #MeToo wave swept him up with allegations of sexual misconduct, and the installation of a female CEO. After five years with the studio, Myers had put out the fires and managed the spin; she had effectively done her work. Myers resigned in March of 2020, right before the pandemic madness and the shutdown of California.
What are the odds?