Sacramento's Fish Wrap of Record Goes After a Conservative Favorite, Showing Newsom Is Nervous About 2022

AP Photo/Adam Beam

The long knives are out, yo.

The “homegrown team,” led by the Sacramento Bee‘s Pulitzer prize-winning political cartoonist Jack Ohman has received the blessing from Governor Hair Gel to take out his most formidable foe: Assemblyman and gubernatorial Recall candidate Kevin P. Kiley.

In case you didn’t know, Jack Ohman has won a few Pulitzers; but that’s no longer the shiny object it used to be since it seems they give them out like paper masks these days. A brief look over some of his cartoons reveals lazy artistry and unclever takes. The typical left-leaning scribbles that you can see from any left-leaning cartoonist. Same song, different tune.

It’s interesting that Ohman paid little attention to Kiley before, even though Kiley’s been a vocal critic of His Hairfulness for well over a year now, and ran for governor in the Recall election to replace him. It’s not surprising that Ohman has paid lots of attention to Gavin Newsom, and his cartoons and commentary slant in favor of Hair Gel.

In watching and covering the Recall election, it appeared that much of the McClatchy “homegrown team” were likely instructed to give Kiley short shrift. Kiley spent the two months leading up to the Recall election traversing the state and actually connecting with all of California, not big money donors. For California, that in and of itself is newsworthy, but it got little to no coverage in the legacy media. You see, Newsom had the perfect fodder and a foe in Talk Radio Host Larry Elder, and he knew it; so, a Kiley candidacy was gum under their shoe.

But Kiley still makes them all nervous, because he doesn’t really play politics. He just exhibits his intellect, competence, and does his damage—damage that is not obvious and upfront, but that leaves a lasting impression. Why are parents still rising up against the California school districts, the teachers unions, and Newsom’s awful mandates? You can thank Assemblyman Kevin Kiley for that.

So, Ohman is hoping to do damage to Kiley with this stinking fish wrapped in a cartoon.

Ohman targets an email letter that Kiley sent to his supporters (of which I am one), asking for our feedback about the next steps he should take in terms of public service. This is a conversation that is not new, and if Ohman was really a news person and actually paying attention, he would have known this. Kiley has the possibilities of running again for California Governor in 2022, running against progressive nutcase Rep. Ami Bera (D-Loon) for his seat, or staying in the Assembly. Frankly, that’s what citizen representatives should do, and why Kiley is distinctive, rather than the pedestrian bunch in local, statewide, and national politics that are always making it about money. Looking at you, feckless Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

But Ohman wants to paint Kiley’s move as some sort of grift, when all Ohman does all day is carry water for the biggest grifter in Sacramento. A poor little rich boy who profits off Getty Oil and utility corporation murder, collects over $70 million to keep his job, yet uses the DNC machine to manipulate $5 donations from clueless progressives to use for their pet causes.

Ohman’s subhead to his piece is quite fascinating:

“There are opportunists and scoundrels in Sacramento. And then there is Kevin Kiley.

“Rocklin Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley needs your help deciding how to prolong his cynical political career.”

The biggest opportunist and scoundrel just took a 12-day vacation from the job, so Ohman has got to be kidding. Ohman also just described the majority of the California Legislature.

Take Berkeley Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Climber), who used her own breastfeeding newborn for political theater to end the 2020 legislative session. There are such things as breast pumps, but that’s a story for another day.

Wicks received lots of national attention (which was the purpose) and was championed by Cruella Pelosi and Hillary Clinton for spotlighting the plight of “working mothers.” So contrived, so tired, so cynical.

After Hair Gel’s recent disappearance, Wicks was right there to excuse him, and remind the world how difficult being a working parent is:

“Elected officials are people too; we’re moms and dads,” said Assembly Member Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, who has a 15-month-old daughter and another in preschool. “For someone to want to take a step back and spend time with their family to me is totally understandable.”

Cue the tiny violins. There are working parents who have no choice but to work or their children will starve. Who don’t get per diems or have the money for nannies and assistants to pick up the slack. Most definitely they don’t have wealthy spouses who can carry the financial weight so that momma can stay home and breastfeed her baby, rather than being required to come to the state capitol and make a vote.

Wicks is married to Peter Ambler who is the executive director for Gabrielle Giffords anti-gun group. They live in one of the most expensive areas of the country—so, suffice to say, they have means; means that the majority of working mothers do not have.

Wicks could do us all a favor and give up her seat, and keep herself at home while she’s popping out babies, rather than moaning about how hard it is to be a working mother. She is like much of the California Legislature: union bought and paid for. Peruse any truly progressive site or Reddit feed, and they know she’s not on the side of progressives or Californians for that matter; Wicks is biding her time until her national opportunity presents itself.

She’s a climber, so she’ll milk her children, and her vaunted status of “working mother” for all its worth until she does.

Just like her colleague, San Diego’s Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-Evil Harridan).

Gonzalez started her political career assisting then-Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante with… something, then was handed former Assemblyman Ben Hueso’s AD-80 seat. Gonzalez has held that seat for three terms, while infecting the legislature through bullying and garbage legislation. Gonzalez chairs or is a part of every committee that helped to ensure the passage of her dirty laws, from Motor Voter, to the horrific AB5.

Gonzalez decided she wanted to run for Secretary of State in 2022. Hair Gel burst that bubble with the Affirmative Action pick of fellow Assemblywoman Shirley Weber. Weber is Black, and part of Gonzalez’ schtick is crying about unseen minority women in higher office; so making a power play against a fellow minority by running against her would be in poor taste—not that Gonzalez is opposed to that. For those who watch this cretinous lawmaker’s career, she has recently attached her San Diego Supervisor husband’s last name after hers… again. This signals another career move for this wannabe power couple. Whatever it is, be afraid… be very afraid!

Wicks and Gonzalez-Fletcher are Pulitzer prize-winning examples of a cynical political career, and there are plenty more packing the state house.

But who does Ohman decide to target? Kevin P. Kiley.

Ohman throws massive shade on Kiley’s education; education which, if he were a Democrat, would be constantly brought up and smeared all over press copy to prove how he has the best education and is a proven leader.

Kiley is a very smart guy on paper: Granite Bay High School valedictorian, Harvard undergrad, Yale Law. All those shiny degrees have, apparently, led him to insist that vaccine mandates are wrong and to refuse to acknowledge that Joe Biden was legitimately elected president of the United States. The thing is, he knows better. Kiley was for former Ohio Gov. John Kasich in 2016, which was a perfectly decent and acceptable call. Then the Trump bomb cyclone made landfall and Kiley forgot all about his education because, you know, extremism is mainstream in his party now.

The Trump Derangement Syndrome is on full display here, particularly since California doesn’t really care—really, we so do not.

Kiley actually uses his education, which is more than one can say about some of his colleagues. Ohman mentions nothing about what Kiley has done for his constituents in California’s District 6 using that storied education and legal expertise. He mentions nothing about the fact that Kiley, along with fellow District 3 Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Wingman), successfully sued Newsom and won the injunction. I would say that his education was more than on paper, and that he definitely has not forgotten about it. The fact that Kiley actually knows, practices, and succeeds in the law while still doing his job reflects actual prowess. Those who can, do, those who can’t write op-eds criticizing those who do.

But, do go off, Jack.

Californians also recognize that because of Kiley’s leadership in the Assembly, that some of Sacramento’s worst lawmakers and laws have received national play—Particularly Ohman’s favorite governor, Newsom himself.

Before Elder jumped in the Recall race and became Newsom’s top nemesis, Kiley was speaking on the issues that affect Californians and getting national attention because of it.

If Kiley had not fought for freelancers, independent contracts and the self-employed, AB5 would have totally wiped out this sector in the state. We are still battling, and we know that Kiley has our back. Unlike the Sacramento Bee, which kept framing AB5 as a “gig worker” Uber-Lyft issue, rather than about the 4.5 million independent professionals who were stripped of their livelihoods.

I guess that’s what the “homegrown team” does, and Ohman is the perfect representation of this.

*Kiley could fight against corruption (Trump), ineptitude (Kevin McCarthy) and radicalism (Trump plus 70% of the GOP and QAnon) in his own party, but that would be, you know, self-aware.

Seems like Ohman lacks some self-awareness himself. Much of his cartoons are TDS-riddled non-sequiters and sops to Gavin Newsom about how put-upon he must be. No challenges whatsoever to Newsom’s rampant corruption. However, in one cartoon, Ohman shows that he thinks that Cuomo’s corruption makes Newsom look like an angel. Ohman doesn’t even have the insight to recognize that both Democrats are two sides of the same coin.

Projection, much?

Ohman finishes his stompy-foot rant by recrafting Kiley’s letter to supporters, mocking the fact that Kiley actually has his own business and is not living completely on the government and Big Labor dole, making light of his education… again (jealous, much?), and mocking his relationship with Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Standard Bearer). Ohman also throws in the Virginia elections, and in not so many words, compares Kiley to VA Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, painting Kiley as a racist.

Again, had Ohman actually bothered to follow Kiley’s campaign, he’d know that tired dog whistle falls on deaf ears.

“If I run for governor, I give you every assurance that I will finish well above sixth place in the primary. Furthermore, I will work hard to learn all the dog whistles that Glenn Youngkin used in Virginia. “Naturally, you can rely on me to be a steadfast defender of democracy until I get to Congress.

The title of this piece should have been, “Stupid Takes, by Jack Ohman.” Ohman wrongly assumes that the swamp-stink of Ami Bera, Adam Schiff (D-Liar), Eric Swalwell (D-IBS), and the rest of the California grifters in Congress will attach itself to Kiley should he choose to run for Congress and win the seat.

I have three words for him: Congressman Mike Garcia.

Take all the seats, Jack.


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