Two well-known figures in California politics celebrate their birthdays today, but I figure that’s about all they have in common.
Bob Mulholland, 65, of Chico, served almost two decades as a senior advisor to the California Democratic Party, bringing to the job a broad depth of political knowledge as well as an attack-dog demeanor that sometimes had members of his own party disavowing his actions.
Jon Fleischman, 44, of Rancho Santa Margarita, is a political consultant and former vice chairman of the California Republican Party who publishes FlashReport, the state’s most prominent news and commentary clearinghouse for GOP politics.
Both, I believe, are good men – affable, knowledgeable, principled. And both regularly engage in the kind of hyper-partisan hyperbole that polls show voters blame for the state’s seemingly intractable fiscal and governance woes.
Each is admired by his own political tribe, and reviled by the other’s. Each hews to his own uncompromising ideology, which under many other circumstances would be considered a sign of character – but is it bad for California? Do we blame the individuals who won’t bend, or the system that allows this to paralyze the state?
I’d love to imagine the two of them getting together somewhere to drink to each other’s health today, but I think imagining is about as far as that would go. So, I’ll raise a glass to both of them from here and continue mulling what they and those like them mean for our state and its future.