As a Californian, I’m frankly flabbergasted, and Californians are hard to flabbergast, considering they’ve seen it all when it comes to political skullduggery.
For example, I have known for years that our great state’s legislators, usually but not always Democrats, are capable of ripping off the public like John Dillinger ripped off banks, and are not only capable, but do it all the time.
A case in point is the oft-repeated practice of paying the salaries of legislators who are on trial for crimes committed while in office.
Another case in point is the oft-repeated practice of putting termed-out legislators into cushy state jobs that pay more than their legislative salaries, which are more than $100,000 a year, simply to build up their retirements.
Oh, the parade of awfuls goes on, wending its way through the streets of Sacramento, ripping off the public with every step and every turn of a corner. The even more amazing thing is that the public usually stands still for it.
But now comes the astonisher. The Democrats in the Assembly have decided to hire former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at $25,000 a month to try to stave off any laws that may be passed by the Republican Congress that they don’t like.
Of course, Holder, by himself, can stave nothing off. In the first place, he is not regarded as that good of an attorney. When Holder was Janet Reno’s assistant, when she was Bill Clinton’s attorney general, it was said he could barely carry her ballpoint pen. Although that may not have been entirely true, because nine years later, newly elected President Barack Obama plucked Holder from obscurity to become the top lawyer in the land.
But we aren’t that dumb. We know the hiring of Holder has nothing to do with needing a lawyer. It is a political payoff for somebody, and we the people are footing the bill.
How do we know that? Well, the last time I looked, we have plenty of attorneys in California, and most of them are probably as good as Holder if not better.
Let’s see. Did not Gov. Jerry Brown just appoint Los Angeles Congressman Xavier Becerra to be our new attorney general, replacing Kamala Harris, who was elected to the Senate?
Although Becerra isn’t exactly a household name, at least not around here, one would assume that if he is good enough to be appointed attorney general of the great State of California, he ought to be good enough to file lawsuits against the federal government. They teach you how to do that in law school, after all. If he isn’t good enough, why did Brown appoint him?
According to NBC News, Becerra was appointed primarily because he is considered smart enough to “become the face of Trump resistance.
“As attorney general of the nation’s most populous state, Becerra will be in a key position to challenge President-elect Donald Trump’s policies and mandates that seek to undo those of California and other states on everything from energy and the environment to immigration, marriage equality and health care.”
Well, that seems plain enough. Gov. Brown has every right to put someone in place who can resist soon-to-be President Trump’s initiatives as Trump has to propose them and get them passed into law.
But it also would seem that Beccera might not be up to the job. It appears that his first act was to ask the Legislature for help, and to pick the pockets of the citizenry to challenge the federal government, a job for which he, himself, was picked.
That would be understandable if Becerra’s new job gave him command of only a few lawyers.
But that is not the case. According to the Office of the Attorney General of the State of California, some 4,500 lawyers, investigators, sworn peace officers and other employees work there. Let’s see. That makes it probably the biggest law firm this side of the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., where Holder used to hang his hat.
But here is why Becerra may have reached out to Holder. Becerra hasn’t practiced law since 1990, when he became a professional politician, which he has been ever since, mostly as a member of Congress, where he hasn’t exactly made history, although he has served on high-profile committees, where he pretty much follows the Democrat line.
In other words, he’s a politician who wants to hire another politician to go up against another politician ... and have us pay for it.
Please, just for once, couldn’t we get a break?