If Moorlach Runs for Governor, I’ll Try to Smash Him — but I’ll Respect Him!


If termed out Orange County Supervisor runs for Governor against Jerry Brown, as OC Political quotes him as considering (and read the interesting HuffPo article that they reprint in full as well, which I’m not doing here due to my apparently different interpretation of copyright law) I’ll probably end up trying to smash his campaign like the Hulk smashed Loki in The Avengers — but probably not until after the primary.

Incredible Hulk smashing Loki, replaced by face of John Moorlach

I recognize that I am no political Incredible Hulk (although we dress similarly), but I have to say that John Moorlach would really rock a ram’s horn helmet. I hope that he’d consider campaigning in one!

I would not stay my hand because I think that Moorlach would be easier to beat than would the sole announced candidate, Tim Donnelly (he wouldn’t) or wished-for-in-some-quarters, possibly-to-the-left-of-Lou-Correa Abel Maldonado.  (I think Moorlach would be a harder opponent than Maldonado as well, mostly because Maldo might well invite a serious third party candidate from the right (or from the down, or whatever direction libertarianism is.)  I’d stay my hand until June because he’s not a sick wacko like Donnelly and — unlike some people including my friend Gus Ayer — I do not generally subscribe to the notion that Democrats should want to see the worst and most outrageous Republican possible nominated.  That’s good for Democrats, perhaps, but after a while it becomes bad for society.

I know that many around these parts, friend Vern included, wanted to see Orly Taitz nominated for U.S. Senate last year against Dianne Feinstein, but I’m glad that Republican Elizabeth Emken won the spot against her, despite the fact that EE might be a credible candidate for Congress this year due largely to that experience and exposure.  Emken ran a standard California Republican statewide race and got slaughtered.  But — she held her head high and represented pretty much commonplace Republican principles, ones that (even if I disagree with them) do not hurtle the public into considering new depths of horrific ideology.

Yes, I’m glad that Republicans nominating disasters like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock for U.S. Senate, like Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle before them, helped Democrats hold onto the Senate.  But Democrats also helped neo-McCarthyite Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz win the primary, and nobody is better off for that.  He’s bringing poisonous ideology and practice into national politics — and, while sometimes the system vomits out such poisons, sometimes it just adapts to them.  And that’s bad.  The political immune system is unpredictable.

Unlike Donnelly, Moorlach isn’t poisonous.  (Yes, if he runs, his campaign has my permission to use that in their advertising.  I may revise that opinion if he gets to run against Brown, though.)  Furthermore, he’s someone for whom, unlike Maldonado, conservatives could vote for pretty happily — so he won’t split the vote with what passes for a moderate and let Donnelly grab the second spot in the runoff.

North and West Orange County (and Moorlach’s current Second District covers both) is one of the most competitive areas in the state next year, as Michelle Steele runs for Moorlach’s seat as Supervisor, Janet Nguyen and Jose Solorio (and likely others) run for Lou Correa’s Senate Seat, Alan Lowenthal tries to cement in his tenure in Congress by improving his score in Orange County, Sharon Quirk-Silva faces an expected tough challenge from someone coming out of a fractured Republican field, and Ed Royce — well, we’re going to wait a bit to discuss that one.  (Heh-heh.)  So a Moorlach candidacy, around which all of these candidates can rally around, makes some sense for Republicans.  The amount of Republican money flowing into the area means that Democrats would have to be on top of their game — which means that the Democratic Party would have to open its own spigots.  (Don’t worry, fellow Dems reading this; none of this is news to the Republicans.)

But Moorlach isn’t entirely bad news for Dems either.  He’s both served as a good example at times (standing up, as did Nguyen less forcefully) against the 405 Toll Roads, which a run would lead many of us to wave in the faces of county Republicans with all of the time to argue against the corporatism that typifies much of OC, and a not so good example at others, in ways that will play poorly statewide.  He’ll get smacked plenty over the latter — but in this respect so will any Republican candidate in our blue state for similar positions and actions.  He won’t get absolutely reduced to radioactive rubble, like Donnelly, who’d send most independents screaming from the Republican Party, but who’d also ramp up the level of political psychosis and hatred among the far right — and those are already quite high enough as it is, thank you very much.  Would Donnelly be better than Moorlach for Democrats?  Sure — but given the likelihood that Brown gets re-elected anyway, I just don’t see it as being worth the cost.

Republicans, Democrats, third-party and no-party Californian voters alike can survive the prospect of a candidacy by John Moorlach — and it would be an adventure for people here from both major parties.  (Would it deplete the local GOP talent pool?  I guess that it might, but they’d struggle through somehow….)  Democrats won’t have to smack Moorlach around personally too much, anymore than we did Elizabeth Emken — and I’m fine with that.  Focusing on the issues and ideology is what I prefer.  (Hulk smash!)  His danger, when it comes to being slimed to the point of distraction and despair, comes more from Donnelly and perhaps Maldonado (if he runs) fans in the primary election.  I’m willing to sit by, tut-tutting as need be, and just watch it happen, biding my time with a policy binder, waiting for June.

More to the point, I’d respect Moorlach for doing this.  He’d be helping his party mostly for the reward of becoming an entry in a more-frequently-visited Wikipedia page.  That’s doing a real service to one’s party, especially when the alternative sucks badly enough, and I admire his willingness to do it.

So — good luck, Supervisor Moorlach!  And if people think that any portion of this essay, including that ;ast gracious wish of mine, is not entirely sincere — well, that’s just part of the fun of electoral politics!

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)