Those who know me personally realize that I would never, ever stand for the objectification of any person, especially women. But if I did, it would have to be funny.
Anyway, I’ve been bothered by a grievous insult to the state of the Nevada delivered — once more! — by President Barack Obama. Why he hates Nevada and its residents so much is beyond me, but he sure does.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris, whom President Obama has dubbed "by far the best-looking attorney general in the country."
The latest: The president in remarks delivered in California said, among other things, the Golden State has “…by far the best looking attorney general in the country.” Here’s his full statement, as quoted by the Washington Post:
“You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake. She also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general in the country.”
Obama later apologized for his remark.
Now, I have much respect for the president, and as a native of California, I’m normally inclined to say the Golden State has the best of everything — beaches, mountains, wine country, farm country, urban life, craft-beer brewing, hamburgers (home of In-N-Out Burger — recognize!) rural life and even marijuana production (from what I’ve heard). As for the ladies, well, like the Beach Boys, I wish they all could be California girls, but like Katy Perry, I must agree that California girls are both unforgettable and undeniable.
However, on this issue, I must stand up for my adopted home state of Nevada, and it’s own attorney general, Catherine Cortez Masto. Like President Obama, I will first acknowledge that Cortez Masto is a top-notch lawyer, dedicated and tough in her own right, always looking out for seniors, for victims of foreclosure fraud and vigorously prosecuting those who seek to prey on others. She’s a credit to our state and we’re lucky to have her.
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto
Having said that, Cortez Masto could easily give Harris a run for her money in the Best Looking Attorney General in the Country department. And I’m sure — if President Obama had been making remarks in Nevada — he’d agree with me. (It’s clear, however, once first lady Michelle Obama hears about this, he won’t be saying anything of the like ever again.)
Of course, it’s totally wrong and sexist to judge the top state legal officers by their looks alone. Both these women worked hard, studied hard, graduated from law school and then voluntarily underwent the unforgiving rigors of a political campaign, all to gain an office from which they might help people and make the lives of residents in their respective states better. They totally deserve our respect.
So, just to show I’m not at all sexist, let me do some other Nevada-California comparisons, to see just where we stack up against our neighbor.
California Gov. Jerry Brown
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval -- better looking than his California counterpart.
First up: Governor. California is, once again, governed by Jerry Brown, who first held the office back in 1974 and served until 1982. I’m all for the bald-is beautiful thing, obviously, but I think it’s clear that our own Gov. Brian Sandoval wins this contest.
Then again, Sandoval can’t say he once dated singer Linda Ronstadt, either, so there’s a little consolation for Brown. And Brown also has that sweet smoking tent on the Capitol grounds that was created by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sandoval has no such getaway.
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom
Next up, lieutenant governor. Here, Nevada may be in a bit of trouble, pitting Nevada’s own Brian Krolicki against ex-San Francisco mayor and current incumbent lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom. Krolicki has made his name for his Improv-style presiding over the Nevada state Senate, injecting humor into a process that desperately needs it. He was also Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney‘s chief surrogate in Nevada, dueling with the liberal media frequently on the campaign trail.
Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki
Newsom has grabbed headlines for favoring gay marriage and for having an affair with the wife of his former deputy chief of staff and campaign manager. Krolicki has stayed out of the headlines on such controversial issues, and is best known for his pursuit of bringing the winter Olympics to his beloved Lake Tahoe.
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen
Continuing through the constitutional officers, we pit California Secretary of State Debra Bowen against Nevada’s own Secretary of State Ross Miller. This is the first matchup where we see officials of different genders being judged side-by-side, so it’s not entirely fair, but President Obama started this so blame him.
Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller
Bowen was first elected in 2002, and re-elected in 2006, only the sixth woman in the history of the Golden State to be elected to a constitutional office. She’s got a huge job, overseeing one of the most populous state’s elections, but I’m guessing the priorities listed on her official website — government transparency, oversight of state election financing, registering corporations and domestic partnerships and maintaining the official record of legislative acts would be totally familiar to Miller, who has similar job duties here.
Miller is the son of former Gov. Bob Miller, and he’ll likely be a candidate for attorney general in 2014 and a potential gubernatorial candidate sometime down the road. He’s also a big fan of — and once a participant in — mixed martial arts fighting.
The winner? I’ve got to give this one to Miller. The MMA stuff is pretty badass.
California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer
Next up, another cross-gender matchup: California state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, a veteran pol who has held office in the Golden State since 1974, including school board member, state assemblyman, state senator (and president pro tem of that body), and attorney general.
Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall
He’s up against Nevada’s Kate Marshall, who catapulted directly from a private law practice into statewide office back in 2006. (She was re-elected in 2010, made an unsuccessful run for Congress in a special election in 2011 and may be a candidate for secretary of state in 2014, when Miller is term-limited and expected to run for attorney general.)
No offense to Lockyer, but this one easily goes to Marshall!
California state Controller John Chiang
Finally, there’s the state controller, a job that also focuses on proper state financial administration. In California, the job his held by John Chiang, a Georgetown-educated lawyer who lives in the beautiful Los Angeles suburb of Torrance, Calif. Chiang has recommended reforms to CalPERS, the massive retirement program for California state employees, and is in charge in that state of returning unclaimed property to its rightful owner. (Here, the treasurer has that duty.)
Chiang boasts on his website that he serves on 81 boards and commissions, which sounds like a hell of a lot of work.
Nevada state Controller Kim Wallin
He’s up against Nevada Controller Kim Wallin, a native Nevadan and the first CPA to hold the job in 50 years. (How is that even possible? Only in Nevada.) She won “Woman CPA of the Year” back in 2006, and is a proud graduate of UNLV with a degree in business administration with an accounting major.
Again, this one goes to Nevada.
So, according to my tally, Nevada has at least five better-looking constitutional officers than the state of California, a little fact that President Obama might want to keep in mind the next time he’s slinging compliments that he later has to retract due to their overwhelming insensitivity and chauvinism. On that note, in fact, I should probably extend a hearty apology to all of the hardworking officials named in this post for its offensive nature.
Sacramento Bee veteran political columnist Dan Walters
In fact, let’s turn the tables, shall we? In California, the state’s biggest name in political journalism is one Dan Walters, the longtime writer for the Sacramento Bee. He’s well-respected statewide for his insightful columns for the state’s capital newspaper. And while I never covered state politics in all my years living in California, I did work in Sacramento (for the now-defunct rival Sacramento Union) and I grew to admire Walters work then.
R-J columnist Steve Sebelius
So, let’s put Walters up against yours truly, a much less well-known, much less-respected, much-less tenured political columnist for Nevada’s largest newspaper. Let’s be honest here, readers: Who wins in our Obama-inspired California v. Nevada face off?
Yeah, Nevada’s got this one, too. Bazinga!