Jude Barry, the ultimate San Jose Insider and longtime statewide political player, posted a cool piece this week on CalBuzz—the new blog hosted by former Merc politics editor Phil Trounstine and former Chron editor Jerry Roberts.
Barry, who recently resigned a post managing John Garamendi’s campaign for governor, likens the gubernatorial candidates to Silicon Valley companies. The SacBee’s daily Capitoil Alert summarized Barry’s article thusly: “Jerry Brown is to Apple…as Gavin Newsom is to Facebook…as Antonio Villaraigosa is to Yahoo!...as John Garamendi is to Sun Microsystems…as Meg Whitman is to eBay…as Steve Poizner is to Intel….as Tom Campbell is to Wilson, Sonini, Goodrich, & Rosati.”
Aside from the clever comparison scheme, Barry’s piece offers a cogent analysis of Silicon Valley’s role in national and statewide political campaigns:
While it’s clear that many presidential candidates have used the cash and cachet of Silicon Valley to establish themselves as serious challengers, the high tech imprimatur hasn’t worked as well in statewide California elections.
Former Congressman Ed Zschau, a product and representative of the tech community, narrowly lost a 1986 U.S. Senate race to Alan Cranston (who, for all his liberal credentials, had authored the first bill to cut the capital gains tax – a favorite Silicon Valley cause). Tom Campbell, who served in Zschau’s congressional seat and as a state senator, lost badly in a 2000 U.S. Senate challenge. Former Controller Steve Westly, an early eBay executive, narrowly lost the 2006 Democratic primary for Governor.
But 2010 will be different.
He closes the piece with a gentle but honest read on his former employer’s chances:
The Lieutenant Governor has been a party standard bearer for decades and is known as a solid and competent Democratic leader who has made policy contributions from health care to workers comp reform. Sun is not a household name, but in Silicon Valley the company has a reputation for strong technology contributions (workstations and Java). However, both are lagging. Garamendi trails known Democrats in the polls and Sun stock is at historic lows.