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Ooh. Ouch. That looks bad.

Sorry about that.

To be blunt, you should really try harder next time to keep your eye out of the path of my champagne cork. These things can really fly, you know. Did you see that? Ka-pow!

Some ice would probably help, and you—no! Not that ice, you cretin! I need to keep this bubbly chilled. There’s probably some in the—well, no. I just emptied my freezer.

Here, this glass is pretty cold. You could just hold it against the swelling. Let me fill it up for you, while I’m at it. Good? Now stop moping and get back to partying hearty-ing.


That cork must have detached more than your retina. Like, maybe your memory, too? Ha! Get it? Because of a concussion? Hoo, boy!

No, I kid. I kid. But seriously, we decided to throw this party together, remember? With the stock market soaring as high as an eagle lifted up by Jackie Wilson’s love or Bette Midler’s wind, we’re all rolling in dough.

So break out the fancy top hats! Pish posh and cheerio and all that. Monocles for everyone! Stick one over your good eye!

Watching our nation’s economy go from crapper-level trough to record-breaking mountaintops has reminded me that anything can happen on this crazy spinning rock we call home. I have a new zest for life. I bought a new table just for dancing on. Rat-a-tat-tat!

And I’m not the only one celebrating this glorious rise. Longtime local Republican office-holder Abel Maldonado is sensing the good vibrations, too. They’re giving him excitations that might get him all the way to the White House! Well, California’s White House. What do we call where the governor lives?

Anyway, some high-falutin’ Bay Area paper—the San Francisco Chronicle—reported that Abel is pondering a stab at the governorship. He told their senior political writer that he’s “been encouraged publicly and privately” to run. My guess is that Republican higher-ups see him as a draw for precious voters.

See, while my party is going strong—aside from your little hissy over a wayward cork, come on already!—Abel’s party isn’t faring so well. Media reports tolling the near-death-knell of the GOP in the Golden State are as numerous as, well, similar reports saying Republicans are focusing on attracting Latino voters.

And, gee! Abel’s Latino!

I hesitate to play the race card here, because that’s one of the most overplayed cards in the deck, but I won’t hesitate to try to think like a white guy getting together with his other white-guy friends to figure out which party member can be applied like an elephant-shaped tourniquet to the streaming wound make by the donkey-shaped shark swimming in these political waters.

An August 2012 Public Policy Institute of California survey on voter and party profiles revealed that 82 percent of the state’s Republicans are white. And while census counts put white people at 74 percent of the state’s population, and Hispanic/Latino residents at 38 percent, projections indicate that California may soon have a Latino majority.

I may be a bit fuzzy from this Brut, but those numbers didn’t look right to me, and I don’t know how to read these U.S. Census reports well on the best of days. Let’s see … it looks to me like a little less than 40 percent of the state’s residents consider themselves to be “white persons, not Hispanic”—meaning the other 34 percent may identify as white and Hispanic.

OK, that’s starting to make sense. But look at me. Talking boring numbers instead of popping another cork. Now where’s a full bottle? I’ll just keep freewheeling as I look. You don’t mind, do you? Oh, stop pouting.

The Chronicle’s political blogger wrote that Maldonado “could represent the best possible chance in 2014 to take the party’s message to the inner cities of California, and compete with Democrats in making inroads with independent and ethnic voters, some insiders suggested.”

Inner cities? Ethnic? That sounds like thinly veiled Caucasian code for “people whose skin is different from mine.” And if white is no longer winning the race, maybe it’s time to mix in something new?

It’s as logical as it is sleazy sounding, like Spock in a slutty outfit.

I’ll admit that there are two approaches to this. One angle could be that leaders with at least nominal power are realizing that they no longer best represent their constituents and are aiming to adapt and shift so as to reflect the wants and needs of the population.

The other angle—and forgive me for thinking that this one sounds a bit more plausible, given the track record of the folks in question—is that leaders with a loosening grip are desperate to find something to help tighten their fingers, and they just might have it in a particular people group.

Representation or exploitation?

But back to the man of the hour. Abel has a lot going for him. To talk about him merely as a Latino candidate is to ignore the hard work he did in changing the politics of this behemoth of a state, particularly in his work as lieutenant governor and pushing through his vision for a top-two primary system. For a long time, he was one of the brightest stars in the state’s fancy Republican tiara.

But he lost the election for lieutenant governor to Gavin Newsom. And his recent bid to unseat Congresswoman Lois Capps in her newly redrawn district.

Losing streaks don’t exactly inspire confidence, and Abel’s middle-of-the-road and occasional party-line-hopping tendencies haven’t exactly endeared him to his fellow GOP-ers over the years. So what could be so attractive about him today?

I’m not necessarily saying that Republicans see Abel as the Latino straw to clutch at as they drown—keeping a wary eye on the donkey-shark while they do. But I am saying that it would suck if they did.

But enough maudlin speculation. I found another bottle! Duck this time!

Shredder doesn’t remember investing in any stocks, but the Dow’s successes are spread among all Americans, right? Send ideas for how to spend the forthcoming cash to


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