Back in the late 1990s, when I lived in Dallas, Texas, I became fascinated by television evangelists. They were hucksters to a man, offering healing or ‘financial blessings’ in exchange for donations – usually a very specific sum that the Lord had revealed to them. ‘Sow a $73 seed into my ministry, and you will be rewarded a hundredfold. Hallelujah.’ What interested me was how they had the brass neck to do it, to take cash from the poor and spend it on mansions and NetJets, and it was a while before I understood. They genuinely believe their own hype. That’s the secret. They think of themselves as chosen, and being chosen feel entitled to behave as they like.

If he fails in his bid to be president, Gavin Newsom, the governor of California who’s positioning himself to take over from Joe Biden, would make a terrific televangelist. It’s not just the hair oil and the messianic gleam, it’s his ability to hold contradictory opinions simultaneously; to turn on a dime and espouse causes he once knew to be baloney, and to admire himself while doing it.

Newsom is a practising Catholic; his faith is strong, he says, and yet at the same time his great vision for California is that it becomes the abortion capital of America. He’s made strides towards this noble goal and railed against what he calls the ‘patriarchal forces at play that seek to control women and render them invisible’. You don’t have to be a pro-life campaigner to go to Mass, but it takes some chutzpah to be a Catholic who actually tears up with joy at the thought of abortion. In the interest of women’s rights, Newsom has proudly signed a law which gives violent criminal men the right to be banged up with women if they choose to identify as female. What progress.

California is, in many places, an apocalyptic horror show. Addicts lurch the streets in LA injecting animal tranquilliser into their open sores. Politicians brag in public about defunding the police while frantically funding their own private security. Californians are leaving in a steady stream. Around 700,000 more people left than arrived in the two years to summer 2022. Way to go, Newsom. It’s astonishing that anyone who’s presided over this mess could be a feasible candidate for president, yet here we are.

The trouble is that Biden is fading fast and no one wants Kamala Harris to be president. The Dems need a new candidate, said Tucker Carlson last week, who must have two essential qualities: ‘They’ll have to be as shallow, ruthless and transactional as Joe Biden is, and they have to possess flattery skills that are so polished they’d be considered superior in the Saudi royal court. And there’s only one man in modern America who fits that description,’ said Carlson. ‘Gavin Newsom.’

‘I am mesmerised by your devotion to this country,’ said Newsom to Biden at a recent rally in California, hovering over him like a carrion crow might a dying animal. Well, I’m mesmerised too. The whole situation is mesmerising. Look at Newsom’s sheer lack of shame. His childhood wasn’t ideal. He was dyslexic and his mum was skint. But Pop Newsom was pals with Gordon Getty, who bankrolled Gavin’s first business and set him on the path to the megabucks he now enjoys – around $20 million. Yet in an interview with the New Yorker a few years ago, Newsom said: ‘I’ve developed a real animus against private wealth… it’s a new muscle I’m developing.’ Can you self-identify as poor and still keep a fleet of Teslas? If anyone can, Gavin can.

Not so long ago Newsom referred to himself as a free enterprise Democrat, as well he might, what with the leg-up from Getty Oil. The trouble is that he now craves a progressive platform, so this is the sort of thing he says: ‘We’re in a perilous moment. We’re seeing an all-out assault on civil rights, voting rights, LGBT rights, women’s rights… the mind is being stretched consistently. I mean, interracial marriage, they had to codify that [in the US Constitution]… we can’t take anything for granted.’ There’s a threat to interracial marriage? Really, Gavin?

People who’ve worked with Newsom say he models himself on both Bobby Kennedy and Bill Clinton. He likes a suit with the sleeves rolled up Bobby-style, and he studies old footage of Clinton obsessively. Newsom’s staff told Tad Friend, author of the New Yorker profile, that they knew when he’d been studying Clinton because he’d speak with an Arkansas twang. Another official pointed out where the two men differ: ‘Bill Clinton peers deeply into your soul. Gavin peers deeply into the mirror at himself.’

‘Do you like Daddy’s hair with hair gel or no hair gel?’ Newsom asked his nine-year-old daughter mid-interview. ‘No hair gel,’ she said. Newsom spread his arms. What can you do with a child who gets it so wrong?

Narcissists are fascinating because they obey different rules. Everything can be sacrificed on the altar to self, even children. As Newsom eyes up the White House, California is in the process of passing into law a bill which will require any parent contesting custody to affirm a child’s chosen gender identity, or else run the risk of losing their own child. Parents in opposition to AB957 have spoken about their personal experiences in family court. Some believed that gender identity has already been used against them by vindictive ex-spouses. No matter. AB957 is sailing through.

Newsom, newly progressive, will know all the stats. He knows that the vast majority of children who believe themselves to be ‘trans’ eventually grow out of it and he knows that it therefore can’t be a dereliction of parental duty to be cautious. Gavin and his fragile but steely blonde wife, California’s ‘First Partner’ Jennifer Siebel, have four children of their own. How could they support AB957? What are they thinking? According to colleagues, what they’re thinking is about rolling out AB957 across the whole of America, if Newsom becomes commander-in-chief.

From the Spectator (Australia)