Gavin Newsom Danced and Gaslighted, Brian Dahle Held His Own in the Three-on-One California Governor’s Debate

On Sunday at 1:00 p.m. PDT, the one and only California gubernatorial debate before the November 8 midterm elections was held.

On radio.

During primetime for the NFL games.

On an obscure station that not even Californians listen to.

Then you had moderators who ran interference for Governor Gavin Newsom and undercut his opponent, Republican state Senator Brian Dahle.

Shades of Chris Wallace and Candy Crowley.

The setup for this debate also reflects how seriously Governor Gavin Newsom takes his role of leadership of the state. He is apparently too busy and important with other business to do a serious discourse on the issues that plague California or his role in solving them–or not.

What other business? Oh, his trolling and tweeting ratios at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, pouring his governor campaign funds into billboards in Red states that shame those governors-that they should be supporting baby killing and not restricting women from doing it, while also inviting these women to come to California to do the dirty deed on our taxpayer dime.

Then there’s Newsom’s full-throated promotion of Proposition 1, the proposed amendment to codify abortion access as a constitutional right. Newsom strong armed his Democrat Supermajority to get it on the November 8 ballot. Newsom is airing political ads making it sound as though California is saving women and the nation, and if you vote “YES” on Proposition 1, so will you.

Governor Hair Gel morphs into Governor Gaslight.

Newsom didn’t even want to debate Dahle. Why? Because Newsom thinks he is perfect and doesn’t need to prove his record. However, the Governor was interested in a debate with… Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.


But Newsom still claims he is not running for president in 2024. He is begging to debate the person who is possibly second in line to be the Republican choice for 2024, yet first refused to debate his Republican opponent for the position that he now holds and is trying to win again.

So rich.

It was only after journalist Ashley Zavala (obviously not a part of the Homegrown Team) confronted Newsom about his unwillingness to set an actual date to have this debate, and his unwillingness to do it on television, that an actual plan was laid out.

Many media outlets offered to air the debate, at a time that would have the eyes and ears of California voters. They would even work within his busy time constraints.

But, nah

Elex Michaelson was being very diplomatic. Newsom did not want the people outside of his progressive bubble to see this. Most Californians had no idea how or where to tune in. It’s been archived on YouTube (for now), and the KQED website; so, if you have a friends or relatives in California, share the link with them. Even share it with people outside of California–send it far and wide!

Here’s why: Despite his pretense and playing coy, Newsom is serious about running for president. It is his lifelong goal. It is time for the rest of the nation to actually listen to Newsom when he is given the opportunity to pontificate, in a forum where he thinks he is safe; because that is when he actually tells the truth and makes his most regrettable mistakes.

Newsom said in a COVID-19 update on April 1, 2020, two weeks after he shut down the state of California, that coronavirus was an opportunity to create a new progressive era.

“We see this as an opportunity to reshape the way we do business and how we govern.”

Newsom did it to his state, and he wants to do it to the nation.

The debate did air live, and was less than an hour (who does that?), streaming via KQED. This San Francisco public access station is owned in conjunction with PBS-member TV station KQEH, and NPR member station KQED-FM.

No bias there whatsoever.

Another very bizarre twist was that other media outlets were not allowed in the studio with Gov. Newsom and state Sen. Dahle. These other outlets were originally scheduled to be in the studio, but on Friday, some diktat came down from on high that they would have their own room, away from the live action between Newsom and Dahle.

KQED senior politics editor Scott Schafer and political correspondent Marisa Lagos moderated, and as part of the Homegrown Team, they did their job of propping up Newsom and tearing down Dahle.

The first question was about crime, homelessness, economic woes caused by inflation, and the lack of housing affordability that was causing people to leave the state. Newsom’s response: My opponent does not support reproductive rights.

You cannot make this stuff up.

This is one of the few places where Schafer interrupted him, asking, “What about your record?”

Newsom blathered on about sending out, “billions and billions of dollars in inflation checks.” The rebate checks Newsom claims he is sending out to all Californians–except the elderly, disabled, and anyone who didn’t file taxes for 2020–will barely fill anyone’s gas tank for a month. Despite Dementia Joe‘s claims to the contrary, seven-dollar-a gallon gas isn’t affordable.

Newsom also stuck to his talking point about blaming high gas prices on Big Oil, and accusing his opponent of reinforcing Big Oil talking points and being funded by the oil companies. Then Newsom went on to make this stunning claim:

“I’m very proud of our record over the course of the last few years. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done to seed reforms into the future. I’m very proud of the efforts we’re making as it relates to these ballot initiatives as well, particularly, again, on Proposition 1.”

Granted, this was the lead-in to the debate. But a smart rebuttal of the facts that Newsom shut down his entire state for almost two years, has seen successful litigation against him and the state because of it, and his almost $20,000 per child education reforms have resulted in the worst outcomes.

While Dahle got in a few of those facts, this would have been the opportunity to land the first blow, and it was bypassed.

Lagos once again showed her team colors by asking this question:

“Senator Dahle, many of the positions you do support are out of line with the majority of Californians, the Governor mentioned abortion, we can talk about gun control, LGBTQ rights. Why should the majority of Californians give you a chance if they do disagree with you on these fundamental issues?”

Lagos and the KQED team obviously did not speak with the parents and parents groups who are hella pissed over the push toward indoctrination and mandates in the public school system. This is an issue that much of the polling and the local politicians, Republican and Democrat, are ignoring to their peril.

Essentially Lagos set an incomplete and incorrect premise because she could. Every piece of news coverage about this debate positions Dahle as a “little known state senator.” Dahle has done a few interviews with Cal Matters and other smaller legacy and right-leaning outlets. RedState approached the Dahle campaign several times requesting an exclusive, but never received an affirmative response.

The Homegrown Teams of McClatchy (Sacramento Bee, et al) and Soon-Shiong (The L.A. Times) has offered little, salient coverage about Dahle’s background or voting record for the past 10 years he has been in the legislature. Opinion columnist Jack Skelton essentially penned a piece saying that Dahle is a sane Republican who would do well in the job as governor. But it doesn’t matter, because he’s not going to win.

What a ringing endorsement.

I must say that despite some stumbles, Dahle articulated his own record, and it was illuminating: especially what he has actually done for the environment and the bipartisan leadership he has exhibited in the California Legislature. Dahle also held his own against Newsom, presenting a calm, almost paternal presence to a petulant and entitled child. Dahle challenged Lagos’ premise that voters are “very happy” with Newsom and his policies. There were points he could have driven home better: like AB5 and Newsom’s draconian pandemic response being one of the many reasons for the California adios of people and businesses.

But Dahle did manage to drive this home: People are leaving California because of crime, chronic homeless issues, and Newsom’s policies that exacerbate inflation and the housing crisis. Newsom has been the governor for three-and-a-half years, and his party has held a Supermajority over the state; so, if things are bad, it has little to do with Republican influence, and everything to do with Democrat Newsom’s policies and his party’s progressive legislation.

Both Schafer and Lagos interrupted Dahle quite a bit when he was making a fine point. Lagos did it on this question, when Dahle was about to point out the problem with gas prices and how Californians are suffering, while Newsom is campaigning nationally for president.

Lagos interrupted, “we’re going to get to gas prices,” and pivoted to Newsom to give him the chance to counter Dahle’s response.

Schafer and Lagos allowed Newsom to wax eloquent about climate change, bombastic abortion views, and gaslighting on his record, practically uninterrupted. Newsom was allowed to rant for almost two minutes concerning Proposition 1 and Dahle’s opposition to it, or any state funding of abortion services.

“You’re not pro-life you’re pro-government mandated birth,” Newsom practically spit out, then ranted about California’s values about “reproductive freedom” being firmly established. Newsom claimed that women from other states were “fleeing persecution,” and that Dahle’s lack of support of Proposition 1 was promoting “extreme policies.”

No pushback whatsoever by Lagos or Schafer on any of this. There was even a slight pause before Schafer trotted forward to the next question. Dahle rightly interjected and countered Newsom’s over-the-top response.

In his screeds, Newsom also invoked Trump’s name, attempting to connect him to Dahle, and then said Dahle was furthering the policies of… Betsy Devos?!

I would like to know anyone other than a politico or an education activist who remembers who that is.

Really, Newsom only has two settings: passion and outrage. Both wore out their welcome in this debate, and it was not a good look on him or the moderators who allowed him to drone on.

Dahle also won points with his articulate takedown of Newsom on his poor response to drought, and drought mitigation and storage. You could actually note cracks in Newsom’s glossy veneer when Dahle said, “Name one thing that you’ve solved?” then talked about the wasted millions of dollars on the Bullet train. Dahle also put Newsom on the defensive with his responses to how to solve homelessness. Dahle landed this glancing blow.

“At the end of the day, he delivers ZERO.”

If this debate had an epic moment, that was pretty much it.

There was even one point on the question to Newsom about whether he regrets supporting Prop. 47 or supports any changes to it. Newsom did his usual double-down on his supposed, common-sense criminal justice reform, claiming Dahle opposed them, and said, “the narratives don’t fit the facts.”

Dahle responded that he opposed Prop. 47 and rattled off the facts: murders went up 40 percent in the last two years in California, that Newsom released 30,000 prisoners over the past two years-at which point Newsom interrupted and said he had no authority to let anyone out.

Uh huh.

Dahle continued:

“He did support the ‘Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act’ which allows you to rape an unconscious woman and it’s not a violent crime in California.”

Moderator Lagos actually laughed, and said:

“If you only get that as an enhancement but not an underlying rape charge…”

When Dahle countered to Lagos that the Republicans in the California Legislature created a trafficking bill to make trafficking and rape of an unconscious woman a felony, but Newsom and his legislative Supermajority throttled the bill, Lagos hurriedly closed out the question and went on to talk about the Reparations Task Force that Newsom mounted.

Are you kidding me?

That move by Lagos was not only cold, but unprofessional. It was also focused to give the advantage to Newsom, whose soft on crime policies and support of woke district attorneys is also not polling well.

But yay for the Reparations Task Force!

Even this question didn’t work towards Newsom’s or the moderators’ advantage. After Newsom waxed eloquent about how they worked to return Bruce’s Beach in Manhattan Beach, CA, back to the Black owners who had it taken away by eminent domain, Dahle answered the question and said he agreed with the Governor’s decision. Lagos made some crack about finding something they agreed on, then Schafer once again hurried away from Dahle’s response in order to get to this heavy-hitting question before they ran out of time:

“Name a time in your life that you were wrong about something, and did an about face. How did you realize your mistake, and what did you do to remedy it so that you wouldn’t do it again?”

Newsom would not give a direct answer about what mistakes he made that he changed course on, then devolved into his usual word salad. He and the Vice President have this in common.

Schafer asked him again to name just one. His reply: “Dozens of them!” Then Newsom talked about his handling of his dyslexia when he was young:

“One of perhaps the most significant ones: I was significant learning disability. I couldn’t read, or couldn’t write. And I was doing speech therapy as a kid. I thought I was dumb. And I made the mistake of falling prey to that. Back of the classroom. Not raising my hand. Feeling other than. Feeling lesser than. And that’s why I don’t like bullies. I don’t like cruelty. I don’t like people that humiliate other people. And I learned I wasn’t that person. That’s the most profound mistake I made early in my life. That I did not, did not learn quickly enough that all of us are unique, all of us have a unique expression, and all of us deserve dignity and respect. As a young child I didn’t fully embrace that or understand that, and that was a mistake.”

The man is 55 years old, and he decided to play the sympathy card about his childhood learning disability.

His supposed learning experience is also a flat-out lie. Newsom showed his cruelty by preventing children from learning in a classroom for the almost two years between 2020 and 2021. By not allowing them to play confidence-building sports, and restricting interaction that could have saved many children from anxiety and suicide. And exceptionally cruel by attempting to mandate COVID vaccines that studies are showing significantly harm young people, and pushing for the transgender agenda of drugs and surgery for pre-pubescent children.

Top that off with his support for abortion and his push to get Proposition 1 voted as a constitutional amendment, it shows that Newsom is not extending his supposed dignity and respect to the unborn.

So, apparently he has learned nothing.

It will be curious whether Newsom’s intention to make this debate a non sequitur in the voters’ minds will have the desired effect. After all, the nation is now watching him, and despite what he may think he wants, it’s not a good thing.

Less than an hour. You decide.


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  1. Gavin Newsome has failed us here in California. Gas taxes in gas taxes, I just paid $6.09 for gas in Northern California, RIDICULOUS.
    Gavin Newsome also cheated on the recall and he should be investigated thoroughly.

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