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June 27, 2014
Editorial Notebook: Let's start a write-in campaign for Zelda Gilroy for governor

George_Clooney.JPG(June 27 - By Jack Ohman, Editorial Cartoonist)

(Cue movie preview announcer voice) "In a state where Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger served as chief executive, one man against the odds ponders the biggest role of his life: George Clooney is ..."

Running for governor of California?

As a 53-year-year old heartthrob myself, I can see the attraction to the office. You get to live in Sacramento, hang out at Chops and schmooze with Sen. Ricardo Lara. That'd be way more fun than jetting around the world, filming major motion pictures, consorting with the world's most desirable women, and palling around with Leo, Matt and Ben.

California has a long history of movie actors running for office. In addition to the aforementioned former governors, we elected 1930s song-and-dance man George Murphy to the U.S. Senate. Numerous actors and their spawn have held or tried to hold lesser offices. One who succeeded was Zelda Gilroy from "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," also known as Sheila Kuehl, a well-educated and able legislator, who is trying for a comeback by running for L.A. County supervisor.

What about Clooney?

Unlike Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, he actually acts pretty well. He has been a passionate advocate for human rights in Darfur, Sudan and Syria, and has raised money for President Barack Obama and the national Democratic Party. He's bright and likable.

He also hasn't done anything related to California. At all.

Schwarzenegger sponsored Proposition 49, the 2002 after-school initiative. His reviews as governor were mixed, but he didn't take too many pratfalls, at least not in public. Rob Reiner, the director and actor known for his portrayal of Meathead in "All in the Family," mulled running for governor and sought to establish his policy chops by promoting the initiative that raised cigarette taxes to fund First 5 early childhood programs.

Other than acting in California, Clooney isn't a player here. He mostly seems to spend time at his mansion at Lake Como in Italy. Nice place, but not a lot of California voters there.

Clooney's decision to marry his lawyer-girlfriend, who, interestingly, was on Julian Assange's legal team and a British subject, may hold a clue or two to his future intentions. It must get tiring breaking up with all those women. Perhaps he'd prefer to devote his energy to romancing Kevin de Léon, Bob Huff, Connie Conway and Toni Atkins. For now, given no word officially from George himself, we can file the reported candidacy under Nice Rumor.

Besides, why would Obama encourage Clooney to run when we have the most attractive attorney general (his words) or an attractive lieutenant governor (Gavin Newsom's words) to run in 2018? There surely will be other qualified candidates for 2018.

Should Clooney enter the race, we will look forward to his soliloquies about the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, high-speed rail, CEQA reform, CalSTRS pensions and many other fascinating subjects that certainly come up on the shores of Lake Como.

And if Clooney gets serious about running, we will look forward to him hanging around town. But I'd write in Sheila Kuehl, probably.