Okay. I had to bend over backwards to get the pun in the title in place. But it’s Lent, the season of atonement and forgiveness, so give me a break. Yet it does look like Steve Francis has his heart set on trying to save the City of San Diego one more time – even if the City is not particularly warm to his kind of saving.
So what does a millionaire who already blew a million (or two) on an abortive run for mayor do during this, the off-season between elections? Why, pump more time and money into his own think tank, of course. Like Carl DeMaio ideological cousin, the Performance Institute, Francis’ San Diego Institute for Policy Research serves the same basic goal – self promotion of its founder in the guise of promoting a retro-Reagan agenda. (Question of the day: Just how many neo-conservative think tanks can this berg float?)
It’s been long rumored that DeMaio has been trying to segue his think tank work into a run for City Council. Might Steve Francis still be nursing the political bug as well?
Last Thursday’s $50 a plate luncheon hosted by Francis’ institute was more about reminding San Diego that he was till around than it was about serving up the neo-conservative Dinesh of d’day—oh stop it already!—Dinesh D’Souza to wax poetic about all things illiberal in America. (Most disappointing that Dinesh didn’t extend his vein of thought about how American slavery actually made life better for their modern descendents. Like Iraqis will all benefit in the future from all the deaths because it will tighten labor markets and lead to higher wages! After all, D’Souza has made a career out of that sort of facile reasoning.)
Or, at least, it was about Francis reminding the audience of largely conservatives(and potential political donors) that he was still around. And willing. Though for what he has been less than clear. Perhaps this is what precipitated Jerry Sanders dropping playing coy and telling supporters three weeks ago that he was in the reelection race: letting Francis and other potential rivals know the lay of the land.
Meanwhile Francis does seem hot to trot the political runways again. Last time around, much of Francis’ support–including a number of key campaign staffers–came from outside of San Diego. His strongest local booster was then San Diego Republican County Chair Ron Nehring, who strong-armed an unusual party primary endorsement of Francis.
Isn’t it interesting that Francis’ local patron has now moved up to the State chair, a position from which he could steer even more support to a Francis run—for whatever.
Perhaps California’s state Republicans, still dominated by die-hard conservatives, see a win with Francis in San Diego as a flexing of clout that could serve as a possible offset to the rising clout of Arnold the RINO?
In any event, STeve Francis of the City bears watching.