City Hall watchers have long wondered what would befall L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. When he became mayor word was it would be a stepping stone (like his cut-short term on the City Council) to something bigger — likely the governor's job.
Then his tenure became what Los Angeles magazine called a “failure,” and Mayor V.'s hopes dimmed. Governorship? Forget about it. U.S. Senator? Naw. U.S. Rep? A step down.
So what's left?
Conjecture for many months has predicted that Mayor V. would angle for a job in the Obama administration. It would give him a nice title, a Washington paycheck, and a way to jump ship with nearly two years to in his term as the city continues to face deficit problems.
Long shot? Yeah. He supported Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary. Then again, Clinton got a gig.
This week a few folks have noted that Obama is talking more and more like an Obamite with a national stage.
Obama, a longtime labor ally, spoke out against L.A.'s teachers union. And on Monday he was a scheduled speaker at the New York launch of “No Labels,” “a less partisan, less ideological, more common sense approach to the nation's problems.''
In the wake of the Democrats' November bitch-slapping, it feels like Villaraigosa is echoing Obama's attempts to reach across the aisle.
The Los Angeles Times, via LA Observed, notes the possibilities:
Villaraigosa was angling for an Obama administration job. He was declaring independence from party positions and powers in preparation for a future statewide run. Or he was trying to redefine his mayoralty in a way that could reap benefits down the line, were he to decide to exercise options one or two.
KNX 1070 Newsradio on Monday noted the mayor has been out of town 13 times 13 months — you know, like a national politician.
The mayor defended his freelance pontificating (which we're sure does the city so much good), saying that he's constantly asked to speak because he's the (ahem, Latino) leader of one of the nation's most-important cities (way to spin that resume, Tony).
Asked about the appearance of lobbying for a Washington gig, Villaragosa gave KNX the old “is what it is” answer.