At a time when California Republicans appear desperate for a credible candidate to oppose Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014, they should have been ecstatic over reports that a well-heeled, young business executive with blue-chip financial connections was eyeing the race.
The Wall Street Journal reported that former Assistant Treasury Secretary Neel Kashkari is leaving his current job at Pacific Investment Management Company to pursue a political career in the Golden State.
The problem is that the 39-year-old Kashkari, an Ohio-born Republican, is the man who ran the Office of Financial Stability in 2008-09 and was the pivotal player in sculpting the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, known in political shorthand as "TARP," or simply "the Wall Street bailout."
How Kashkari will fare in a GOP primary is a question California Republicans will be asking as he begins exploring a bid for office, especially since a number of Republican House members and at least one senator lost their seats in 2010 after voting for TARP.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax
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