What's a California Issue?
Well, the Make Iowa And New Hampshire More Important In the 2008 Primary Act has passed both houses of the California legislature. And it will be signed shortly. Some people seem to think that this will "give California clout" in picking the Presidential nominees, although those people don't appear to be the legislators that passed it, as they're far more concerned with moving a term limits relaxation initiative into place so they can be re-elected.
But I want to address those who say, in a manner not unlike a four year-old demanding that everyone in the room look at the crayon drawing of a turkey that they traced with their hand, "Now the candidates have to pay attention to CALIFORNIA issues!"
Oh yeah, well... what are those?
Sure, there are a few issues that impact this state directly, but it's not like they're not deeply felt across the country as well. Are there no other states with immigration problems? Do Nevada and Arizona have all the water they need? Does no other
state have a health care crisis?
I actually seriously want to know. Why is there this stress on candidates having to pay lip service to random issues that they'll immediately drop for the general and the rest of their Presidency anyway. When's the last time you heard the word "ethanol" after January of an election year? How much talk of the farm bill is in the public discourse?
The only "California issues" I can think of are how to check runaway film production (which isn't a federal issue) and increasing H1-B visas for the hi-tech community. But even those aren't statewide.
To me, the most important issue I would ask of any candidate is whether they will disavow the concept of the unitary executive and the pernicious use of signing statements to nullify Congressional law. It may not be a California issue, but it's pretty damn important IMO.
I actually don't buy the premise at all. Presidents should not pay attention to "California issues" above others, the same way they shouldn't play to the concerns of any 10% of the population above the majority. Presidents must consider the whole country's well-being, not the narrow concerns of a few. If you want legislators to pay attention to California, I've got news for you: there are a whole bunch of CALIFORNIA LEGISLATORS. Expecting anything else is little more than narcissism.