Neel Kashkari, who has been mentioned as a contender in the race for Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat, has made a lot of noise about poverty last year, but has been silent on the issue since Election Day. And now that Kashkari has been mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for US Senate, it’s worth revisiting this issue.
Remember Neel’s pledge to focus on poverty, alluding to his father’s hard work and later, his own time as a “homeless” person?
He spoke, from what it seemed like at the time, a life-long tradition of giving and inspiring others to do the same.
Nearly a year ago, Kashkari excoriated Brown for not using the word “poverty” in his 2014 State of the State address. “Gov. Brown may claim a California comeback, but the truth is that he has forgotten the millions of California families who are struggling… Yet how many times did the governor mention poverty in his 17-minute address? Not once. That is outrageous.” (Los Angeles Times, January 22, 2014)
And during the campaign, Kashkari spent a week in Fresno as a homeless person. The tactics and strategy were questionable, but the message of helping others is laudable. He also made a $500 donation to Fresno’s Poverello House. That’s a good thing.
Neel set out to prove he was a different kind of Republican. And unlike other top-of-the-ticket GOP candidates – Whitman, Fiorina, Simon, Huffington to name a few – he pledged to stay engaged and focus on the issues he articulated during the campaign.
Would he let losing an election stop him from helping the people he pledged to help?
At the end of every campaign, there are assets that remain: donor lists, emails of subscribers, social media followers. These are the things both winning and losing candidates use for a future run or to support other candidates or issues.
I was excited to see how Neel use his campaign’s assets to further the help struggling California families.
Would Neel announce a contest for creating a viral video to inspire giving? Maybe it would be similar to how he asked young people to create political ads for his campaign? No.
Okay, how about a holiday email to his followers with a link to Poverello House’s donation page (http://www.poverellohouse.org/store/index.html) or maybe their local homeless shelter? Nope.
Alright, maybe a few social media posts to his followers, asking to them to contribute their time, talent or treasure to fight poverty. Nada.
Well, how about a RT for a group on #GivingTuesday? Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.
So, how many times did Neel Kashkari mention poverty in an email to his subscribers, or on Twitter or Facebook in the 69 days since the election?
That is outrageous.
Instead of staying true to his own professed passions to help the impoverished, Neel posted pictures of his trip to Lake Tahoe, a tribute to Veterans on Veterans Day, a Seinfeld screen grab and several RTs and shares of other users’ posts.
There is nothing wrong with recharging your batteries, and having some fun after a long campaign. But not writing a single post to help Californians speaks volumes about who the real Neel Kashkari is.
Neel was supposed to help re-brand the California Republican Party with his positions on poverty. But he’s already forgotten his own words, and the millions of California families that are struggling.
He literally – and I mean literally, not figuratively – has not lifted a finger to help those he “championed” since his campaign ended.
Neel’s inaction not only confirms the hollowness of his words, but will hurt the next Republican candidate who claims they care about struggling California families.