In its greatest crisis of both cash and confidence, California seems to have been forgotten by the press this side of the Rockies. Possibly Los Angeles and San Francisco were only distant cultural provinces of Brooklyn Heights and Central Park West, like Provincetown and Vermont are, and everybody went back home. Or like Tony Soprano’s sister Janice, who headed west then out of the blue returned years later and asked to be referred to by her new West Coast name, Parvati, after the Hindu goddess. Maybe they go west to find the goddess then come back to North Jersey and be Janice again.

But Mitt Romney has not forgotten California. He is selling houses he owns in Massachusetts and a vacation home in the mountains somewhere, and settling in at La Jolla. He’s not only smart as paint, but clever as well. He was the first (and possibly the only) to observe last summer at the Republican convention that with the selection of Sarah Palin as Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) running mate, the country entered a new phase that might be considered the New York/Brooklyn old-world socialist tradition, like Norma Desmond, trying to make one final comeback before the curtain falls, and the California Barry Goldwater born free, Emersonian, self-reliance tradition trying to be born. East versus West. And he will be in perfect position to run from that perch in the 2012 race from Southern California.

He could easily predict now that the drastic state of political and economic decline California is experiencing today will be felt nationally in 2012, and that will be his format. He also senses, perhaps, that this will be the first most important contest of the century and will set the paradigm for the age ahead.

Romney is also in very good position to accommodate the Three Shadows: Sarah Palin, “Twilight” and Ron Paul; heartland America (Palin), the very young rising generation, “Twilight,” which the critics hate because they’re not in it, and us rednecks in the mountains (Ron Paul).

Hollywood swami Deepak Chopra (they still have him?) wrote in September that Palin is Obama’s Shadow. Shadow is a specific psychological term derived likely from the Hindu by C.G. Jung and his friend Toni Wolff, who knew about those things. It refers to the contents of the psyche or the collective psyche that the conscious mind is not using or is hiding from or is generally against and hates. Like the Emperor and the Sith. You can tell the ferocity of the Shadow by the hatred it generates.

Palin represents small-town values — a denial of America's global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism, says Obama supporter Chopra, ignorance of world affairs — a repudiation of the need to repair America's image abroad, family values – “a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice.” Also patriotism, “the usual fallback in a failed war.”

“It would be a shame to elect another Reagan, whose smiling persona was a stalking horse for the reactionary forces that have brought us to the demoralized state we are in,” he writes.

Endorsements like this from pop divas and dweeb-fests like Chopra hurt Obama. To a less original politician they might have cost the election. As it was, he had to go out of his way to defend his patriotism by putting on a flag pin and calling in Michelle and the kids to illustrate his “family values.” Anyone can see that there has perhaps never been a more dedicated parent or husband in the White House. And Obama himself frequently mentioned Reagan as an important innovator and said he always thought George W. Bush to be a “good guy.” Clearly today he follows the same policy initiatives in what Chopra fashions a “failed war.” But it shows the unfortunate and unnecessary baggage this president hauled along with him to the White House.

The Shadow is fierce with Sarah. Whenever I mention her name in an article I always get the most ferocious hate mail and in the same banshee shrill screeching voice like the horses the Black Riders make in The Lord of the Rings, whether it is from a suddenly unhinged classical professor from a great university like the one I got this morning, or just from a garden-variety schizophrenic cruising the internet.

This could actually tell us something very important about ourselves as Americans today. Just before he died in the early 1960s, Jung warned of the dangers that could result from America projecting its collective Shadow (as Chopra does with Palin) onto the Soviet Union. This ferocity of feeling about Sarah, and the press attacks and TV interviews set up to embarrass her are manifestations and reinforcements of this, could mean perhaps that we are today beginning to internalize a conflict like the one we began to externalize more than 100 years ago with the communists. But this time we are projecting the same internalized hatred onto the American heartland.

In one of the very first reactions to her, a regular New York Times commentator spontaneously compared Palin to Hitler. The big people at The New York Times and the interviewers at CBS are the guardians of the cave. They warn against going there. For to enter the Shadow is to enter a cave, like the Mines of Moria — there will be dangerous encounters with cave trolls; goblins will stream down from the ceilings like rabid bats — like the armies of mice who would accuse her thereafter of overspending on her allowed clothes budget for her VP debate with Joe Biden and would even make the most savage and absurd claims, like her delightful new daughter was not really her daughter at all but her granddaughter. Welcome to the Dark Side, Luke.

This division is the internal East/West conflict described above. It’s been growing really since the ’60s — the red state/blue state thing. It’s been variously benign and active since the first settlements in Plymouth and Williamsburg. This could turn dark. Maybe Romney who is as comfortable in the west as he is in the east can help resolve this.

Romney was governor of Massachusetts between 2002 and 2006. He brought with him some very strange karma. During that period and leading up to it and descending down from it later we started winning championships. Winning everything. Super Bowls, World Series. Prior to that we never won anything. It was called The Curse and it was lifted in 2004 in Romney’s tenure during a total eclipse of the moon. He will be back in Boston on April 16 for a fundraiser for Bobby Jindal. I hope they can bring the Alaska governor along because all three represent a very new vision for the country and the new century and it could be something to which we in New England might be getting ready to sign on to once we get past the Orcs.

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