Calbuzz issued the following statement late Sunday:
“Covering a Republican convention is a precious right that all political reporters should exercise. We have repeatedly said that skipping this year’s is inexcusable.** We failed to register for press credentials or show up on at least one occasion throughout our lives. That is simply wrong and we have taken responsibility for our mistake.”
It’s nice to know that Meg Whitman’s committee-written apology for failing to participate in the electoral process, at least until she decided to try to buy California’s highest office at the set-time auction known as the 2010 campaign – “Whatever it is, you can get it on eBay!” – is good for something.
An all purpose, fungible assertion of regret, eMeg’s statement of atonement came just in time for our Department of Public and Private Affairs to use to explain our absence from the Smackdown in Indian Wells. No worries, though. Through the dual miracles of the internets and Jack Kavanagh, here’s our post-game analysis, featuring 10 blinding insights about the GOP convention.
1. Welcome to the NFL: As we predicted Friday, the fallout from revelations about Whitman’s lifelong MIA performance as a voter dominated the weekend. With the AP’s Juliet Williams leading the charge, the MSM political press corps did themselves proud at a Saturday avail by refusing to accept the unacceptable, programmed lines Whitman kept repeating like a political mantra, a Manchurian Candidate act preserved for posterity here.
2. Calbuzz Gets Results: We suggested a couple weeks ago that eMeg foe Steve Poizner get somebody in a chicken costume out and about to call attention to her run-and-hide response to debates in which the rivals would actually stand on the same stage. Just like that, a chicken with a “Meg 2 Chicken 2 Debate” sign appeared in the hotel lobby Saturday, although Poizner campaign flack Betina Inclan insisted she knew nothin’ about nothin’.
3. Commish gets smacked around: While overshadowed by eMeg’s troubles, Poizner also got beat up at his press conference for – astonishingly – being stumped by a question of how much state revenue would be generated by his proposed tax cuts (explanation fail: “the dynamic modeling is something that we’re working on.” Sheesh). He also mysteriously started channeling Rudy Giuliani during his big, if off-the-cuff, speech when he lurched into a discussion of Iran and 9/11, and his repeated demands that Her Megness drop out of the race overreached to the point of silliness. To Team Whitman’s credit, they also belatedly countered the Chicken by coming up with a guy in an Al Gore mask to recall Stevie Wonder’s donation to the Democrat’s 2000 nominee.
4. What candidates say matters: Our blood just boils –- boils! — when political reporters focus on gotcha’ journalism and campaign tit-for-tats instead of the substance of what candidates actually say. You can find the text of the convention speeches from Whitman, Poizner and Tom Campbell here , here and here.
5. Campbell: Ready to Rumble? Tom Campbell is virtually the only Republican left in the world who actually observes Ronald Reagan’s famous “11th Commandment” – thou shall not speak ill of another Republican. That’s why it was so surprising when Dudley Do Doo Right called out eMeg by name a few days before the convention for her rhetorical, details-free pitch for budget cuts. By the time he delivered his convention speech, however, Campbell had shifted back to full nice-guy mode, which Calbuzz thinks is a mistake; if he’s got any hope in the race, it’s to paint Whitman and Poizner as Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, and genteel inferences ain’t gonna cut it.
6. Big Foot Thunder: While Her Megness has spent much time rounding up support among the geniuses of the Beltway Pundocracy, the Washpost’s Dan Balz caused a big stir in Indian Wells with a Saturday column totally nailing her on the non-voting mess. Even Fred Barnes, whose gushy profile of eMeg in the Weekly Standard sent new records for sycophancy, beat a slight retreat from utter adoration.
7. Hardest working man in show business: We learned about the Barnes walk-back from Joe Garofoli, who kept the James Brown crown in the Chron newsroom, where it’s long resided, by filing five separate posts on Saturday’s action (Inquiring minds want to know: is Hearst paying overtime these days?)
8. What Would Jerry Do? While all eyes were on the GOP, the estimable John Marelius of the San Diego Union Tribune caught up with Jerry Brown, who looks to be bestirring himself for his run a little more each day. In a speech to a grassroots Democratic club in San Diego, Crusty offered a sneak peek of how he may finesse the age issue against Prince Gavin: “Anybody who thinks that they’re going to be governor and going to have a great future doesn’t know what’s going on in Sacramento. You want somebody to take that job who has no future.” Jeez, whatever you think of the guy, he gives great quote.
9. Kid in a candy store: You gotta’ love the enthusiasm of Jon Fleischman, who’s both a party official and a conservative blogger, and who hustled all weekend to balance his duties. Although we were disappointed that he didn’t put up the police light for his Flashreport convention coverage, he could barely contain himself in describing the “entertainment” of the Whitman press conference.
10. Why any of this matters: Sure there were only 800 activists at the convention, and it’s certainly fair to question the sanity of people who would spend a perfectly good weekend listening to politicians drone. But with the Incredible Shrinking Republican party badly needing a 2010 upset win in the governor’s race to avoid drifting into total irrelevance, the intensity of support the grassroots hardcore can deliver to a candidate will be a key factor, particularly in the primary.
** Actually we had pretty good excuses: 0ne of us had a Board of Trustees retreat for a local college, and the other was attending his daughter’s wedding. But we take full responsibility for our shortcomings. You want more? Go find it.