Shooting the Wounded: Crusty, Chickens, Oil & eMeg


Jerrykrustycollage and Ralph Redux: Our High Minded Journalistic Standards and Ethics Schmethics Department has sent down a memo instructing us to recap a prickly issue from the Calbuzz Weekend Edition, for those who may have missed it because of doing something weird, like going outside.

In an early version of our post about the battle for the Democratic nomination for governor, we misstated the year that Crusty the General Brown voted for Ralph Nader for president; it’s a significant matter because some regular Democrats (including at least one Calbuzzbabe), who saw Nader’s vanity candidacy in 2000 as the key reason Al Gore eventually lost the presidency to W, would view such a move by Jerry as disqualifying in deciding their vote for the 2010 governor’s race.

The spread of the erroneous claim that Brown went for Nader in 2000 is a good  example of how a false factoid that gets published in the MSM metastasizes through the bloodstream of the internets and quickly becomes received wisdom So for the record:

1. Jerry Brown did not back Ralph Nader in 2000, he endorsed Al Gore.
2. Jerry Brown did back Nader in 1996, and refused to support Bill Clinton for re-election.


Crusty disclosed his 1996 vote for Nader during the March 25, 1998 broadcast of “Crossfire,” the prototypical, political food fight crosstalk show, then co-hosted by onetime Brown aide Bill Press (“from the left”) and the late conservative columnist Bob Novak (“from the right”), which has since been cancelled by CNN.

At the time, Brown was running for mayor of Oakland and, in full-throated populist reformer mode, had recently switched his voter registration from Democrat to decline-to-state; Clinton was in the full throes of stained-blue-dress Lewinskyism. Here’s the key section of “Crossfire”:

NOVAbluedressK: But Jerry, I’m going to ask you a question the Democrats will not answer. They won’t even go on this show, most of them, because they’re afraid I’ll ask the question, and, but you’re not a Democrat anymore. Now, I want you to give your opinion of the morality of Bill Clinton, the personal morality.

BROWN: Well, I don’t feel I’m in a position to judge his personal morality. I can tell you this, I think as a, as someone who’s supposed to be directing the Democratic Party in the direction of caring for the common man, like Truman or Roosevelt, it’s not there. The Democratic Party has been taken over by a confederacy of corruption, campaign consultants and lobbyists and Bill Clinton has led the way and I don’t approve of it.

NOVAK: The allegations about his personal life don’t bother you?

BROWN: First of all, they’re not proven and secondly I think that the policy failures are so overwhelming that I’m not going to marginalize them by giving dignity to these allegations that have yet to be tried in a court of law.

NOVAK: Did you vote for him for reelection?

BROWN: No, I voted for Ralph Nader.

A final tidbit: at one point in the show, Press replays the famous 1992 confrontation in which Brown for the first time raises what later became known as the Whitewater scandal, during a debate with Clinton in Chicago. Here’s the exchange coming out of the clip:

PRESS: So there you are. I mean, you’re not attacking the candidate, you’re attacking…

NOVAK: Sounds good to me.

PRESS: You’re attacking his wife, in fact, the negative campaigning and you’re the one that started this whole Rose law firm Whitewater business, aren’t you?

BROWN: You know, guess what? The agriculture, the chicken industry, the secretary of agriculture is now indicted because of favors being done to the chicken industry. So it isn’t just fecal matter, it’s actual corruption.

NOVAK: Jerry Brown, I’m going to ask you a – in the first place, I think you were…

BROWN: So I was dead on, dead right on.

NOVAK: You were prophetic.

ahabMoby Dick in state waters: Assemblyman Pedro Nava has been true to his word in not letting up in his attacks on PXP, the oil company seeking that controversial lease to drill in state waters off the coast of Santa Barbara.

The company a few weeks ago released the alleged findings of a professional poll that purported to find that a majority of Californians support the project, known as Tranquillon Ridge, in which the company would slant drill from an existing platform it uses in federal waters, more than three miles offshore.

Nava immediately cried foul, demanded that PXP release the complete poll results, and began issuing a near-daily press release posing a series of suggested survey questions worded from an anti-offshore drilling perspective. The Captain Ahab of California oil politics, Nava at press time had sent out about 10 releases (latest: “Nava to PXP: ‘Did the PXP Poll inform Californians that it would increase global warming pollution and that according to the State Lands Commission report these emissions ‘are not likely to be mitigated any time in the near future, if ever’?” to the sound of resounding silence from the oil company.

PXP did respond to a Calbuzz request to see the poll, in a sorta, kinda’ way; Rachel Pitts, a very pleasant marketing consultant in the Aaron Read shop, emailed us two of the questions and the results they elicited. Without seeing the entire survey, the wording and order of questions, however, there’s no way to tell how legit the findings are.

Pitts told us she couldn’t release the complete, secret poll to us, for  “proprietary reasons.”

Calbuzz gets results: Under a constant barrage of criticism (we name no names) for her Rose Garden strategy for governor, GOP front-runner Meg Whitman is tip-toeing closer to participating in an actual debate with her rivals. On Saturday, eMeg finally showed up at an event where Steve Poizner and Tom Campbell were also appearing; although not a real debate, it was at least a baby step into the world of political combat for Her Megness: C’mon girlfriend, you can do it.

Let’s put on a show: Frustrated with eMeg’s refusal to stand for third-party debates, Poizner has produced one of his own, putting up a You Tube clip that juxtaposes some of her recent comments on taxes with his own pitch for sweeping tax cuts, along with a few gushy words for the Comish from Larry Kudlow, who hosted both of them on CNBC last week. You can find it all here.

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There are 7 comments for this post

  1. avatar 4oceans says:

    Looks like Capt. Pedro Ahab has Aaron Read n’ PXP hooked. They’re twisting. Reel ’em in. Don’t left ’em of the hook! In fact, better spear n’ club ’em Ahab just to make sure they’re really, absolutely, completely dead this time. I’ll fire up the BBQ !

  2. avatar sqrjn says:

    I assumed you meant he voted for Nader in 2000, which bears with it for anyone who did so the moral culpability for two conservative justices and one unnecessary war.

  3. avatar Coastwatcher says:

    So what if Brown voted for Nadar. I didn’t but many of us vote for people and later regret that vote or feel we didn’t have a choice at the time.

    As for Nava. His points are well taken because PXP is using the “results” this poll in an attempt to get their project approved in spite of all of the problems associated with it (which they also don’t admit to). If they are going to mis-use the results he is correct to go after them.
    By the way for any of you “drill, baby, drill” folks who think off shore oil drilling is safe and will bring down the cost of oil and create indpendence, think again. The amont of oil off shore can not impact the price which is determed world wide and if you care about energy independence why aren’t you seeking legislation to prohibit the export of oil. We export more than any off shore oil drilling could produce. Lastly, but not least, off shore oil drilling is NOT safe. It is a dirty business from start to finish, including toxics that go into the ocean on a daily basis and the possibility of a major blowout is still very real even with the latest technology. Just look at what is happening off Australia. It may turn out to be the worst spill in history and it is on a rig that uses the very newest technology

  4. avatar starstation says:

    could you please address Whitman by her complete name…

    eMeg Z Frump

  5. avatar tegrat says:

    The inevitable Nader petard is once again hoisting those who would launch it. Fact is the Dems, scrambling as quickly as possible towards some fabled “center” where you are guaranteed to lose your base, did exactly that and ran a tepid campaign with a potentially good candidate who was handled in a tepid manner. Nader had nothing to do with that loss – it’s all on the shoulders of the wimpy-ass Democratic party (now improving somewhat, although Obama seems to be doing a pretty good job of losing the base once again).

  6. avatar Mobius Trip says:

    Al Gore, in fact, won that election in 2000. And, yes, the Dems were stupid and feckless to back down so easily before a real recount even took place. The votes for Nader didn’t help the situation at all. If I had voted for Nader, which I didn’t, I’d feel some real responsibility for the circumstances cited by sqrjn above. If Brown HAD voted for Nader in 2000 (as falsely reported in the MSM) that would have been a real negative for him in my book. Glad to hear that he did NOT.

  7. avatar sqrjn says:

    Voting is always a choice for who you want to be elected. But who you want to be elected is not necessarily shown by the person for whom the vote is cast.

    For instance in 2000 Nader Voters decided they would rather have G.W. be elected, than not express their support for Nader’s positions. 3rd party voters may refuse to choose between the lesser of two evils, but they are responsible when the greater of those evils occurs.

    Viewed at their worst 2000 Nader Voters were making a conscious decision to let things get worse, in the hopes this would make things better. They were Bolsheviks betraying Russia in order to undermine the Czar.

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