Paging Rodney Dangerfield: The national press corps’s bumbling attempts to cover the California governor’s race took another wrong turn over the weekend, when the Wall Street Journal ran a profile of Steve Poizner. Only problem was, the piece featured a mug shot of a broadly beaming fellow who was decidedly not Steve Poizner.
Political stenographer Stu Woo churned out a dutiful piece on Poizner, his latest no-news coverage of the GOP wannabe govs, and was no doubt surprised to pick up the paper to find that Journal photo editors had apparently decided that if you’ve seen one guy whose name starts with “Po…” you’ve seen ‘em all.
In a wide-ranging investigation, consisting of at least one email and a couple of Google searches, Calbuzz has learned that the smiling gentleman pictured with the Journal piece (and above) is named Tom Pokorsky, who appears to have at least 50 lbs, one receding hairline and a possible round of Lasik surgery on Poizner. Pokorsky apparently runs Aquarius Technologies, a high-tech, wastewater treatment company based in Port Washington, Wisconsin; Steve Poizner is the Insurance Commissioner for the state of California, with offices in Sacramento.
Reached for comment, Poizner campaign communications director Jarrod Agen provided the following, diplomatic-to-a-fault statement:
“I just want to say to the Wall Street Journal that we love your paper and want your endorsement. We fully understand that you are not based in California and therefore we want to help you out. The person you have captioned as Steve Poizner looks like a very nice man, however we have no idea who that person is. The national press seems intent on weighing in on this race and we hope that you’ll please pass along that it’s very important to know not just the local issues that this state faces, but also what the candidates actually look like.”
Stevie Wonder steals a march: Staking his claim as the candidate of substance and specificity in the GOP race, Poizner on Tuesday released a detailed recovery plan for the state economy, squarely based on Arthur Laffer back-of-the-napkin orthodoxy, that includes sweeping tax cuts, rollbacks in business and workplace regulations and a tort reform proposal aimed at reducing the number of lawsuits and the size of legal awards in California.
The centerpiece of the 11-page plan, which you can find here, is a 10 percent across the board cut in state income, sales and corporation tax rates, plus a 50 percent reduction in capital gains rates. If this seems a trifle, um, Republican, to fly in the Democrat-dominated Legislature, not to worry, says the Commish.
Poizner’s claim is that by engaging voters with a high level of detail on a substantive platform, he will 1) win a popular mandate; 2) couple it with his personal “tenacity and backbone” to, 3) roll over Democratic policy and political objections, causing them to fall in line. For the efficacy of that notion in practice, he might check in on how Barack Obama, who creamed John McCain and led the Dems to big majorities in both houses of Congress, is having his way with GOPers in Washington in the debate over the meritorious nature of his ideas.
As a political matter, Poizner’s fallback answer to the question of how on earth he gains support in Sacramento for his radical tax cut plan is his enthusiastic support for an initiative to return the Legislature to part-time status. That argument gets a more than a little wobbly when you look at the most recent PPIC poll, which had the measure losing by about a 3-to-1 margin.
While Poizner’s pitch has its faults as a general election strategy, it’s still a smart play in the GOP primary. So far, the moderate Tom Campbell has successfully portrayed himself as the man of substance, primarily with a detailed budget analysis and program released months ago, which has won him considerable huzzahs among reporters if not doing much to goose his fund raising.
Now, the wealthy Poizner is clearly better positioned to put money behind the meat of his proposals, not only leaving Campbell in the dust, but also contrasting himself as the candidate of ideas against front-runner Meg Whitman, who, so far at least, seems content to wander the state, endlessly mouthing platitudes.
Social conservative Steve: An interesting piece deconstructing in detail Poizner’s positioning of his pro-choice position for pro-life voters is found here.
Last word on Spankypants (maybe): We’re kinda’ confused about why the MSM keeps reporting that ex-Assman and noted big brain Mike Duvall, he of the eyepatch unmentionables, has “denied” that he actually had the sleazy affairs he brilliantly boasted about into an open mic during a committee hearing.
Although the headline on Duvall’s pathetic online statement, posted on his former Assembly campaign site, says he “denies” the affairs, parsing what you might call his actual words makes clear that he’s doing no such thing:
“I want to make it clear that my decision to resign is in no way an admission that I had an affair or affairs.”
And Calbuzz wants to make it clear that stating that he’s not admitting having affairs is not the same as denying it. Seems to us the statement is some lawyer’s crafted attempt to avoid self-incrimination by Duvall, should there be a serious investigation of whether he traded his vote on a bunch of bills lobbied by his Third House inamorata for a couple of rump shots.
Still, we brim with admiration at the chutzpah of Duvall’s claim that his only “offense was engaging in inappropriate story-telling,” which ranks right there with “I didn’t inhale” and “I didn’t have sex with THAT woman” in the all-time Shameless Whopper Hall of Fame.