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IE Spanks eMeg’s Money; Commish Goes NASCAR

Feb17

Ka-ching, baby: The 30-second radio ad “1-800 Number” from “Level the Playing Field 2010,” the pro-Jerry Brown independent expenditure committee, was just the warm up: today the committee kicks off a $250,000/month radio buy for “Kaaa-ching!” – a 60-second radio spot attacking Meg Whitman for lavish corporate pay and perks when she ran eBay.

The kicker: “There shouldn’t be a Buy It Now button on the California governor’s office.” Ka-ching, ka-boom. Level 2010 plans to unveil the ad at their San Francisco office this morning, followed by a preview for the reporters in Sacramento.

“I don’t think anyone can crown themselves governor. I don’t think you can buy elections,” Whitman told KCBS reporter Doug Sovern. “What I’m trying to do is get my message out to voters. And voters are really smart. They will figure out who they want to lead this state. They will decide who they think is the most capable, given the current set of economic challenges that we face.”

In addition to the 19,00086,000-member California Nurses Association, initial funders for Level 2010 include the 23,000-member California Faculty Association. Strategists include Ace Smith, Chris Lehane, Sean Clegg, Dan Newman and Paul Maslin. Also Jason Kinney, Mike Rice, Doug Linney, Theo Yadinsky and Michelle Maravich.

The ad is an opening attack on the surreal prospect that anyone should be seeking high office using their CEOness as a qualifying characteristic — after  the collapse of Wall Street and America’s banking system at the hands of corporate CEOs. Lehane, Smith, Maslin, Clegg, et al are determined to do what the Obama administration has failed to do: render radioactive any Republican candidate with a corporate background.

They also understand that the ubermission of an independent committee is to put the opponent/s on the defensive. An IE can’t win an election – only the candidate can do that. But an IE committee can weaken the opposition. And that’s Level 2010’s goal.

According to Tucker Bounds, eMeg’s spokesman, there’s little difference between Brown’s campaign and the independent expenditure committees dedicated to attacking Whitman.

The other IE committee – California Working Families 2010 – includes Roger Salazar, Larry Grizalano, Jason Kruger and Frank Quintero, with funding likely to come from Ron Burkle, the carpenters and electrical workers unions and others. They have yet to mount a charge.

“There’s only one viable candidate in this campaign that’s running for election. Jerry Brown has refused to get on the playing field. But he has deployed his attack-style consultants to launch a campaign against Meg Whitman and we’re committeed to fighting back,” he said.

Asked if he was saying there is collusion between Brown and the independent committees – which would be illegal – Bounds demurred: “I’m not making any charge other than to say these are Jerry Brown supporters who are running a campaign to support Jerry Brown – they’re all singing from the same songbook.”

The ads, he said, “are an example of the general election beginning early in part because the Democrats would prefer to run against a weaker, beatable candidate in Steve Poizner.” . . . which leads to . . .

And they’re off: Steve Poizner will hit the track at NASCAR this weekend – even as Whitman accelerates her effort to bump him out of the race for governor. (Okay, that’s it for auto-racing puns for this item. Intentional ones anyway).

Team Poizner confirmed Tuesday that the Commish is slated as an Honorary Visiting Official at Sunday’s NASCAR Auto Club 500 race in Fontana. That means he gets profile in the pre-race ceremonies, possibly a seat in the pace car (careful what you wish for!), plus face time at the driver’s meeting and in the garage, along with primo seats.

We’re sure that it’s the sheerest of coincidences that Poizner is making a NASCAR appearance just a week after Calbuzz recommended he do so. In any case, the Thunder Road optics of the event will contrast nicely with eMeg’s more refined, Ile de France and amusing little Montrachets vibe. Poizner peering under the hood in San Berdoo surely resonates better with blue collar, cultural conservatives than Whitman’s bubble-wrapped cocooning and hobnobbing with political and media elites in Washington and New York.

As John Kerry famously said, “Who among us does not love NASCAR?”

Let’s call off the election: Still, one NASCAR event does not a campaign make, and the Armies of eMeg are keeping the pressure on Poizner to head for the pits even the starters flag comes down (sorry).

Ex-Gov. Pete Wilson, Whitman’s campaign chairman, last week sent out a missive calling for Poizner to withdraw in the interest of Republican “unity” in the face of Crusty’s IE effort; to which Jim Brulte, Stevie Wonder’s chairman, has now nicely riposted that Meg is trying “to win for free what others like Ronald Reagan and George Deukmejian have had to compete hard to earn.”

Undeterred, Her Megness quickly followed up with Wilson’s echo-not-a-choice message with yet another, this from Republican legislative leaders Senator Tony Strickland and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who parroted PiWi’s eblast line.

Our party is only weakened by a Republican candidate who ultimately aids Jerry Brown and his allies’ fight against the conservative leadership we need in Sacramento. It’s time for all Republicans to unite, and we’re hopeful Steve Poizner will do the right thing and step aside in order to nominate Meg, the strongest candidate to take on Jerry Brown in November.

To which Commish mouthpiece Jarrod Agen oh-so-daintily responded:

I’ve read about dictators who try to stop free elections, but I never thought I’d see someone try that strategy in California. Steve Poizner favors freedoms that make America great, like freedom of the press and the right to vote, so we’re going to go ahead and have an election where the voters get to choose their nominee.

Let’s call off the whining, instead: From where we sit, Whitman’s big push to push Poizner over the side, nearly four months before the primary, and at a time when she’s leading by 8,000 points, looks like an extremely weak, fear-based move that makes her sound like a whiner. What’s next, if The Commish doesn’t drop – shaking her fist and stamping her foot? Holding her breath ‘til she turns blue? Or maybe just cut to the chase and try directly begging him to quit. Sheesh.

eMeg’s ongoing insistence that she’s “going to debate” – while she keeps not debating – meanwhile keeps sending the same lame message.

Which reminds us that our pal Jon Fleischman, the esteemed blogger and widely known shit disturber, is having entirely too much fun over at Flashreport, making the GOP natives restless by fomenting a netroots push for a debate at the upcoming Republican convention.

Hiding behind technicalities, Whitman communications chief Bounds told us “no invitation was extended” for a convention debate, adding that, “if there’s an invitation, we’ll give it due consideration.”

And thank you for that.


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