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New Dem Party/Brown Whack at eMeg on Goldman

May7

The California Democratic Party, coordinating with Jerry Brown’s campaign for governor, is expected today to launch an attack on Republican front-runner Meg Whitman in the form of an “issues” ad calling on Congress to “stop special favors for wealthy Wall Street insiders,” sources told Calbuzz on Thursday.

The assault — which the Brown campaign would not confirm — comes as private polling by Republican Steve Poizner, by Whitman and various other candidates and initiative campaigns shows the Republican race for governor now within 10 points, with Poizner closing fast.

The CDP/Brown effort is aimed at weakening Whitman even further, especially among independent voters who will be crucial in the general election. If, as a side benefit, the ad campaign also erodes Whitman’s standing in the GOP primary, so much the better, sources said.

Whitman is struggling to douse the fires rising from attention focused on the fact that Goldman Sachs gave her access to initial public stock offerings that she “spun” or resold for personal profit while she was CEO at eBay. Goldman Sachs got eBay’s investment banking business and Whitman was, for a time, also a member of Goldman’s board.

The practice of “spinning” was legal at the time, but was outlawed shortly after a Congressional investigation and about the same time Whitman resigned from the Goldman board and returned $1.78 million in profits to settle an eBay shareholder lawsuit.

Calbuzz has not seen the CDP/Brown ad itself, but it has been described by media industry sources. According to them, the ad notes that a judge called Whitman’s spinning an “obvious conflict of interest,” that she was “forced” to return her profits and that she has “secretive offshore accounts, managed by Goldman Sachs, used by the rich to avoid taxes.”

In the same way the California Chamber of Commerce briefly used an “issues ad” to attack Brown, the CDP and Brown are using an “issues ad” to attack Whitman. The difference is that the Chamber is officially a non-partisan organization and the California Democratic Party and the Brown campaign are anything but non-partisan.

Official state parties may legally coordinate activity with candidates for partisan office which is apparently the framework in which this ad campaign is crafted. How much money the CDP will put behind the ad — money that was likely raised by Brown — is yet unclear. But the initial buy is expected to be about $1 million.

And Other Lies: The biggest canard in Governor Arnold’s dishonest crock of a disingenuous argument for scheduling the special election for Abel Maldonado’s former senate seat in the middle of summer is the purported need to have all legislative hands on deck to vote on a new state budget.

“We think it’s important to have a full complement of senators as soon as possible,” said Schwarzmuscle mouthpiece Aaron McLear said.

Puh-leeze.

Putting aside the fact that the $20 billion red ink budget will probably get voted on closer to Christmas, the clear-eyed Timm Herdt makes the very excellent point that if 15th SD front-runner Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee wins – an outcome Schwarzenegger is clearly trying to guarantee by setting the special for August 17 – there’ll be an open Assembly seat awaiting yet another special election, by which time the mendacious McLear will be well into his next million or so deceits.

Besides his little hissy fit of spite over the Dems taking their time to confirm Maldo as Lite Guv, there’s one and only reason that Conan set the date when he did – because the senate Republican leaders leaned on him to put his thumb on the scale so Democratic front-runner and former Assemblyman John Laird doesn’t capture the seat and put them on the brink of the two-thirds majority needed for budget votes.

The merits of consolidating the run-off vote with the Nov. 2 statewide are clear and overwhelming: sparing Central Coast counties the $2.5 million price tag of indulging Arnold’s whim, boosting voter awareness and turnout in the sprawling district, ensuring that military voters stationed overseas are full enfranchised – a matter that is resonating even with conservatives – as well as a batch of voting rights issue raised by newly-filed litigation that Schwarzenegger’s triggered with his partisan action.

Bottom line to Laird: “I think it was a political play, the Senate Republican leadership attempting to advantage themselves in the special election.” And what motivated Schwarzmuscle? “He was responding to the Senate Republican leadership in advance of the budget,” said Laird.

What hath Sarah wrought: While Sarah Palin’s Facebook endorsement of Carly Fiorina in the Republican Senate race offers iCarly a nice boost in the primary, the political backing of the Thrilla from Wasilla will reek like stinking fish by the time the general election comes around, should the Hurricane win the GOP nomination.

There’s not a lot of hard data available about how Californians view Palin, but polling from her stint as the 2008 veep candidate makes it clear what a polarizing figure she was even back when she was still a borderline wing nut, before she crossed the border and became a total whack job. Shortly after the Republican National Convention where she made her national political debut, the Field Poll found Palin’s favorable to unfavorable rating among Californians stood at 43-43; less than two months later her image stood at 37-53 favorable-unfavorable.

The big shift came among independents: In the first weeks after Palin’s launch, they viewed her somewhat unfavorably, 36-45; by the time they’d been more fully exposed to her charms, shortly before the election, DTSs had a 20-65 unfavorable view of her, a 36 point swing. All this, of course, before Palin resigned as governor of Alaska and evolved into a full time media bore.

Even California Republicans became slightly less enamored over time: they viewed her favorably 81-12 during the September survey and 74-19 in October, a net decline of 13 points.

Still her seal of approval is a big deal for Fiorina in the right-wing dominated primary, and even more of one, in an opposite way, for Orange County Assemblyman Chuck Devore, the true Tea Partier in the race, whose supporters took to Palin’s Facebook page to complain about her endorsement of Fiorina.

As for front-runner Tom Campbell, we have a feeling Palin’s gratuitous dis of Dudley – “a liberal member of the GOP who seems to bear almost no difference to Boxer, one of the most left-wing members of the Senate” – will find its way onto the air in the next four weeks.

Upadate 6:40 am: At 10:09 pm Thursday the Whitman campaign sent out the following statement: “This is a clear effort by the California Democratic Party and labor unions to defeat Meg Whitman, because she is the only fiscal conservative in the race who will reform the failed pension system and solve the fiscal crisis in Sacramento. The California Democratic Party, the public employee unions, and Steve Poizner have struck an alliance to defeat Meg’s effort to disrupt the status quo in Sacramento.”


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There are 3 comments for this post

  1. avatar tonyseton says:

    Debra J. Saunders headlined her Chron column Tuesday with the question, “Whitman can spend, but can she govern?” Whitman has spent zillions buying a large lead in the primary campaign, but Saunders’ questions hangs over The Golden State like a Damoclean Sword. Whitman is providing ever more evidence that she can’t answer that question in the affirmative. Her ability to turn $50 million into a 30-point collapse in the polls is a clue to her strategizing. The people of California seem like they’d rather try out a matured Jerry Brown at the helm.

  2. avatar Ave7 says:

    I just want to know what Calbuzzer SWAG I win for predicting Whitman’s polling free fall. Late last year I started describing Whitman’s “Checchi Trajectory,” including this entry from December:

    Ave7 says:
    December 16, 2009 at 7:22 am

    [We call this effect the “Checchi Trajectory.” (Substitute “Northwest Airlines” for “EBay” and you have the last completely unqualified ultrawealthy ego-maniacal airbag to run for CA Governor.) You’re perhaps a bit ahead of the masses, but soon they too will throw up a little in the back of their mouth every time her latest ad oozes for their radio or tv. Filled with vacuous insights and Republican panderhetoric, Whitman’s own “positive” ads will be her opponent’s greatest weapons. The big polling pop yields a bigger polling drop. The flavor of the month club simply looks for a new flavor. Then Meg will go negative — big, mean, ugly, nasty ads that make her smile wickedly in the screening room and leave her senior staff pumping their fists, smirking with “take that Poser!” on their minds. Which of course is when her free fall will begin, as no one particularly cares what a seller of cabbage patch dolls has to say about California politics.]

    The reality of this being a two-horse race and Checchi having had a 3-horse race in ’98 does not undermine the argument that ultra-rich unknown CEO candidates quickly wear out their welcome with the voters. The one resource they purchase in abundance becomes their largest negative: the non-stop television ads. The one reason they fall into this trap: they hire political consultants who line their pockets not by winning the campaign, but by taking a commission on EVERY ad that airs.

    Poizner’s smartest tactics were to buy a down-ballot office first to garner some name ID and credibility with voters, and equally important, he seems to have calculated (perhaps by fiscal necessity) the apex, rather than the free fall stage, of the Checchi Trajectory.

    Whitman might well lose this primary, and like Al Checchi and a growing list of wealthy CEOs, she will have been a lamb to the slaughter at the altar of ruthlessly greedy political consultants.

    She bought what she deserves.

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