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Two Weeks to Go: Calderon Meets Condoleezza

May25

Two weeks before the June 8 primary election, the fight for the Republican nomination for governor has come down to this: Raising Arizona vs. Big Love.

As Meg Whitman rolled out a new ad, featuring her Mormon mentor Mitt Romney and a cast of thousands attesting to her conservative bona fides, Steve Poizner doubled down with his own spot, whacking his rival for not backing The Grand Canyon State’s illegal immigration crackdown law.

After more than a year of campaigning, and in excess of $100 million in collective spending, eMeg and The Commish have begun making their final arguments to GOP voters, each trying to define the election with the same basic message: I’m the true right-winger in this race.

Two moderate Republicans trying to tart themselves up as right-wingers, Her Megness and Poiz have both sought to expose their rival as a liberal-in-drag , pointing fingers and hurling mighty oaths at the other over  character – You’re a non-voting, Wall Street scumbag pornographer! No, you’re a partial birth abortion-loving, lying hypocrite! – and ideology – You’re a Jarvis-hating, solar panel-hugging union tool! No, you’re a tax-loving, smelt-smooching,  Van Jones fellow traveler!

Because both are hobbled in making their case to the right-wing voters who dominate Republican primaries in California by the lack of a long or consistent conservative record, it’s not surprising, as they enter the stretch run, that the latest ad for each rests on third-party validators – and invalidators – to establish movement authenticity cred.

Whitman’s latest ad takes the more direct approach.

She trots out a trio of iconic conservative Republicans to testify on her behalf. Mindful that Poizner has undermined her with his Goldman Sachs attacks, presidential wannabe Romney praises her “integrity,” while Condoleeza Rice lends her hard-line rep as George Bush’s National Security Advisor and Secretary of State to endorsing eMeg’s “values” and “strength” and Prop. 13 guru Jon Coupal blesses her as the “only one real fiscal conservative” who will protect taxpayers.

“Strong…fiscal conservative…leader,” the three say serially to end the spot.

Poizner takes an oppositional approach, employing anti-endorsements to send a message on immigration as a signifier of his conservative credentials.

Not since John C. Fremont opened a can of whupass on the forces of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna  has anyone taken a  bigger swing at Mexico: using a news clip of Felipe Calderon’s speech to Congress last week, during which he bashed the new Arizona law, the ad directly links Whitman and the Mexican president as backers of amnesty and anything-goes immigration policy on one side, and Poizner squarely on the other, as it builds on a previous spot connecting eMeg to the alleged policy of President Obama.

“Do you want a governor who has the same position on illegal immigration as the president of Mexico?” the announcer intones.

Messaging aside, three more key points:

1-From what we can glean, eMeg is still out-spending Poizner about 2-to-1 heading into the final days; he’s already got a decidedly uphill fight and, without forking out significantly more cash, it’s hard to see how he pulls it out.

2-Whatever else the ad war has accomplished, it’s a safe bet that it’s driven the negatives of both Republicans way up. We’ll know more after seeing the USC/LA Times and Field polls but we hear that favorability ratings among general election voters for Whitman and Poizner are both under water – about 3-to-4 negative – while Brown’s is up to about 5-to-3 in positive territory.

3-If that’s the case,  whoever wins the GOP nomination  may want to spend some time digging out of their negative favorability hole before attacking Brown. And that would be a huge relief to Krusty  who’s been able to save cash and political capital while  lambasting his GOP rivals as “apostles of ignorance and darkness.”

“ I don’t think they’re even healthy for the mind,” Brown said of the two ad campaigns last week. ” I think they’re contaminating the children who may see these things.”

Jerry’s Cash Cache

Back in the first week of May, when Calbuzz first reported on the California Democratic Party’s Goldman Sachs anti-Whitman TV ad masquerading as an “issues ad,” we had what we thought was solid information from Democratic sources that the CDP’s initial buy – of just under $1 million – would be followed by a couple more weeks.

Since Attorney General Jerry Brown had raised the money for the CPD’s ad buy, it made sense that the ad would keep running for a while in hopes of weakening Whitman’s favorability among Democrats, independents and perhaps even some Republicans. (BTW, it was when we tried to discuss this with CDP Chairman John Burton that he said fuck you told us to go fuck ourselves.)

Well, something happened that our sources didn’t anticipate: with the CPD ad in the mix while Steve Poizner was unloading ads on Whitman about Goldman Sachs, illegal immigration and her voting record, eMeg’s favorability ratings got so bad so fast, Krusty the General Brown – a renowned cheapskate – decided he didn’t need to spend all that money on the Goldman ad.

Which is where the $2.25 million came from that Brown received on Friday from the California Democratic Party. Which is part of the reason we won’t be too surprised if, when Brown’s next money report is filed, he has about $20 million on hand.

Stupid Poll Tricks

Remember when we mentioned that the Survey USA poll on May 10 that found Whitman with a mere 2-point lead over Poizner was most likely a pile of horse manure? Well lo and behold, Survey USA, with its fancy schmancy robotic pre-recorded calls, now says Whitman leads 54-27. Of course, there’s no explanation why Poizner would have dropped 10 points or why Whitman would have picked up 15. But who cares? It’s all just numbers, right?

The Daily Kos poll, by Research 2000, which has Whitman leading Poizner 46-36%, sounds more sound to us.

Get a room, willya?: Mickey Kaus, the blogosphere’s favorite son candidate for U.S. Senate, wants Barbara Boxer to meet him at the Holiday Inn.


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There are 5 comments for this post

  1. avatar Cicero says:

    Here is what I’d like to know: What is the earliest public statement by Commissioner Poizner on immigration that anyone can find? I’m betting it is earlier this year. His brain trust has seized on an issue that they think will help them with Republican primary voters. It’s an issue I venture to say he’d never thought about, didn’t know much or care about before this year. There is just no there there.
    On the other hand, Ms Whitman couldn’t even bother to vote. Jerry Brown has his . . . quirks, to be sure, but at least he’s led a life devoted to public service, from a family with a legacy of public service.

    • avatar Ave7 says:

      Poser scored a huge upset when he won the endorsement of La Opinion in his 2006 race against the only Latino seeking statewide office, Cruz Bustamante. According to La Opinion, he did so by “reaffirming moderate points of view with respect to both Proposition 187, and the policy of using checkpoints to seize the cars of undocumented immigrants cars” amongst other things.

      You can also be sure that when he ran for Assembly two years earlier he had to take a position on Cedillo’s drivers license bill for undocs (it was a hot issue at the time).

      Far from “never having thought about” the issue, I’m sure he now wishes he had kept his mouth shut.

      If he had just checked out of civic life, ignored his duty to vote, and refused to take any positions on anything, he could have started this campaign by doing a poll which would inform his every belief. But enough about Meg.

      The problem for Steve is he now has to repudiate all “passionate convictions” he formerly held and replace them with his new passionate convictions.

    • avatar Cicero says:

      Thanks very much for the information and the correction. I should have asked when was the first time he took the positions on immigration that he is taking now. Of course that goes for the environment, abortion, etc., etc.

    • avatar pjhackenflack says:

      Cicero –
      FYI here’s a text of what Poizner campaign sent out on your question in an e-blast to reporters Monday:

      “Steve’s Immigration Record
      While Meg Whitman juggles to remember her talking points on illegal immigration, she is trying to distort Steve Poizner’s solid record on the issue. Since the start of his campaign, Steve has taken a “hard line” on illegal immigration, as documented by the
      San Francisco Chronicle in February 2009 (http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-02-22/bay-area/17190109_1_poizner-budget-deal-california-republicans).

      Steve’s position on immigration has been the same since 2004, as we can see in this debate video from Steve’s race for the State Assembly (http://www.youtube.com/teampoizner#p/u/9/4Do21WmK3o4).

      In 2006, he continued his hard stance on illegal immigration and made his opposition to driver licenses for illegal immigrants part of his platform. Steve has never advocated for amnesty.

      Unlike Whitman, Steve has always been very engaged in public service and examining issues. Recently, he took his third trip to the U.S.-Mexico border. The first visit was as a White House fellow in 2002 and just last year, Steve went to the Calexico border crossing.”

  2. avatar Ernie Konnyu says:

    Oh! For the times when our Republican candidates followed then Governor Reagan’s 11-th commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican!” Carly and Tom have done it but EMeg and Steve haven’t.

    As Calbuzz suggests EMeg, as the likely winner, will have one hell of a self-repair job on her hands after June 8. I suspect every voter will end up by Labor Day memorizing, whether they want to or not, EMegs absolutely lovely mom letter or it’s tv version. Oh well! She’s got the money for it and at least that’ll be a pleasent start.

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