Jerry Brown kicked off his general election campaign for governor by reprising the Call-Meg-Out-to-Debate gambit he played at the California Democratic state convention. And eMeg, true to form, repeated her Chicken Little with a Fat Checkbook routine, refusing to meet Krusty on neutral turf.
So began the race to November: Brown moved to maximize his big advantage as a skillful debater while minimizing her great strength as a world-class spender, as she pooh-poohed his invitation to a series of 10 town hall joint appearances, clearly recognizing the pitch as that of a poor man desperate to substitute free airtime for the countless TV ads only she can afford.
“I’m inviting Meg Whitman to join with me to run a campaign that will put the focus on town halls where each of us in an unscripted manner will discuss our positions and answer questions,” Brown said Wednesday, in a move that echoed his call in April for three-way gubernatorial debates that included the now-vanquished Steve Poizner.
“Let’s tell people how we’ll manage their tax dollars, how we’ll hold down taxes, how we’ll make government work better and more efficiently, how we’ll fix our schools and how we’ll create jobs,” he added.
Whitman ducked and hid behind Mike Murphy’s clown pants while turning the rhetorical tables back on Krusty the General whom, she quite correctly noted, has not laid out plans for managing the state budget, taxes and spending:
“There will be plenty of debates in the future,” Whitman told reporters (hmmm, where have we heard that before?). “But in the present what I recommend to Jerry Brown, instead of playing political games, is to lay out his plan for California.
“His website has virtually nothing on it and he hasn’t told Californians much of anything. I put out a 48-page policy book and detailed the plans that I have to turn California around. I call on Jerry Brown to lay out a plan for California, and then at least we’ll have something to debate about.”
The elbow exchanges began on Tuesday night, within moments of confirmation that they were their parties’ nominees for governor.
“It’s not enough for someone rich and restless to look in the mirror one morning and decide, ‘Hey, it’s time to be governor of California,’” Brown said, in the best line of the night. “We tried that [nudge, nudge, wink, wink Gov. Schwarzmuscle]. It didn’t work. Puffery, platitudes and promises won’t balance our budget, won’t fix our schools and won’t create any new jobs.”
“Career politicians in Sacramento and Washington be warned [take a note Babs],” Whitman replied, joining herself at the hip with U.S. Senate nominee Carly Fiorina. “You now face your worst nightmare; two businesswomen from the real world who know how to create jobs, balance budgets and get things done.”
“Jerry Brown has spent a lifetime in politics and the results have not been good. Failure seems to follow Jerry Brown everywhere,” eMeg added.
God, we love the smell of sniping in the morning.
The bottom line: The Green Eyeshade Division of the Calbuzz Department of Weights and Measures has concluded – after several shots of espresso and rubber covers on our fingertips – that Whitman spent about $90 per vote in the primary while Brown spent about 20 cents per vote. So if the debate going forward is partly about who knows how to wring results out of a scarce dollar, well, you gotta give the edge to Krusty.
Pressing the populist income equality point, Brown flackster Sterling Clifford responded to Meg’s refusal to debate: “Whitman is acting as though she’s the queen of California and wants to be crowned without the need to face her subjects. . .Since Meg Whitman only has a record of not voting, it’s time for her to get out from behind her gilded curtain and engage in a open exchange about how we can get California working again.”
Brown himself got a little steamed when asked about Whitman’s repeated charge that his record shows he would tax and spend too much.
“Look, she wasn’t here most of the time, and she wasn’t voting or paying attention,” he said, a reference to the fact that Whitman has only a passing acquaintance with civic engagement. “When I was governor of California, we built up the largest surplus in history — $4.5 billion. We created 1.9 million jobs. We reduced taxes by billions, OK?”
True that, but when Brown started as governor in January 1975, Whitman was still attending just out of Cold Spring Harbor High School in Long Island and studying at Princeton, where she might have learned about Brown’s tax and spending practices in a class on ancient and medieval history.
Election pool results: The breathtakingly close race for second place in the Democratic primary for governor, matching retired San Diego Realtor Richard Aguirre and Sacramento-based parole board judge Charles “Chuck” Pineda Jr., had our team of polling officials working into the early morning hours Wednesday to determine the election pool winners.
Secretary of State Deborah Bowen reported the photo finish result this way:
Aguirre 71,493 (0.0406288%)
Pineda 71,484 (0.0406237%)
As of noon Wednesday, we hadn’t heard of Pineda calling for a recount, so although these are the unofficial, not- for-the-record-books-not-exactly-final numbers, the Calbuzz Department of Close Enough for Government Work & Election Returns made a command decision to give Aguirre 2nd place for pool purposes. Because, after all, why not?
That said, the winners, with number of Right and Wrong answers are:
1st Place – Brian Kraft 6R 1W
2nd Place – Jeremy Wolf 5R 2W (won tiebreaker*)
3rd Place – Justin Salenik 5R 2W (2nd tiebreaker)
*The tiebreaker question was how many votes birther screwball Orly Taitz would capture in the Secretary of State race. Players were all over the lot on this, with Michael Tamariz estimating a low-ball 7,845 and Andrew Westall and Alex Hirsch both projecting 1.1 million for the widely known whack job. In the end, the demented loon won 359,490 Republican votes. Which is pretty scary, if you think about it.
Thanks to everyone for playing.
Damn the iceberg, I’m in charge here: Speaking of knuckleheads, Chris Matthews made an even bigger fool of himself than usual Tuesday night when he ranted on MSNBC air for several hours about the damage that was going to be inflicted upon the California Republican ticket because GOP voters were about to nominate Taitz – even though GOP voters never came close to nominating her and she badly trailed nominee Damon Dunn all night long, starting with the first vote dump.
Starting well before the polls closed in California at 8 p.m. and continuing until after 9 p.m., Matthews kept putting on a frightful frown to repeatedly raise the subject of Taitz and thunder that she was a “malignancy” for Republicans who was likely to “drag down” Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, as if her nomination was an accomplished fact, rather than the headline on a lazy speculation piece that he’d read on Politico the day before.
Just when it appeared his tweety bird head would surely explode, NBC political director Chuck Todd saved the day by gently pointing out to Matthews that what he was saying lacked what you like to call your factual foundation.
Nonplussed by having uttered utter nonsense for hours, Matthews quickly moved on to his next imaginary opinion.
Unsung heroine: Progressives, populists and all right-thinking people everywhere owe a big Ooh Rah to Gale Kaufman, who worked pro bono managing the David-Goliath upset campaign against Prop. 16.
While Pacific Greed & Extortion Co. spent $46 million of ratepayers money on its cynical scheme to block local governments from contracting for cheap public power around the state, Kaufman had a campaign budget of $90,000 which she expertly deployed to foil the evil corporate plot.
Good guys 2,015,297 $ 0.04 per vote.
Bad guys 1,830,278 $ 25.13 per vote.
We’re just sayin’: Our Department of So Ten Minutes Ago Cliches and Worn Out Slang is calling for a moratorium on the use of the phrase “Game On” in all California political stories between now and the November election. Don’t make us use your names.
Year of the Woman meets Mean Girls: Hurricane Carly, who was bald fercrineoutloud after chemo for breast cancer and got a pass from everyone about her ravaged looks, now has dyed her growback hair black with some greasy product she got at Target and while she’s waiting to do an interview on KXTV in Sacramento, she makes a crack about Barbara Boxer’s hair! (Not to mention her [jealous?] trash talking of eMeg for going on Sean Hannity). CNN has the outtake. This is the kind of stuff that makes her so repulsive to some people (we name no names).