The new Meg Whitman TV ad featuring Bill Clinton attacking Jerry Brown in one of their 1992 presidential campaign debates is compelling stuff that – whether it’s accurate or not — could have a powerful impact on whether independents and younger voters see Brown as honest.
You have to consider the source, of course. The charge is made by President Bubba who looked America in the eye and said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” But even if he’s a proven liar, Clinton remains popular with a lot of Californians.
So using Clinton as a third-party validator is killer effective. And the fact is Brown didn’t do a great job of refuting Clinton’s charges during that 1992 debate, though the evidence suggests that the CNN report Clinton cited was off the mark and that, in fact, Brown lowered taxes when he was governor exclusive of the effects of Proposition 13.
Whitman’s (and Clinton’s) evidence is a report by CNN’s Brooks Jackson; Brown’s claim that taxes were cut by about $16 billion during his tenure (not counting Prop. 13) cites the 1981 Economic Report of the Governor from the California Department of Finance.
But this is a political knife fight, not a dinner party. And the Clinton ad is a sharp stab in Brown’s throat. We have already decried the Death of Truth and no one should expect Mike Murphy and his Army of eMeggers to pay much attention to niggling details. That’s not what he’s getting paid $90,000 a month for.
The Brown camp’s response is simple: “The CNN report was wrong when Bill Clinton cited it and it’s wrong now. The tax burden was lower when Jerry Brown left office than it was before he took office, not counting Proposition 13,” said Brown flack Sterling Clifford.
Weak sauce. Better they should get Clinton to cut an ad supporting Brown and talking about how democracy would be ill served by electing someone who used her position in a major corporation to score IPOs that she flipped for a huge profit – before the practice became illegal.
But don’t hold your breath.
Carly all Koch-ed up: Hurricane Carly Fiorina is the latest conservative beneficiary of the political largesse of David and Charles Koch, the low-profile oil and gas magnates who are among the richest men in America – and who have quietly contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to the activities of the Tea Party and other right-wing and libertarian organizations.
Koch (pronounced “coke”) Industries PAC is among the major sponsors of a fundraiser the National Republican Senatorial Committee is tossing for Fiorina in Washington on September 23 to boost her campaign against incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer in a race that may prove decisive in the battle for control of the Senate.
In California, the Kochs also have become active in the campaign to pass Proposition 23, which would suspend the state’s greenhouse gas emissions law. A subsidiary of their company contributed $1 million to the Prop. 23 effort last week , on the same day that Fiorina announced she also was supporting the initiative.
The Kochs own the second-largest privately held company in the nation. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are the only Americans worth more than the brothers’ combined fortune of $35 billion, according to “Covert Operations – the billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama,” Jane Mayer’s superb 10,000-word investigation of them published in the August 30 issue of the New Yorker.
The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States.
And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.” The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.
The previously minmially-reported political influence activities of the Kochs have drawn considerably more attention since Mayer’s expose. Dan Morain reported in his SacBee column this week, for example, how their money played a huge role in passing California’s 1990 term limits law, and also underwrote an initiative effort to get voters to approve education vouchers in the state.
One of their latest projects is Americans for Prosperity, a group that has helped fund the tea party movement nationally, and has pushed candidates to sign a “No climate tax pledge.”
Several California Republicans have signed the pledges, including Rep. Wally Herger of Chico, Rep. Tom McClintock of Elk Grove, state Sen. Jess Denham, seeking a congressional seat from Merced, and Doug LaMalfa, a candidate for the California state Senate from Richvale.
Should make for some interesting exchanges when Fiorina and Boxer meet for their just-scheduled second debate on September 29.
At that event, Calbuzz dearly hopes that Fiorina seizes the opportunity to connect her critique of Boxer’s views on the economy with the mental state of Marcus Stanley, Babs’ former “senior economic adviser,” whom she swiftly fired this week after he was busted bringing weed into the Capitol.
As one prominent Carly backer put it: “Republicans are always saying you’d have to be smoking something to think the stimulus was a success and it turns out, we were right: Her economic adviser was!”
Politico has a round up of lame Boxer pot jokes – “It does stunt your growth and clearly something made her 4 feet tall” – here.