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Meyer Bids eMeg Bye-Bye; Tales of the Apocalypse

Nov6

Way back in February, one of Tom Meyer’s first Calbuzz cartoons offered a behind-the-scenes look at eMeg Headquarters, where Herself was working to wipe out Republican primary opponent Steve Poizner with a little bit of eBay gamesmanship:

“Only one bidder – crush him!” Meyer’s Meg mulled, in the little thought balloon our guy thoughtfully provided above her cabbage patch head.

So it’s only fitting that in sending her on her way, after Krusty opened up a can of wupass on her on Tuesday, Meyer again finds Meg hunkered down in the  Fortress of eBay Solitude, outraged that her online auction site let her down, leaving her without the item she coveted so much that she outbid everyone else a hundred fold, give or take a couple of zeroes.

In the end, Meg was left to ponder one of life’s hoariest lessons –there are just some things that money can’t buy. And so, in parting,  Calbuzz has two pieces of advice for the future: Next time (1): Try the Automatic Bidding System.

And, as pundits across the nation have fun with numbers in trying to make sense of what a breathtaking sum was actually flushed down the rat hole spent, Calbuzz also notes that on Election Day, Our Meg’s vote total fell only 325,380 short of that rung up by the Yes-on-19 forces seeking to legalize pot in California. So next time (2): Try “re-introducing” yourself to the voters of Humboldt County; chances are they missed you the first time around.

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Back before the Earth cooled: Our World Exclusive posting of Jerry Brown’s legendary “Apocalypse Brown” tape from the 1980 presidential race generated a couple of terrific recollections from old school players in California politics who were on the scene for Moonbeam’s Meltdown.

This from SacBee star columnist Dan Walters:

The only tape of that night in Madison that I previously knew existed is in the hands of Bobbie Metzger, who was Brown’s campaign flack in Wisconsin, and she’s been reluctant to share it because Brown looks so loopy. I spent that week in Wisconsin with Jerry and the night before the Madison debacle (a press corps colleague) and I got drunk with August Coppola in bar of Phister Hotel in Milwaukee because August said he’d buy all the drinks if we drank his favorite potion, which was Glenfiddich scotch.

After I crawled – literally – to my room, the other two went across the street to another bar and reportedly got into fisticuffs with some locals…On the next day’s van trip to Madison, (one impaired reporter) called it a “technological tour de force” in his piece as everyone else, including yours truly, was panning it as a disaster…

Bernie Goldberg of CBS did a snide piece that declared it to be Jerry’s “Apocalypse Right Now,” which made the candidate livid with rage. After he heard about it, he found the only CBS-connected person around, Linda Douglas of LA’s Channel 2, and screamed at her on the campaign bus to the vast amusement of everyone. It was a demonstration of Brown’s usually hidden mercurial nature. When he gets angry he just loses it.

Back to the event itself: It was, indeed, a political recreation, intentionally or not, of the famous scene in Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now,” in which the main characters in the boat come across a US military base during an USO show in which Bill Graham is warming up the audience for the entertainment, including scantily clad women, with helicopters overhead and burning barrels supplying the otherwordly light.

Bill Graham did warm up the crowd in Madison; there were burning barrels and a helicopter overhead (with a TV camera). But instead of a fetid jungle there was a snowstorm in Madison that night and instead of chorus girls we had Jerry in an oversized trench coat that someone lent him. I watched it from just in front of the stage but also watched it simultaneously on a TV monitor, so I could see the technological disaster unfold as you described.

And this from long-time Democratic operative Richard Ybarra, who was working for Brown’s campaign:

I haven’t seen this since the night it aired on all three networks statewide in Wisconsin. It was indeed a fascinating evening and event. At that time I ran Jerry’s Madison campaign operation.  A few factoids for history’s sake:

- In order to build the crowd – our 140 something Brown volunteers handed out 90,000 flyers – doing the entire downtown and residential area as well as the UW campus numerous times.

-  Coppola asked us to have the crowd “not wear” any campaign paraphernalia or wave any signs (something about future usage of footage)

- August brought about a 1000 cassette tapes to the office and said we should distribute them to people on street corners and bus stops so they could listen to them as did people in France when a guy named Khomeini was getting ready to take back Iran. Then he brought 10,000 posters about 10 pm the night before the event and asked us to distribute them overnight – I excused our team by telling him, “they don’t have a union bug.”

- The set building went on for several days and created quite a stir.

-   Legendary concert promoter Bill Graham did a pre-event light show and soup kitchen before the event

- Temperature was an ugly, windy 27 degree evening

-  I thought I would learn something about event planning that night – I did!

The set looked so grand when Jerry walked from capital to the stage. As Jerry walked up the stairs I went around the side towards the front. I was amazed that on the built-in podium I did not see the microphone.

Then Jerry started to speak – first 20 seconds there was no sound – Graham and Jacques Barzaghi were standing right in front of Jerry with a gunny sack like cover (to keep wind off mic). I yelled to Jacques to give Jerry the hand held that Graham had been using – he handed it up to Jerry who held it for rest of speech. He delivered a heck of a speech but as you’ve pointed out the tech gaffes were overwhelming.

During the speech two cameras went out and did not have back up bulbs and a third, helicopter view, was radioed away due to its big noise!

Coppola was very disappointed. Jerry took it in stride.

That night was the biggest media corps that we saw in Wisconsin  and it was carried on all three networks.

Jerry ran well in Madison where he won his only national delegate, State Rep David Clarendon.

In our crowd promotion of the event the lines were “Jerry Brown and Francis Ford Coppola – the biggest thing since the Godfather!”

The next morning after breakfast and walking Jerry to the car, taking him to the airport, Jacques Barzaghi and I were on the curb in Milwaukee. He asked in his French accent, “what do you think we should do now?”

“After seeing the voters in Maine, New Hampshire and Wisconsin I think Jerry needs to get better known by Main Street America. Voters like to believe they know their president.”

Jacques said, “I don’t think we need to do that…”

Ronald Reagan became president.

A final word: Robert B. Gunnison, the only journalist in America whose byline is a complete sentence in Ebonics,  recalls being on the trail with Brown the same year:

One of my favorite Jerry Brown moments ever came in New Hampshire in 1980. He was asked by a radio reporter for his position of legalizing marijuana. Jerry asked him if he was with an AM or FM station.

Brown in 2012!


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