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Archive for 2010



Fishwrap: Jerry Gets Cosmic, Meg Prez Fever Grows

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

There are doubtless many reasons why Meg Whitman won’t accept Jerry Brown’s invite to 10 town halls around the state – strategy, scheduling and skittishness, for starters.

While she’s now agreed to one cheesy debate a couple weeks before the election, eMeg’s unwillingness to commit to more clearly derives from the knowledge that, in a sustained series of match-ups, she’s simply got no answer for Brown’s Zen Jesuit epistemological style.

Which was on full display the day after the primary in an interview conducted by ABC’s Diane Sawyer who, among other things, elicited this improvisational analysis of the deeper meaning of politics:

Well, at the end of the day, what really is this all about? The fundamental quest is: How do we touch our spirituality? How do we touch that innermost part of our being? And how are we open to that same thing in other people?

That’s the intimacy, the spirituality, that you don’t normally find in politics.But it’s the other side. After everything quiets down, you’re still yourself. And there’s still life and death. When I was studying in Japan, before you’d mediate … in the evening, someone would hit a block a few times. And then someone would intone: ‘Life and death is a serious matter. Time waits for no man. Do your best.’ And that, I think, could be the spirit of this campaign.

Or not.

When does eMeg leave for Iowa? Lost amid the well deserved criticism Brown is taking over the comparison he drew between Whitman and Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels are some other comments he made during his “jogging talk” conversation with Doug Sovern of KCBS:  his recycling of the Calbuzz theory that eMeg’s pursuit of the governorship is really about her desire to be president.

She wants to be president. That’s her ambition, the first woman president. That’s what this is all about.

For those who want in on the ground floor of this deal, there’s already a Meg Whitman for President 2012 (four years too early in our view) Facebook page. Remember you read it here first.

Politics of pensions: To date, Brown has spent much time talking about issues that are of great interest to him – town hall meetings, Meg’s massive financial advantage in the campaign, his alleged roots in the “mean streets” of Oakland  – but not so much about things that might actually affect actual voters – say, jobs, the economy or some specific ideas for dealing with the sorry state of the state’s finances.

On the latter point, Brown at some stage is going to have find a way to address the festering problem of public employee pensions: while his allies in labor would no doubt much prefer that he didn’t, there is growing resentment about the disconnect between the cushy retirement benefits that many government workers receive and the cat food prospects  available to what you like to call your ordinary people.

Exhibit A: voters this week in San Francisco – the only city where people actually like paying taxes – approved a ballot measure that requires increased contributions from new public workers and that begins to address the scandal of “spiking” pensions by which benefits are pegged to  often inflated salaries earned in the last year on the job.

Governor Schwarzmuscle has already made pension reform a centerpiece of this year’s budget battle, ensuring it will be a high-profile issue for months, at a time when reporters around the state – most notably Dan Borenstein and Ed Mendel – keep churning out reporting on excesses, and eMeg hammers on the problem every time she gives a speech.

That’s not to mention the related outrage that many labor agreements detailing pension benefits are top secret in jurisdictions around the state, as noted by the First Amendment Coalition:

Public unions in California turned distrustful of voters and ambivalent about government transparency. In the mid-1990s unions backed improvements to the Brown Act, California’s open meeting law, but also inserted a provision assuring that the public would have no access to collective bargaining agreements negotiated by cities and counties—often representing 70% or more of their total operating budgets—until after the agreements are signed.

What happens when voters and the press have no opportunity to question elected officials about how they propose to pay for a lower retirement age, health care for retirees’ dependents, richer pension formulas and the like? The officials make contractual promises that are unaffordable, unsustainable (and, in general, don’t come due until after those elected officials have left office). In the case of Vallejo, in northern California, this veil of secrecy, and the symbiotic relationship it fosters, has led to municipal bankruptcy.

Memo to Jerry: Add pensions to “Jogging Talk” file.

Press Clips: Don’t miss Tony Quinn’s excellent analysis of the right-wing’s historic primary losses. Karen Tumulty is worth reading on why CEOs struggle as electeds. Dan Walters takes the first stab at sorting out the Meg-Jerry exchange on Brown’s first incarnation budget record.

John Myers cuts to the heart of the eMeg-Krusty leadership argument. Lance Williams offers a post-Prop. 14 historic look at non-partisan voting in California. Rep. Anthony Wiener gets gored by a goat.

eMeg vs. Krusty: The Empire Strikes First

Friday, June 11th, 2010

For those keeping score at home: Meg Whitman’s Imperial Troopers staged a strong, focused and coordinated offensive march Thursday, while Jerry Brown and his Rebel Alliance scrapped and scraped to hang in against her lavishly financed campaign operation.

It was an early test of how Democrat Brown’s who-needs-consultants guerrilla strategy matches up in the governor’s race against Republican Whitman’s top-shelf marketing machine, as Team eMeg quickly put Team Krusty in a defensive posture while he spent the day responding to her aggressive, out-of-the-box tactical moves.

While the GOP candidate herself enjoyed a triumphant Silicon Valley homecoming rally, chief strategist Mike Murphy published a trenchant essay setting forth his frame for the general election, as the Whitman communications staff spent the day throwing marbles in front of Brown while unveiling her first TV ad of the campaign.

Not surprisingly, it was a positive spot, as eMeg needs to spend time and money reviving her battered image from the damage sustained during her thunder-to-the-right brawl with defeated GOP rival Steve Poizner. But by emphasizing her promise to focus on creating jobs, she also struck first to claim the top concern of voters in recession-wracked California.

California Labor Federation communications director Steve Smith reacted angrily on Brown’s behalf calling it “patently offensive that a billionaire like Whitman would even suggest she understands what families that have been devastated by unemployment are going through.”

“Meg Whitman’s life of wealth and privilege means she’s never had to worry about losing her home, paying household bills or affording to put her kids through college,” he said in a statement. “We need real solutions to the jobs crisis, not slick sound bites that fit neatly into a 30-second TV ad. And we certainly don’t need a billionaire telling our state’s unemployed that she understands the ‘human cost’ of joblessness.”

On eMeg’g behalf,  Sarah Palin contributed a televised  gratuitous shot to Brown’s shorts:

I guess I don’t have enough grace to apply to Jerry Brown when he says he isn’t going to be one for taxing Americans…I guess I don’t have enough grace to say “Hey Jerry, I believe ya.

Brown manager Steve Glazer immediately grabbed hold of Palin’s cheap shot for a web video pitch for money , while Brown’s labor pals  used their  Independent Expenditure committee to mock Whitman’s disgraceful voting record and the great man himself took a swing at Her Megness for her royal style:

The path forward is going to be honesty, not pamphlets and consultants’ scripted propaganda, but straight talk. Not flying around in private planes in a bubble of security guards and people protecting you every moment.

But as a new overnight poll showed the candidates tied (no surprise since Whitman no doubt got a bump out of all the fawning election election night coverage) the thinness in the ranks of Brown’s operation showed itself, as the candidate found himself exchanging charges with Sarah Pompei, eMeg’s press secretary, who’s three levels removed from her principal.

Confronted by reporters with Whitman’s quite legitimate charge that he hasn’t issued any specifics about his plan for the state, even on his website,  Krusty the General responded with a whining wheeze about being outspent:

“Hey, she has spent about $1 million dollars on her website, we have spent about $20,000 so I am running to catch up,” he said leaving a big opening for the volcanic Pompei to bitch slap him on behalf of her boss:

Despite having a $20 million campaign war-chest and the profits from his family’s oil fortune at his disposal, Governor Brown implied that he didn’t have enough money to put any new ideas on his website.  It’s ridiculous.  After 40 years in politics, it’s not surprising that Jerry Brown’s excuses are more specific, creative and innovative than his policy proposals are.

It was only one day in a long campaign but, after Brown’s shop-worn, John McCain-like call for 10 town hall meetings the day before, it demonstrated the extent to which the Democrat’s innate cheapness and stubborn contempt for campaign handlers can leave him in the free-fire zone against the Legions of Meg.

Memo to Jerry: It’s not 1974, and Meg ain’t Houston Flournoy.

(Memo to Jerry II: She’s also not Joseph Goebbels, Goebbels? Really? Goebbels? Nazi references in the governor’s race: Way, way over the line).

Luckily for Krusty, California Working Families, the labor-union-Ron Burkle-independent committee has a clean hit on Meg queued up and ready to run on Monday, reminding voters that Whitman has only a passing acquaintance with voting, can’t really explain why, and now is spending $150 million to get your vote.

Remind me again why they call her “Hurricane”? Having jammed one foot squarely into her mouth barely 24 hours after winning the Republican Senate primary, Carly Fiorina waited only a few hours to plug the other one into her pie hole, too.

As we noted Wednesday, iCarly put on a remarkable open mic diva act while awaiting an interview with KXTV, providing a splendid view to the state – indeed, the nation! -of her self-regarding arrogance and smugness, as the tape quickly debuted on the gab fests of the cable news shows.

Not content with having insulted Sister Meg’s “bizarre…bad choice” to go on Sean Hannity’s show (though not quite as bizarre as Fiorina’s own behavior) and meowed about Barbara Boxer’s hair, Hurricane Carly decided to do a little damage control by trooping over to Greta Van Sustern’s show shortly after to explain that it was all someone else’s fault.

See it wasn’t really Carly trashing Babs’s hair (BTW, wussup  with the “soooo yesterday” anyway? “Carly Fiorina – the only Valley Girl running for the United States Senate.” But we digress). No, she was just passing on something somebody else had said:

“I was quoting a friend of mine,” she told Greta, trying to laugh the whole thing off. Ha, ha, ha.

Sure l’affaire de hair is a silly little trifle. Beyond the clear evidence it provides that she’s constitutionally unable to stop flapping her gums, however, Fiorina’s gaffe on the first day of her campaign also is a perfect example of one of the character flaws most cited by her critics back at Hewlett Packard: her inability to take responsibility for her actions and her knee jerk reaction of pointing the finger at someone else.

Should be an interesting campaign.

Prop 14 redux: Check out this map from the Secretary of State’s web site showing the geographical breakdown of the vote on Proposition 14, the controversial “Top Two” election reform. Looks like everyone in the state who thinks that the partisan dysfunction in Sacramento is just swell – the commies in the People’s Republic of San Francisco and the right-wing royalists in the Kingdom of Orange – voted for it, while voters in the other 56 counties thought, what the hell, why not try something new.

Chicken eMeg Ducks; Primary Winners and Losers

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

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.

Final score:

Good guys 2,015,297   $  0.04 per vote.
Bad guys 1,830,278   $ 25.13 per vote.

Mwahaha.

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).

How “San Francisco Democrats” Could Hurt Brown

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

It speaks volumes that Meg Whitman’s first public appearance as the Republican nominee for governor will be a joint event with the GOP’s other statewide candidates while Jerry Brown plans to hold a rally of one.

California has scant history of campaigns that feature major party candidates running in tandem with down-ticket nominees, but last night’s results on the Democratic side offer eMeg plenty of reasons to try to tie Krusty the General closely to some of his party colleagues.

With all the money in the world to run multiple campaign themes, don’t be surprised if Whitman constructs a narrative that appeals to independent voters and underscores her attack lines on Brown, by identifying him as the leader of a statewide ticket of Bay Area Democratic liberals.

With such a gambit, eMeg could try to frame the election as a choice between an outside challenger (her) and a California political status quo dominated by arrogant and ineffective lefties (Jerry and his Kids) whom she portrays as weak on taxes, soft on crime, permissive on illegal immigration and in the thrall of public employee unions.

The notion recalls the 1984 presidential race, when President Ronald Reagan was nominated for a second term at a convention that rocked with raucous bashing of “San Francisco Democrats,” who had nominated the ill-fated Walter Mondale in that city a month earlier.

“It’s a very plausible strategy,” said one top Republican consultant. “That’s what I would do if I was running against Jerry,” chimed in a Democratic statewide strategist. “Duh,” said another.

The basics were suggested weeks ago, by Democratic political consultant (and Jerry Brown hater) Garry South, who argued that his client for Lite Gov — Janice Hahn — would be a better “running mate” for Brown than South’s former client, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a liberal white male who’d be a drag on Brown statewide.

As a political matter, Whitman would certainly have raw material to work with:

– Newsom, the lieutenant governor nominee, is known statewide for his sneering “whether they like it or not” comment, flung at foes in his role as the High Priest of Gay Marriage, not to mention the anything-goes values and left-wing politics associated with his city around the state.

– San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, the attorney general nominee, is not only embroiled in a scandal involving the city’s drug lab which has threatened  prosecutions in hundreds of drug cases, but also the architect of a decision not to seek the death penalty in the high profile case of a cop killer, among other controversies.

– U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, since beginning her career in Marin County, has long been a vivid symbol of California liberalism, a three-term incumbent with a reputation for arrogance that went on full display in her now-famous dressing down of a military leader for not addressing her as “Senator” during a public hearing.

And that’s not to mention U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco liberal conservatives love to hate (often with absolutely no rationale.)

The Bay Area lefties strategy, of course, carries considerable risks, as well as opportunities.

For starters, Democrats still dominate Republicans in voter registration statewide, and President Obama remains very popular in California, two factors that could make the move backfire. A majority of independents appear, also, to identify with Democrats more often than with Republicans on many issues.

For another thing, while Whitman might be quick to frame Brown and the Democrats as a purported “ticket,” she would likely be loathe to invite comparisons with the Republican slate, which at times bears resemblance to the bar scene in Star Wars:

Lite Gov nominee Abel Maldonado has a well-earned reputation as a flip-flopping wiggler who is hardly a beloved figure among his own party; Attorney General candidate Steve Cooley was assailed by GOP primary rivals for being soft on Three Strikes prosecutions and Senate candidate Carly Fiorina is, well, she’s Hurricane Carly and all that implies.

The Dem reply to an attempt to ticketize Jerry’s Kids might well be to cast Carly and Meg together and ask: “Do you want to be represented by a pair of greedy business moguls who would take away your right to choose, cut pensions for cops, firefighters and teachers and turn back the clock on global warming?”

To be sure, some political professionals just don’t think the ticket strategy works in California.

“That assumes the whole ticket effect and I don’t buy that for California,” said one prominent GOP consultant. “Guilt by association, the boogie man – I don’t think is going to be effective with voters.”

On the other hand, we’ve never seen what you can do with an unlimited campaign budget, have we?

Top Ads & the Return of the Calbuzz Election Pool

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Although California’s big statewide races seem headed for what you call your anti-climatic conclusions, there’s still plenty of, um, drama in today’s primary voting.

With our long statewide nightmare almost over, Calbuzz understands that you’re rightfully worried that you’ll fall asleep in front of the TV, drifting off in the recliner and choking yourself blue on a slice of unchewed election night pizza.

Well worry no more. Just enter the Calbuzz Election Pool and you’ll have a rooting interest that will keep you up until every dang vote has been tallied in the classic Dave Jones-Hector De La Torre match up and it’s clear whether Barbara Alby has kept alive her hopes of winning a full term in the Second District of the Board of Eek.

Send us an email (calbuzzer@gmail.com) with your answers to the six questions below before the polls close and contend for Big Prizes:

1st Place – A free 500 word rant on Calbuzz on subject of your choice and two (2) rare edition Calbuzz Guy-With-Finger-In-the-Socket buttons.
2nd Place – Three (3) rare edition Calbuzz-Guy-With-His-Finger-In-the-Socket buttons.
3rd Prize – Free invite to Our Dinner with eMeg (we’ll let you know the date soon!) and four (4) rare edition Calbuzz-Guy-With-His-Finger-In-The-Socket buttons.

Calbuzz Election Pool Questions

1-Who will finish SECOND in the Democratic primary for governor?

2-Who will finish THIRD in the Republican primary for governor?

3-Who will win the nominations for Lieutenant Governor?
a) Democrat
b) Republican

4-Who will win the nominations for Attorney General?
a) Democrat
b) Republican

5-What will be the voter turnout for the primary?

Tiebreaker: How many votes will Birther Leader Orly Taitz win for Secretary of State?

Deadline: 7:59 p.m. (PDT) Tuesday June 8, 2010.

Free speech isn’t free: Calbuzz is not like all these earnest MSM types who feel compelled to express their faux weariness and outrage at the barrage of negative ads that have filled the airwaves for the past two months, while warning voters there’s no end in sight, sigh, sigh.

We LOVE this stuff, and hope that the nominees start tearing each other’s faces off — in a civil, responsible and respectful way, of course –- the day after the primary.

In the meantime, here’s a list of some of our favorite primary ads you may not have seen:

1-Dale Peterson for Alabama Agriculture Commissioner. If you haven’t seen this one yet, you’ve missed the single greatest ad of the season, if not all time. It’s simply beyond comprehension that Dale finished third in the GOP ag commission contest.

2-Nikki Haley for South Carolina Governor (Inner Monologue edition).  State Rep. Nikki Haley, Tea Party toastee and Sarah Palin galpal, was surging in the GOP primary for governor when not one, but two, good ole boy political consultants in Columbia suddenly confessed to having had affairs with her* while, for good measure, a red neck state senator called her a “raghead” because of her Indian ethnic roots. This ad was her response, with some helpful thought balloons courtesy of Slate.com.

3-Sue Lowden for U.S. Senate, Nevada. Former Nevada state party chair Sue Lowden used to be the front-runner for the Republican nomination to challenge embattled Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, until she suggested that barter might be a better system for getting medical care than health insurance. This IE spot is one of a host of web and broadcast ads that knocked her out of that position.

4-Sharron Angle for U.S. Senate, Nevada. Not sure what’s in the water in Nevada, but Lowden’s fall in the GOP Senate contest was matched by the rise of former state legislator Angle, who’s running with the enthusiastic backing of the Tea Party, despite her support of an unusual prison rehabilitation program based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard.

5-Rick Snyder for Michigan Governor. Far Side adman Fred Davis brought unknown businessman Rick Snyder from nowhere to major contender for the Republican nomination for governor in the Wolverine State in a matter of weeks by turning his weakness into a strength, positioning him as “one tough nerd.”

6-Carly Fiorina for U.S. Senate California. Speaking of Davis, he’s gotten all kinds of notice for the infamous “Demon Sheep” web ad he produced for Fiorina to attack Tom Campbell in the GOP Senate primary, but we feel too much of the attention came at the expense of his auteurship of the much more textured and layered Hidenboxer which came and went so fast it deserves a second look.

7-Linda McMahon for U.S. Senate, Connecticut. This one is still just a little zygote of an ad, but we’re guessing it won’t be long before it’s full-grown. Years before she became the Republican front-runner for the GOP nomination for Senate, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO McMahon toughened herself up by getting tombstoned. After this, Richard Blumenthal is a walk in the park.

8-John McCain for U.S. Senate, Arizona. Facing a Tea Party-backed primary election insurgence from radio talk show host J.D. Hayworth, Big Mac went slightly berserk in presenting his rival as a birther-believing, blood-sucking, dumb-ass champion of man-horse marriage. Love the Lion King stuff.

9-Dwight McKenna for New Orleans Coroner. Longtime New Orleans coroner Frank Minyard’s office was implicated in allegations of illegal sales of body parts a few years back, so it was only natural that challenger Dwight McKenna had little choice politically but to portray the incumbent as a mad scientist waving innards at Igor.

10-Gavin Newsom for Lieutenant Governor (or anything else). Okay, so this one is really a 2008 ad, but if Prince Gavin wins the Democratic nod for Lieutenant Governor, we expect that you’re going to see something very similar to this in the general election. Whether you like it or not.

*L’affaire Nikki, btw, also generated one of our favorite quotes from the primary season, in this Washpost wrap—up of the bizarre contest:

“I don’t know what they served at the annual Silver Elephant Dinner for Republicans,” said Dick Harpootlian, a former state Democratic Party chairman, “but it must’ve been a combination of some hallucinogenic and Viagra in the punch, because they’re rutting like bull elephants.”

General election kickoff: With only 147 days until the Nov. 2 election, here’s a look at the vote reg political landscape the candidates will be navigating.

End Note Prediction: The statement Carly Fiorina will most regret having made: “I absolutely would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade if the opportunity presented itself.” Cited in The New Yorker, 6/7/10.

Don’t forget to vote.