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Fishwrap: Carly & Dee Dee Meet Tony & John

Jul15

News that the National Republican Senatorial Committee has appointed Carly Fiorina, the articulate and widely-reviled former Hewlett Packard CEO, as their latest vice-chairperson (i.e. fund-raiser), had to have sent national Democrats into convulsive giggles.

“I’m pleased to welcome my friend Carly Fiorina to the NRSC team, where her many business and civic achievements will make her an invaluable leader and fundraiser during this critical election cycle,” said NRSC Chairman Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. “I look forward to working with Carly to elect strong Republican Senators who will finally put a stop to President Obama’s failed tax-and-spend agenda, and instead promote the economic growth and job creation Americans so badly need.”

“Carly Fiorina laid off thousands and outsourced good American jobs overseas, but that didn’t stop national Republicans from investing millions in her campaign, which she lost by double digits, or hiring her today,” replied the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “Republicans are not only working to protect tax breaks for millionaires, but they’re also finding them jobs.”

You gotta love the irony in sending Hurricane Carly out as the symbol of job creation and economic growth — she who vigorously defended shipping thousands of HP jobs abroad and who allied herself so thoroughly with the Tea Party that she found herself far to the right of mainstream California voters. How else do you lose to Barbara “Rosa Luxemburg” Boxer?

The NRSC thought they had a winner with Fiorina when they recruited her to run against Babs. And she did raise $16 million. But as fund-raising sidekick to Utah’s Sen. Orrin Hatch, it’s hard to imagine that an unlikable political dilettante who lost to Boxer — even if she was CEO of a major corporation — will do much for the GOP outside of its reliable base.

Next up: Jerry Brown hires Frank McCourt as consultant for Department of Finance.

Press Clips: Long before Dee Dee Myers became famous, back in the dinosaur swamp days when she was assistant press secretary for the Walter Mondale campaign in California and later flacking Dianne Feinstein for governor and spinning sweet lies about Frank Jordan’s alleged qualifications to be mayor of San Francisco, the Calbuzz Talent Scouting and Many Thanks to All the Little People Who Helped Me on the Way Up Platitudes Department recognized her uncommon aptitude and flair for the hardball skills and subtle arts of practical politics.

Who knew she was a policy genius too?

Proof positive that this is so arrives in the form of her most recent essay over at Politico, a reflection on political class warfare in America, which not only is thoughtful, insightful and well-reported but, most crucially, agrees entirely with our own view on the subject, which therefore makes it the hands-down winner of the Little Pulitzer for Investigative Punditry.

Myers, who secured her future as a gold star member of the Beltway chattering class with adept White House press secretary service for Bubba, provides the clear and factual basis of her argument – irrefutable, at least to those who, unlike Norquist-Fleischman Republicans,  live in what you might call fact-based reality – high up in her yarn:

This is the conversation conservatives don’t want to have.

It’s indisputable that the gap between the rich and everyone else in this country has grown dramatically. The top 1 percent of Americans now take home nearly a quarter of all income and control more than 40 percent of the country’s wealth — roughly the same amount as the bottom 90 percent.

It’s also indisputable that that gap has gotten far bigger in the past 25 years. In the past decade alone, the wealthiest percentile has seen its income grow by a robust 17 percent, while the middle class has seen its real income fall.

What could possibly account for such gross distortions? Are the superwealthy really that much smarter and productive than the rest of us? Are the organic veggies and hormone-free meat that affluent parents feed their children paying off?

Or could it be something else?

How about the tax structure? The 400 Americans with the highest adjusted gross income saw their effective tax rates plummet from 30 percent in 1995 to 17 percent in 2007.

That’s not according to some left-wing think tank. It comes from a recent cover story in Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Old news, perhaps (except to that tiny portion of the population that inexplicably does not begin its reading day here) but Dee Dee goes on to  condense all the gravitas and data of the matter into an easy-to-remember and easy-on-the-ears turn of phrase.

So the dirty little secret is that the pool man, who’s making $30,000 a year, is subsidizing the million-dollar mortgage for the family whose pool he cleans. No wonder people want to get rid of tax breaks for corporate jets.

Too bad there’s not a Democratic president to make use of such populist poetry.

Remap follies: We were downright annoyed when we heard the (all rise) California Citizens Redistricting Commission had decided just to blow off the last few innings of the process they themselves devised for redrawing the state’s political maps .

Wussup with that, we thought, whatever happened to transparency and sticking to your promises?

We grew even more concerned when our friend Tony Quinn ripped the commission’s controversial decision not to release a second version of their new maps. While it’s true that Quinn’s frequent complaints about the commission are laden with a more-than-healthy dose of narrow self-interest, he nontheless did set forth a tough-minded indictment.

But even as the droids and druids of the state GOP started moving to follow Quinn’s recommendation “to move redistricting to an impartial judiciary,” by threatening a lawsuit against the commission, we were suddenly brought back to our senses by the level-headed analysis aimed at the whole mess by John Wildermuth, the very soul of common sense.

Not surprisingly, the commission has had plenty of bumps in the road, many of them highlighted, if not arranged, by Democratic and Republican partisans, who have a vested interest in derailing any non-partisan redistricting effort.

Still, the commission held well-attended hearings across the state, put out a set of draft maps for public review in June and then held another round of statewide meetings to hear the inevitable complaints about those proposed district lines. Now they’re racing the clock to deal with those concerns and meet the August deadline for the final maps.

While folks, especially those who find their ox gored, can always complain there wasn’t enough public comment, no one can argue that the public wasn’t more involved in the process this time than they ever were when the Legislature was drawing the maps…

Voters passed Prop. 11 in 2008 because they wanted the political lines for the next decade drawn by ordinary people who were thinking of California first, not politicians concerned with what’s best for their friends, their party or their next job.

The jury’s still out on how that’s going to work out. But if the measure of success is coming up with something better than the Legislature turned out a decade ago, that bar is set none too high.

Calbuzz sez: Amen to that.

Outrage of the week: Sentimental suckers that we are for the pastoral romance of baseball, the smell of new-mown grass, and the thwock of bat on ball, we were delighted with Derek Jeter’s one-for-the-ages 5-for-5 day in achieving his 3,000th hit.

Then came this mess, which is almost enough to turn us into libertarians.

P.S. Speaking of America’s Pastime, we’re still pissed that Pete Rose, who had 4,256 hits in 24 seasons, was not a) kicked out of baseball and then b) installed in the Hall of Fame).


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There is one comment for this post

  1. avatar Sac Economist says:

    Don’t feel alone in your sentiment about the Jeter-Baseball-Good-Samaritan-Tax-Liability “mess”. The local evening TV “news-and-manufactured-outrage” organizations made way too much hay about it on the day the NYT times story broke. Of course everyone is missing the real picture, which is that our outrage is another example of our complete tax/fiscal policy inconsistency (some might say hypocrisy) and knee-jerk hatred of all matters concerning the tax collector.

    In the first place, it’s not certain that Mr. Lopez even has a tax liability yet—the IRS hasn’t come knocking yet and it sounds like it’s not completely certain that they will. Secondly, didn’t he essentially sell the baseball to the Yankees for $50K in merchandise? Would we be so outraged if he sold the baseball for a million or so on eBay? How about if he were a millionaire instead of an average Joe burdened with student loans?

    It brings to mind the Amazon sales tax imbroglio. No one can rationally argue that things bought through Amazon should be tax free—it’s unfair to those who don’t or can’t shop there and to local retailers. But, the idea of getting a deal by cheating the taxman is too seductive and oh so American.

    I am sympathetic to Mr. Lopez’s predicament—an unexpected $14K tax liability would be a crushing financial blow to most of us. Maybe Mr. Jeter could spare 0.027% of his $51 million contract or the Yankees could spare 0.003% of their $441 million revenues.

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