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Archive for 2015



Christie to GOP: Don’t Write Me Off Yet

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

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SACRAMENTO — Speaking to the fervent believers of the California Republican Party on Saturday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie offered a muted paean to Ronald Reagan and presented himself as a humble but “passionate guy” who doesn’t fight just for the sake of fighting.

Faced with a choice of offering hot rhetoric to the crowd inside the hall or appealing to a broader, national audience, he chose the latter, presenting himself as a reasonable conservative (despite his well-earned reputation as a loudmouth bully) who would fight for principle and tell the people hard truths.

Specifics about those truths were absent in the address to the state Republican convention at the Hyatt Regency. Instead of policy, he offered personality, portraying himself as a sensitive son of a Sicilian mother and Italian father which made him “an expert at dispute resolution all of my life.”

He also told the story – oft-repeated throughout his career — of being told by his dying mother to go back to work because “there’s nothing left unsaid between us,” which brought tears and sighs from some in the audience. And his pledge to “fight for the fights that are worth fighting for” drew cheers.

It was an interesting bit of political ju-jitsu, trying to exchange his boorish persona for a softer image more befitting the avuncular, chuckling image of a sepia-toned Reagan.

At a time when he has declined dramatically, both in national and New Jersey polling, Christie was in California to revive his relevance, among activists and donors.

The most important message he had for California Republicans was not to line up behind a flavor-of-the-week candidate yet, noting that Reagan did not vanquish George H.W. Bush in the Republican presidential primary until May 1980.

“Take a deep breath everybody,” he said. “It’s 21 months until the election of our next president.”

GOP Confab Highlight: Condi Drinking Game

Friday, February 27th, 2015

condoleezza_rice_605_nflTony V has totally wimped out on California’s Senate race, leaving state political writers in desperate need of a story — and reduced to downing shots each time someone says, “I wish Condi would run” at this weekend’s Republican convention.

Sad but true: as the Calbuzz National Affairs and Social Activities Desk heads to Sacramento for the Republican’s twice-yearly celebration of bolo ties and geriatric activism, GOP fantasy figure and ex-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice represents the last, dire hope for them – and us! – to make the 2016 Senate election something other than a coronation for the state attorney general, Queen Kamala Harris.

As loyal readers know, Condi led the recent Field Poll of possibles to replace the retiring Barbara Boxer. Unless you’re just now waking up with a blackout hangover after celebrating the Seahawk’s historic Super Bowl choke job (ha!) for the last four weeks, you also probably know she has absolutely no intention of running.

Having signaled in every possible way her utter lack of interest in grassroots efforts to draft her for the gig, short of planting a sign on the 13th green at Pebble Beach, Condi seems content to wallow in her cushy sinecure at Stanford, instead of achieving, in one swell foop, the task of restoring Republicans to relevance in California.

Or, more importantly, in stepping up to do her duty to humanity, by helping out a couple of aging hacks yearning for one more good campaign to cover, before we go gently into that good night. Sniffle.

Witch. Why would she start caring about humanity now?

High atop the convention floor: While Kamala’s busy checking fabric and carpet swatches for her new digs in the Hart Senate Office Building this weekend, Dr. P.J. Hackenflack will oversee our vast convention staff as they work day and night to dig out answers to the five crucial questions at this weekend’s convention:

Former Sen. Jim Brulte visits the Capitol Bureau.1-Will Brulte get flagged for “excessive celebration”? Since taking over as state GOP chair two years ago, Jim Brulte has done everything he said he’d do: paid off the party’s massive debt, restored it to the black and denied Democrats two-thirds majorities in the Legislature, while beginning to nudge Republicans back into the mainstream and out of the Twilight Zone of social issue obsessions. Brulte’s Saturday morning meeting with the press corps is almost always the best event at the convention, and if he doesn’t win a new term by acclamation, grassroots Reeps are even dumber than we think.

2-Will your Calbuzzards once again be the youngest people at the convention? Brulte’s done a good job of recruiting more women and minority candidates – admittedly, not all that hard, given how low the bar was to start with – but we’re still looking for the day the average age at one of these affairs falls below 85. Oh sure, there’s the loud, obnoxious College Republican drunks, but those guys couldn’t stagger through a precinct without falling down on the sidewalk; even their legendary hero, Jon Fleischman, is seriously starting to show his age.

chris-christie-dou_2473051b3-Will Chris Christie fit through the double doors of the ballroom? New Jersey Governor, and quickly fading presidential wannabe, Chris Christie is what passes for the big name at the event, but given his recent embarrassing legal defeat over efforts to cut pensions in the Garden State, he might better spend his time sneaking across L Street from the Hyatt Regency to the Capitol, for a sit-down with Jerry Brown on how to manage public finances. Yeah, yeah, we know he’s lost weight – and God forbid we would ever take a cheap shot at somebody for being fat – but word on the street is that hotel management has its carpentry department on call, should they need to knock out a wall to squeeze Mr. Beef into the Regency Foyer.

mialove4-Will immigration officials bust up Mia Love’s speech? The Saturday night keynoter is freshman Rep. Mia Love of Utah, a Haitian-American Mormon woman whom Republicans point to as evidence they’re taking diversity seriously. Love was elected last fall in a gerrymandered district after the local political press failed to follow up hard on allegations of felony hypocrisy brought forth by Mother Jones reporter Stephanie Mencimer, who disclosed the fundamental contradiction between Love’s round-‘em-up-and-move-‘em-out immigration stance and her very complicated family history. Anchor babies aweigh.

5-Who’s the press corps champ? The weekend’s big competitive contest will focus on who’s the last to face-plant in the guacamole in the Great Condoleeza Rice Drinking Game. Handicapping the field, it’s clear that Hearst Chron ranter Debra Saunders, ex-state GOP chair Bob Naylor and Dr. Sherry Bebitch Jeffe of KNBC are the early favorites. Betting tip: never lay money in a drinking game against someone with a PhD.

antonionewyorkerFirst we thought he wouldn’t, then we thought he would, now we just don’t care: As for the aforementioned dog-ass Tony V, aka former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the less said the better.

After doing a Dianne Feinstein-worthy Dance of the Seven Veils over whether to run for weeks, hanging out close associates by having them tell reporters it was a done deal and self-importantly basking in media attention as the world awaited his monumental decision, Tony simply chickened out.

Count us among those who won’t bite the next time he tries this, most likely a Hamlet play over whether to challenge Prince Gavin for governor in 2018. Take a hike, loser.

(Editor’s note: Due to an onset of utter idiocy, a draft version of this column containing some shady information was stupidly posted early yesterday for about five hours. We regret the error, along with many other matters in our lives).