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Archive for the ‘Proposition 23’ Category



Consumer’s Guide to eMeg’s Empire; Debate Round II

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

In a bold attempt to go where no one has gone before, some of Jerry’s Kids, using campaign finance reports and information from the web, have pieced together an org chart of the Armies of eMeg Whitman for Governor campaign – that massive, impenetrable bureaucracy that is responsible for spending (and receiving) something approaching $150 million of eMeg’s money.

Counting people up, across and over (which sometimes puts people in more than one sector of the Invasion of Normandy graphic) we find eight people in scheduling and advance, 10 staff and consultants in policy, 16 in coalitions, 16 in field operations, 27 in fund-raising and finance and 24 in communications, including eight in the research group.

“In the green box marked ‘Miscellaneous Campaign Staff,’ there are an additional four staffers who have made more than $100,000 from Whitman, and we have no idea what they’re doing,” Brown’s research director told Calbuzz.

Brown campaign manager Steve Glazer likens Whitman’s campaign to a massive aircraft carrier that is stalled in the middle of the ocean, floating listlessly, unable to gain momentum despite spending millions and millions and millions on TV and radio advertising, internet communications, mail, telephone banks, fundraising, event planning and execution – you name it, USS eMeg has paid for it.

Whether that’s an accurate portrayal of a campaign operation with no equal in the history of California is still uncertain. This we know: No governor’s office we’re aware of ever had such a massive org chart, unless you count all the agencies and departments that are part of an administration and the CHP protective detail.

Also, no one in a governor’s office ever made this kind of money: strategist Mike Murphy’s Bonaparte Productions, $861,474; adviser Henry Gomez, $769,216; campaign manager Jilian Hasner, $667,552; adviser Jeff Randle, $572,949; security director John Endert, $261,682; communications director Tucker Bounds, $293,349; press secretary Sarah Pompei, $154,872; yadayadayada. That’s not even all the big-tick items and it’s only up to the most recent financial reporting period.

Another Calbuzz blow for truth, justice and the American way. We report, you decide.

China in a bull shop: In sifting the detritus of Wednesday night’s big Senate debate, we hereby declare that the wrong-headed wags who described it as a “dud” or “boring” apparently  tuned in to the wrong channel, and were watching the Dodgers game or something.

All right-thinking persons agree that Carly Fiorina and Barbara Boxer both were strong, smart and sharp in acquitting themselves favorably in the debate, and that their relentless, tough but civil exchanges made for one of the more impressive such events in recent memory (given the state of our short-term recall facility, of course).

That said, the rivals also each owned their fair share of foibles and fumbles, even if they did manage to avoid making utter fools of themselves. Here’s a look at some lowlights for each:

Hurricane blowing in the wind: Fiorina’s thoroughly baffling refusal to publicly endorse Prop. 23 – a stance that can only anger conservative backers while earning her exactly zero props from the anti-greenhouse gas gang – has already been well chronicled and chewed over here and here (don’t miss the part where she says, “look, I’m not trying to be evasive here”).

As lame as her performance on climate change was, the much under-reported nadir of her night came at the post-debate press conference, when she engaged in a cringeworthy colloquy with the Sacbee’s Dan Morain on the subject of China. Peering over his little gold spectacles and speaking in a gentle voice, Morain hooked Carly like a fish, asking her, in effect, what such a champion of capitalism and liberty as herself found so appealing about an authoritarian communist-run state as a place to do business.

Q: You spoke favorably about China and what China has done to create jobs. Is- are there things that China does that you think California ought to do?

A: Absolutely. China has done wonderful things to create jobs. Let’s start with the fact that they created things called ‘special economic zones’. Now we have things that are called something similar here in California, but we didn’t follow through with policies that actually create jobs….

I have called for the creation of something similar called “Jobs for American Zones”, and in those “Jobs for American Zones” we would give very specific tax cuts and tax credits…to hire American workers we would use the power of the federal government to cut through regulation and we would make sure that we are rewarding innovation.

Every single one of those things I just mentioned, China rewards innovation better than we do…and if you ask a manufacturer how easy it is to build a new manufacturing plant here in California what they’ll tell you it has become virtually impossible because of the taxes they have to pay and the thicket of permits and regulations they have to go through. So yes, let’s learn from what the Chinese have done.

Q: Well, well China has very different rules as relates to labor and human rights and things like that

A: And I certainly do not suggest that we follow Chinese rules on labor. That is not why most companies go to China…certainly technology companies are not going to China for the cost of labor. That’s a very small piece of the cost of a technology manufacturing plant.

To recap:

1-Personnel costs: negligible business expense.
2-Shortage of child labor laws and environmental regs: no discernible benefit to balance sheet.
3-60 hour work weeks at 60 cents an hour (and they pay us for the bed they sleep in, boss!):  no big deal to bottom line.

Please remove your shoes and AK-47s while going through security: We also were scratching our heads over Carly’s line of attack accusing Boxer of not having authored enough legislation; we always thought conservatives were pretty much in favor of that whole…governs best which  governs least thing, no?

Simply put, isn’t breathing fire about excess regulation and then ripping your opponent for not writing enough bills sort of like complaining the restaurant food’s lousy and the portions are too small?

Let’s leave that one off the highlight reel: Another iCarly low moment came with her sputtering defense of her previous statements of support for the sacred Second Amendment rights of folks who appear on the government’s post-9/11 don’t-fly list, a dumb and  unnecessary pander to right-wing primary voters that she’s now stuck with.

Calbuzz debate hint: As a general rule, fighting from a deep defensive crouch while desperately trying to explain that you really didn’t mean to say that terrorists have an unalienable right to bear arms is only rarely an effective tactic. (And don’t get us started on her stirring call for We the People to throw off the shackles of government so we can all walk the streets, heads held high, free men armed to the teeth with assault rifles and criss-crossed bandoliers of ammo).

Who’s on first: It was an interesting coincidence that Boxer also managed to screw the pooch on the arms-for-dangerous-airline travelers issue.

Presented with a big ole’ hanging curve ball she should have belted into the third deck, Babs only hit a weak foul ball in her response on the matter. Rather than portraying Hurricane as a dangerous extremist intent on arming jihadis, Babs inexplicably lurched off into a nonsensical riff about how, uh, my opponents position on this issue, coming during a GOP primary debate a couple months ago, uh, really upset Tom Campbell, who, uh, almost never gets excited, but this time got so upset he said, “oh my” or something.

At which point living rooms all over California suddenly filled with conversations like:

Huh? Wot’d she say? Who’s Campbell? The soup?

No, dummy, the one running for Senate…

I thought it’s Fiorina’s running for Senate…

Oh. Yeah? Campbell’s for governor then…

No, Whitman’s for governor, the one makes the candy, not the soup…

Point of order, point of order: Babs also had no answer for Fiorina’s criticism (contradictory and politically self-canceling as it was) of her thin legislative record.

Every time Hurricane raised the issue, the junior Senator from California  started dithering about “a thousand Boxer measures” or a “thousand Boxer provisions,” language that no doubt is useful for chopping it up with the parliamentarian in the Senate cloakroom, but isn’t quite as compelling for what you might call your Real People.

Next up: Boxer’s thousand points of light…

Your slip is showing: Boxer’s worst gaffe came in her otherwise strong closing statement, which she screwed up by solemnly declaring that she is “fighting for taxes for the middle class and small business.”

Oops.

It didn’t take Babs manager Rose Kapolczynski,  always cool as the other side of the pillow, to issue one of those “What Senator Boxer meant to say” statements:

Throughout the debate, Barbara Boxer described the importance of tax cuts for small businesses and the middle class.  In her closing statement, she skipped a word mistakenly saying that she is “fighting for taxes for the middle class and small business” rather than fighting for “tax cuts for the middle class and small business,” which her record clearly demonstrates.

Freud never sleeps.

Dateline Moraga: Live Blogging the Senate Debate

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Play-by-play below, but here’s the bottom line: Nobody “won” the debate which means Carly Fiorina did not do what she had to do — kneecap Barbara  Boxer or force her to make a mistake.

Fiorina, a smart, articulate and attractive candidate stood toe-to-toe with a United States Senator and handled herself with skill and grace.

Boxer defended her record in the U.S. Senate and pushed issues like choice, climate change and gun control into the debate that put Fiorina on the defensive.

The single matter that emerged that likely will resonate most: Fiorina’s record of laying off 30,000 workers as CEO of Hewlett-Packard — in Boxer’s terms (not entirely accurate) of shipping those jobs to China.

Her response — sometimes you have to cut some jobs in order to save others — sounded like an eerie echo of  the famous line from the Vietnam War: “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” (That’s how it’s remembered even if it’s not exactly right.) And it wasn’t just a slip of the tongue — Fiorina said it in the debate and at her press conference afterwards as well.

We wonder if this will come back to haunt Fiorina: “This is the 21st Century — any job can go anywhere.” BTW, in the debate she said: “It’s an agonizing choice (for a CEO) to lose some jobs in order to save more.”

It was a clear contrast. Fiorina is a tough conservative who would overturn Roe v Wade if she had the opportunity, is opposed to California’s AB 32 climate-change law and would extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers.

Boxer is a die-hard liberal who is known as a partisan, pushes cap and trade legislation, would end the Bush tax cuts for the rich and is more worried about easing the way for illegal immigrants than she is about securing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Untested political newcomer versus career politician. Republican stalwart versus Democratic diehard.

The most baffling thing is this: Why won’t Fiorina, who sees AB 32 as a “job killer,” come out in support of Prop. 23 — which would gut the measure? Pushed at her press conference, she made all the arguments against Prop. 23 but refused to take a stand. All she would offer is that when it comes time to vote, she will take a position.

Also, what happened to term limits that Fiorina is so hot for? Never came up.

It was a lively debate, showed the ideological contrast between the candidates and gave viewers a chance to see both candidates talk and chew gum at the same time, so to speak. Carly was more tightly wound, but crisp; Boxer was more conversational but equally sharp on her attack points.

Boxer kept saying she’s enacted a thousand measures but could not refute Fiorina’s assertion that she’s only got her name on four bills. Not much for a 18-year Senator.

(Live blog begins here.)

Calbuzz went to the extraordinary expense of dispatching the entire National Affairs Desk to St. Mary’s College in Moraga (De La Salle Christian Brothers) to cover the Barbara Boxer-Carly Fiorina U.S. Senate debate – and has been promptly relegated, with the rest of the press corps, to watch the event on a giant TV while the real deal goes down across the way in the LeFevre Theatre.

Plenty of free parking here where it’s 97 degrees outside and TV correspondents are trying not to sweat on camera during their stand-ups.

Cookies too, thanks to the terrific St. Mary’s communications staff – chocolate chip, peanut butter, double chocolate and (ugh) raisin – along with a bunch of fruit that Calbuzz hasn’t the slightest interest in touching.

We’ll be live blogging the debate as soon as it starts in about 15 minutes.

6:57 p.m. KTVU, which is co-sponsoring the debate with the Chron and KQED-FM, just showed live shot of extremely sweaty protesters outside.

“Carly, no es mi amiga” vs. “Boxer, you’re fired.”

Inside the press room, Jon Fleischman of FlashReport, just called the debate for Fiorina.

7:00 – It’s on. Big hand for Carla Marincucci’s hair in the press room.

Boxer, wearing a gray pantsuit, is on the left. Fiorina, in a teal skirt suit, is on the right.

First opening to Carly: “I have lived the American dream.” Trying to give herself blue collar roots, even though her father was a law professor who was almost appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We need some common sense and problem solving ability in Washington, D.C.” First whack at Babs:  She’s been in D.C. forever and her policies have been disastrous. Very aggressive in taking on the incumbent.

Boxer: “I’ve enacted a thousand measures,” coming right back at Fiorina charge that she’s done nothing. Whack at Carly: I’m working to stop companies from shipping jobs overseas. And, oh yeah, Carly got fired and took $100 million in severance.

Great start.

Marinucci asks first question of Fiorina:

Carly says it’s all about jobs — tax cuts — Carla asks — small business owners are struggling — death tax — Boxer voted for taxes — to create jobs we need to make sure business is free from stangling regulation and taxation.

Boxer says 16,500 teachers got pink slips, what’s important than out children — my opponent called the bill a disgrace — but she doesn’t like it because we paid for it by stopping tax breaks from companies overseas.

Question 2: Scott Shafer asks Babs whether Iraq war “was worth it.” She says she opposed the war but voted for more money for troops and veterans. Credits Obama for getting out, and supports him in Afghanistan but supports hard time line to bring troops home “by 2011″

Carly staff is walking around the press room dropping off  “Debate Fact Sheet” on everybody’s work station, challenging BB’s earlier assertions.

Carly on Iraq: Boxer’s “rhetoric doesn’t match her record.” Attacks Boxer for not voting for body armor, and also hits on her on small business legislation speaking government-speak gibberish about “TARP Jr.” and “TARP Sr.”

Question about immigrants: Carly wants to educate everyone but she’s against amnesty for people here illegally –

Boxer says she’s proud of her record on veterans — says Carly called immigration reform “a distraction” — we need comprehensive immigration reform.

Question 4 comes on tape from a guy in Oakland named Tim Tam who wants to know why Boxer doesn’t give somebody else a chance after 28 years in the Senate. Barbara sez “there’s a clear choice” and turns it to hit Carly: “We don’t need those Wall Street values.”

Fiorina says Boxer “mischaracterizes my record” on shipping jobs overseas. “Agonizing choice to lose some jobs in order to save more.”

Next question from Tom Watson, retired HP executive who bashes Fiorina with her record of “right sourcing” jobs and saying that no one has “a God given right” to a job. Great question.

Carly is now listing all the countries in the world – not to mention “Texas and Brazil” about….something…she seems to have been caught a little off guard by this.

Strong comeback on jobs by Boxer noting that Fiorina has opposed every jobs bill that’s come up since she started running.

Carly asks Boxer about famous incident when she asked General not to call her “ma’am.” She gives same answer as Calbuzz previously supported reported.

Fiorina comes back to say that Boxer is using H-P “a treasure of California” as a “political football.”

Randy Shandobil the moderator tells both of them to stop going over time, and get to the point and answer the damn questions. Yay Randy.

Shafer asks about gay marriage. Fiorina says marriage should be “between a man and a woman.” Says that because voters had such a clear decision “not appropriate” for “a single judge” to overturn. Umm, isn’t that why we have three branches of government?

So says Boxer, noting that America has a system of checks and balances. She cites Justice Ron George’s opinion opposing Prop. 8.

Fiorina gnomes just dropped off fifth fact check – almost make you think they had them ready in advance.

Boxer is asked about bipartisanship — is she too partisan — she says he works with Republicans all the time — a time line for withdrawl from Afghanistan is one example.

Carly says Barbara is long on talk and short on achievement — one of the most bitterly partisan — only has four bills with her name on them –

Carla asks about Roe v Wade — I am pro life, because of my personal experiences, her husband’s mother was told to abort him for health reasons — recognize that not everyone agrees with me — I am comfortable funding for adult stem cell research — but if embryos are produced for destruction then she’s opposed — says Boxer’s positions are extreme — has said a baby doesn’t have rights until it leaves the hospital –

Randy — Roe v Wade — she acknowledges she would overturn if she had the opportunity.

Boxer says she respects people’s — says Fiorina would criminalize women and doctors — says this is not about personal views.

Re. the “four bills” says she’s approved 1,000 Boxer provisions — you can see them online.

Shafer asks when Dems are going to stop blaming Bush and Rep congress for economic woes. Boxer says “we have” and are working on it…now she’s talking about the good old Clinton years and is blaming Bush for “the worst job creation record since Herbert Hoover.” “We didn’t get here overnight and we’re not going to solve it overnight.”

Fiorina: “Recovery summer has become the summer of despair in California.” She hits Boxer for voting for stimulus bill which she says “has failed.” Good riff on Boxer record of voting against balanced budget amendments: “Her record is crystal clear.”

Fiorina is asked if she thinks global warming is real or just a problem with the weather as she said in an ad — Carly says the ad was about military security — says we need a national and comprehensive energy bill — not answering whether she’s for Prop. 23 — we need to fund energy R&D — we cannot put bills in place that punish energy—

Randy re asks — Prop 23 — says her focus is on national policy — says she hasn’t taken a position — AB 32 is a job killer.

Boxer — if you cant take a stand on Prop 23, I don’t know what you will take a stand on — it’s a critical issue — my opponents is used to creating jobs in China, Germany, etc. – which would be the result of overturning AB 32 — “no bill I ever wrote superseded CA law.”

St. Mary’ student asks about ag policy. Zzzzz.

Fiorina now hitting BB on water – claims Babs “pressured” Feinstein to drop an amendment…

Viewer question – why do you think it’s a good idea for people on terrorist no fly list to have guns – what – are you nuts?

CF: “The no fly list isn’t particularly well managed.” We should not be taking constitutional rights away from citizens and giving them to terrorists – and that’s exactly what Barbara Boxer wants to do.”

BB: “It’s hard to know where to start.” Boxer trumpets her legislation letting pilots be armed.” Recalls watching debate where Fiorina said this and says Tom Campbell get excited “for the first time in his life.”

“Oh my goodness,” Boxer says Campbell said.

How about the assault weapons ban? Fiorina says it’s far too broad…Babs says dumping it “makes no sense at all.” Big wet kiss to Difi for sponsoring the bill.

Closing statements:

Carly: She’s been struck by the “beauty” of California. Also fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Recounts alleged anecdotal conversations with people who don’t like regulation…very sappy yarn about some lady who said she’d never voted but registered to vote for Carly and “don’t forget us.” Oy. She’s for average people who “give a lot and ask for a little.”

Barbara: “This a very clear choice.” I’m fighting for jobs and she laid off 30K people and sent jobs to China. Made in America vs. Made in China. Someone fighting for tax cuts for middle class and someone fighting for CEOs and billionaires. Clean energy vs someone supported by big oil and big coal. Pro-choice – Fiorina would “turn a woman into a criminal” for having an abortion…Offshore oil. I fought for Wall Street reform and she acts “just like a Wall Street CEO.”

Randy apologizes for not getting to more questions. No worries man, good work.

GOP Liveblog: Right-Wing Whacks eMeg Early

Friday, August 20th, 2010

SAN DIEGO — Even before Meg Whitman stepped up to address the Republican state convention here, leaders of the party’s grassroots right wing sharply criticized her stands on immigration and the environment, warning that many conservative voters might sit out the election if she takes their support for granted.

Top officials of the California Republican Assembly and Young Republican Federation of California told reporters covering the convention at San Diego’s Manchester Grand Hyatt that the GOP nominee for governor is making both an ideological error and a serious strategic mistake by moderating her earlier positions on illegal immigration, California’s climate change law and taxes, among other issues.

“There’s almost nothing left of the primary Meg,” said former CRA and GOP chairman Mike Schroeder.  “It’s time for the Republican Party to be officially concerned about whether or not Republicans are going to turn out for this ticket . . . if there’s no enthusiasm a lot of people don’t turn out at all.”

“Republicans are unified in their support for Meg Whitman both here at the convention and across the state,” replied Brian Seitchik, spokeman for the GOP.  Immigration and other issues will not fragment the party, he said. “The party is unified behind Meg because she has a plan to create jobs and that’s going to be the central issue in November.”

Despite assurances from Whitman loyalists in the party apparatus, the tone and substance of the comments by the conservative leaders showed that her brazen shift to the political center after portraying herself as a movement conservative in the primary is deeply upsetting some of the most loyal Republican voters.

Calbuzz asked this question: Do you think she is taking the conservative wing of the Republican Party for granted?

“Yes,” said Schroeder. “I think she assumes that people will look and say, ‘Well, the alternative is Jerry Brown.’ But that’s not true. The alternative to Jerry Brown is not voting at all, or voting for the Libertarian or somebody else. And that’s what a lot of the conversation is becoming.”

Because a state party convention is a kind of ideological hothouse, it is not clear whether the comments from the right-wing leaders represent an actual threat to Whitman’s chances in the general election against Democrat Jerry Brown, or more a intramural scuffle for the hearts and minds of the activists who populate these conventions. The CRA endorsed Steve Poizner, eMeg’s rival, as the preferred conservative in the GOP primary.

It didn’t help relations between the two sides, however, that the CRA was denied access to the official GOP press room and was forced to hold forth in a lobby.

The CRA is sponsoring a resolution, which they are trying to bring before the convention, that would put the party squarely on record in favor of both California’s Proposition 187 and the controversial Arizona law aimed at illegal immigrants. Whitman has said she would have opposed 187, if she was living in the state in 1994. And she has said that while the Arizona law is OK for Arizona, it’s impractical in California.

“That’s nonsense,” said Celeste Greig, president of the CRA. Greig said she is not  concerned that pushing Whitman to the right on the issue could backfire on her in the general election. “We are trying to help her. We want her to win. We want her to be successful. But we also want her to come aboard with the issues that we care about. We want her to stand strong on what she campaigned for in the primary election.”

As a political matter, however, the flap between Whitman and the right-wing overshadowed what Team Whitman had hoped would be the message of the day. Earlier in the day, her campaign produced an elaborately staged media event at a solar company in San Diego that was intended to showcase her alleged plan for dealing with California’s 12.5% unemployment; it was no accident that her convention speech was scheduled for late Friday evening, when it might be too late to get on TV news, and would get relatively short shrift in the poorly-read Saturday papers.

Even before the CRA news conference, eMeg managed to step on her own story in advance, when she told reporters at a press gaggle that, if elected governor, she would support a legal appeal by supporters of the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8, a position Gov. Schwarzenegger has refused to take.

But it’s Whitman’s waffling stance on illegal immigration (along with her refusal to endorse Prop. 23, overturning California’s climate-change law) that has her party’s right wing worried.

Adam Abrahms, president of the GOP youth federation said he’ll vote for Whitman but she’s not sure he can bring masses of cohorts along. “It’s a matter of enthusiasm. And I want all of our candidates to go out there and say the things and do the things that are going to help energize our base . . .  In 2008 I had a very difficult time motivating people to do something with  Mr. McCain. There was a big problem. They didn’t trust him,” he said.

Of course, McCain was Whitman’s candidate. After her first choice — Mitt Romney — fell by the wayside.

Meg’s Goal at GOP Convo: Don’t Get Burned in Effigy

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Here’s what won’t happen this weekend at the California Republican Party State Convention in San Diego:

Meg Whitman won’t speak Saturday morning when the Resolutions Committee takes up the proposal from Celeste Grieg, president of the knuckle-dragging California Republican Assembly, backing Arizona’s law empowering police to ask suspected illegal immigrants for their papers.

And since the GOP already endorsed Prop. 23 – the measure to suppress California’s pioneering climate-change law – and since eMeg says she’ll probably vote against it, she’s not likely to speak much about that Friday night when she tosses red meat to the delegates at dinner.

These are a couple of the not-bloody-likely situations Whitman will be at pains to avoid when she breezes in and out of San Diego, spending just enough time to toss off her talking points and rip into Jerry Brown (Will she meet with reporters? We don’t know yet) before booking town.

Usually, when a candidate for statewide office prepares to speak to a Republican convention, political writers and pundits blather on about how the candidate’s challenge is to “energize the base, drum up enthusiasm and rally the troops.” Your faithful Calbuzzers once dished just this kind of  hackneyed drivel.

Not this time. Looking at eMeg’s challenge facing the GOP conventioneers in San Diego this weekend we see just one basic goal: get in and out of town without getting tarred and feathered, burned in effigy or booed or heckled, although the latter might be tactically clever (see below).

Of course, she could probably make all her troubles go away by just doling out another $255,860 to various Republican organizations, including the CRP itself ($239,750). Amazing what a little walking around money will do to buy some love. And it’s not as if she needs the GOP for much: she’s paying for everything herself and running a media carpet-bombing campaign, not a grassroots insurgency.

But in the absence of buying off noisy critics, it’s hard to see what Whitman can get out of the convention. As one savvy Republican told us, “There’s nothing she can do this weekend to motivate the base that doesn’t give her a problem with swing voters.”

Although getting booed by telling right-wingers what was wrong with Prop. 187 or why she won’t vote for Prop. 23 or can’t support Arizona’s SB 1070 would be a nice touch, reminiscent of Dianne Feinstein in 1990 when she got booed by the Democratic Party convention for supporting the death penalty.

“I suspect her campaign wants to create the appearance of GOP unity. But with her missteps on illegal immigration and with (Steve) Poizner and (Tom) McClintock still holdouts, the story is likely to be the opposite, with emphasis on discord between her and GOP base on the immigration issue,” said one Republican strategist. “She would’ve been better off citing another scheduling conflict and avoid it and send a surrogate.”

Except for delivering a screed against Brown, repeating her three-part mantra (jobs, education, budget cuts) and issuing a stirring call for Republican unity, anything Whitman can get from a gathering of hard-right GOP activists will hurt her among independents and Latinos in the general electorate.

But as one Meg insider put it, “We’re not looking to be the belle of the GOP ball.”

 

Of course, if she has decided to forget about the Latino vote, she could endorse the CRA resolution on Arizona’s “papers please” law. As Greig said in her letter to fellow Republicans:

Is the Republican Party for the Rule of Law?  Pass my resolution and it will show it does.  Kill it in committee or on the floor and the Republican Party will look no different that the Democrat (sic) Party.  That will harm all of our candidates, the media will say if it fails, that the CRP can not be counted on by those that want to stop the illegal alien population growth in California, that we are in fact, siding with the illegal aliens.

Or she can come out for Prop. 23 (which Senate candidate Carly Fiorina declined to do on Tuesday) and dig herself into a bigger hole with independent voters than she’s already in. Or she can switch her support for abortion rights to align herself with her party’s anti-choice position. Or come out for more offshore oil drilling.

Don’t hold your breath. Meg’s people figure it this way: Republicans will vote for Whitman because she’s not Jerry Brown and if the convention cave people pelt her with pebbles, that’ll make her look more reasonable to independents and moderates.

The most curious intrigue seems to be around internal Republican Party politics.

According to Mike Spence, former president of the arch-conservative CRA, Meg’s people have been organizing proxies for the convention, but to what end is anyone’s guess. Maybe she plans to quash anything controversial in committee or on the floor. Spence asks:

Does the Whitman campaign want headlines from political reporters about how her proxies were used to beat up conservatives? Or headlines favoring conservatives over moderates?  . . . Would reporters and maybe John and Ken wonder if Whitman’s proxies were used to kill the [CRA Arizona law] resolution? Or did she use them to let it pass?

Or could it be that Meg’s not crazy about seeing the GOP move toward a caucus system for picking presidential candidates, or whatever rules are being cooked up for party caucuses to pick an official GOP candidate in advance of open primaries, or some wing nut becoming chairman of the state party if she gets to be governor. Who knows?  Who cares?

We know one thing: Meg and her staffers are bolting town before the most important event of the weekend – the invitation-only Calbuzz Dr. Hackenflack Dinner.

Meg Hit on Radio; Gay Marriage No Big in Gov Race

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

You gotta give Meg Whitman credit for sitting down in the studio Wednesday with Calbuzz’s favorite Neanderthal radio yakkers – John Kobylt  and Ken Chiampou of KFI-AM in LA – and trying to explain all the contradictions in her positions on immigration and climate change. She couldn’t of course, and J&K – whose web site screamed “Nutmeg in Studio”– were down her throat, in her face and on her case for 30 sizzling minutes.

What they did that few have been able to do is push Meg into answering some simple questions like: Are you for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants?

Why is this much of a question? Well, first you have to go back to October 28, 2009, when Meg was filmed at the Mexican border – a visit she often brags about – saying “Can we get a fair program where people stand at the back of the line, they pay a fine?” (According to the San Diego Union Tribune Whitman’s sentence concluded “. . .  they pay a fine, they do some things that would ultimately allow a path to legalization?”)

But on the radio Wednesday, her answer was: “I am not for a path to citizenship.”  When J&K argued (wrongly we believe) that millions of jobs held by illegal aliens should go to Americans, Meg’s response: “I agree with that.”  And she flatly agreed with the notion that no one should get citizenship unless they leave the country and apply through the process.

If there was ANY question about her position in her Spanish-language advertising or op-eds, it should now be clear. Meg Whitman is flatly opposed to allowing immigrants here without proper documentation to become U.S. citizens.

She said she’d use the eVerify system to hold employers accountable for hiring illegal immigrants, but only after eVerify is working better than its current 90% accuracy rate. Which caused J&K to go batshit!

Over and over again, Meg would start a sentence: So, here’s what I would do . . . So, this is what I think, So what I have said . . . So, So, So, So . . . AARRGGHHHHHH! Of course J&K cut her off about 90% of the time, confronting her from the right – getting her to agree, for example, that she would “make sure” Americans get those jobs that illegal immigrants are taking away from our out-of-work citizens. (As if those unemployed citizens would EVER take those vital service jobs that undocumented workers do for our society. See “A Day Without a Mexican.” )

J&K also jammed Meg for saying she’s opposed to the Arizona stop-for-papers immigration law but that she’d let it stand for Arizona. Why shouldn’t California have a law just like Arizona’s?, they wanted to know. What’s wrong with it? (Something about different geography was all they could get.)

How could she be saying she wants Latino children to have the opportunity to become doctors and lawyers when she doesn’t want them all – i.e. including illegals – to be able to go to state schools?

And then they came to Prop. 23 – the measure that would suspend California’s pioneering climate chance change law. As Calbuzz predicted, Whitman suggested that she will likely vote ‘No” on Prop. 23, even though she has called the measure it would suspend a “job killer.”

Whitman is trying to say she would suspend the law for a year, but when pressed by J&K about the one-year suspension, she was quick to note that it could be suspended for three years. And in an interview earlier this year with the Ventura County Star, Whitman suggested she would jettison the law altogether. The Brown campaign was on this like stink on a skunk.

We suppose eMeg’s people sent her onto J&K to try to do some damage control with their right-wing audience, but judging from the listeners we heard right after her appearance, we’re not sure it worked. She was called a “two-faced lying weasel,” “wishy-washy . . . bought her way into the election,” and an “absolute two-faced liar.”

So, what we have to say about that is . . .The reason these issues matter is because: 1) Whitman is desperate to win a third or more of Latino voters but her stand today seriously endangers that effort IF Latino voters hear what she said today — which will depend on whether Jerry Brown and/or his allies drive that message home and 2) Whitman is trying to wiggle her way away from her strategic blunder in the GOP primary where she ripped AB 32 when she didn’t have to and on this issue Brown seems intent on making sure that moderate and independent voters know that Whitman is not on their side on the environment.

Gay blades not out on Prop. 8 ruling: Even though Brown and  Whitman are on opposite sides of the gay marriage debate, don’t look for the issue to gain much traction in the campaign for governor.

As a legal matter, Judge Vaughn Walker’s opinion declaring the Proposition 8 ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional re-ignites the controversy in California, and across the nation. At first glance, with the decision headed for a likely long appeals process, there is no immediate political venue for the controversy to play out in a major way in the 2010 state campaigns.

If there is any advantage to be gained, it would be modest, and likely accrue to Brown’s benefit. As Attorney General, he refused to defend Prop. 8, both before the state Supreme Court and before U.S. District Judge Walker, and might get a small boost from the Democratic base among liberals and gay rights advocates in an election in which turnout will be crucial.

Whitman has consistently said she is opposed to gay marriage, and has quietly expressed support for Prop. 8, but is unlikely to gin up much excitement among evangelicals and other Republican social conservatives for her understated views, particularly given her pro-choice position on abortion, and her effort to run hard to the center in the general election.

It was clear from the bland statements issued by both candidates after Wednesday’s ruling that neither side sees vast political opportunity, at least for now.

Brown’s campaign flack referred questions about his reaction to the attorney general’s office, which released this brief comment from the AG:

In striking down Proposition 8, Judge Walker came to the same conclusion I did when I declined to defend it: Proposition 8 violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution by taking away the right of same-sex couples to marry, without a sufficient governmental interest.

Candidate Krusty was somewhat livelier on Twitter:

It’s official! Great News for California! California gay marriage ban overturned!

Then wife Anne tweeted:

I’m proud my husband worked so hard to protect marriage for others, even though it took him 15 years to pop the question to me :-)

eMeg’s comment, made by Darrel Ng, Team Whitman’s Third Mate Under Assistant Vice President Deputy Flack for Issues the Volcanic Sarah Pompei Doesn’t Want to Deal With:

Meg supported Proposition 8 and believes marriage is between a man and a woman. Meg also strongly supports California’s civil union laws. Today’s ruling is the first step in a process that will continue.

“The first step in a process that will continue?”

Sort of like ordering breakfast, or brushing your teeth, or driving on the freeway or . . . everything… How cosmic of you, Darrel!

P.S. Over in the Senate race, where the issue might prove more salient, Babs and Hurricane Carly are also split.