Archive for the ‘Tom McClintock’ Category



Fishwrap: Mac Attack, Goo Goo Guide, Hot Sex

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Betting the farm on illegal immigration (as Calbuzz predicted), Steve Poizner on Thursday launched a new TV spot, featuring GOP rock star Congressman Tom McClintock (as Calbuzz suggested) explicitly appealing to Republicans to reject Meg Whitman.

“This time our choice for governor matters,” McClintock says directly to the camera. “And it comes down to this: Steve Poizner supported Arizona’s law to stop illegal immigration; Meg Whitman cut and ran.

“This time, let’s have a governor from the Republican wing of the Republican Party – Steve Poizner.”

Up until now neither candidate has put money into television ads appealing directly to partisans, but Poizner, who is running behind in every public poll, now is seeking to rally the GOP base with an explicit partisan pitch. (Poizner, for example, has until now appealed to conservatives and occasionally referenced “Republican”  on the screen, but this ad takes partisanship to a new level.)

Does it mean he’s desperate to rally his base or is he within striking range and needs to peel away a few more conservative Republicans? Or both?

Clip and take to the polls: Kudos to California Choices.org for coming up with a nifty comprehensive grid that shows who’s for and against what ballot measures in the June primary.

The ultimate non-partisan goo-goos, the group has collected and collated  the initiative endorsement picks of more than 40 newspapers, non-profits, unions and other political groups. California Choices is an academic collaboration focused on political reform in the state which includes Cal’s Institute of Governmental Studies, Stanford’s Bill Lane Center, Sac State’s Center for California Studies and Next 10, a non-profit funded by venture capitalist F. Noel Perry.

For fans of the cui bono school of political analysis, or those who are just too bored or lazy to read the voter handbook, the endorsement guide provides a useful means for preparing your own ballot cheat sheet, simply by aligning yourself with the groups that most reflect your views.

Example: the guide shows clearly that Prop. 16, the zillion dollar initiative financed by the greedheads at PG&E, which is aimed at killing in the crib any new attempts to approve public power in the state,  is opposed by all right thinking people everywhere; virtually everyone on the list except –- surprise, surprise — the state Chamber of Commerce, the Republican party, the conservative California Taxpayers Association and the corporate-dominated Bay Area Council (we’re not sure how the L.A. Daily News, none of whose readers are served by PG&E, got in there) — is agin it.

And Prop. 14, the open primary initiative, which has set off a furious, dithering debate among members of the High-Powered Calbuzz Executive Board of Senior Executives and Maintenance Engineers, is backed by almost every newspaper editorial board in the state — but opposed by every political party and union on the list.

We figure that anything the Republicans and Democrats agree is terrible might be really good, although the determinative signifier for us, as usual, is the AARP, which casts an “aye” vote on Prop. 14.

Life in imitation of art: Not since the Great Tiger Woods Mistress Count have we wasted as much time cruising the internets as we’ve frittered away in recent days following every twist and turn of South Carolina’s Nikki Haley (maybe-maybe-not) Sex Scandal.

In the wake of the infamous Argentina-Appalachian Trail dalliance of Mark Sanford, Will Folks, a political blogger and former aide to the Palmetto State governor, has offered up a bizarre confession in which he admits to a purported affair with Haley, a state representative who’s the Palin-Tea Party favorite to succeed the Luv Guv.

Folks, who’s been backing Haley in the governor’s race, on Monday put up a post on his FITSNews.com blog (“Unfair. Imbalanced.”) that he’d had “an inappropriate physical relationship” with state Rep. Haley, saying that he was doing so only because he’d been “pressured and threatened” by unnamed political consultants and reporters, and he’s too chivalrous to say more:

I will not be discussing the details of that relationship, nor will I be granting any additional interviews about it to members of the media beyond what I have already been compelled to confirm.

Well, not exactly.

After Haley immediately and categorically denied the allegation, FITSNews.com started dribbling out a non-stop series of archived text messages, cell phone records and hints of “compromising” photos in an effort to stand up his claim; to date, his documentation has gone right up the edge of confirmation but not quite made it.

As the muggy Body Heat mystery of this incestuous redneck political drama deepens, there are a few things that have become clear:

1-There’s something really weird in the water in South Carolina.

2-Haley is what you call your Rather Striking Woman, while Folks looks like an oaf, not your most common recipe for sultry romance.

3-The non-stop posts that FITSNews keeps putting up have seriously spiked his traffic.

In light of this, Calbuzz is now duty-bound to inform our readers that Dr. P.J. Hackenflack, our staff psychiatrist, recently confessed, in the course of an emotional and tearful meeting with our stockholders, that he for some time has carried on “illicit, horny-toad relations” with at least one prominent candidate for an important statewide office in California.

Unfortunately, we can’t tell you more. But keep checking back (and click on the ads!) anyway, just in case we do.

Read of the week: E.J. Dionne on how red state anti-government warriors learned to stop worrying and love socialism.

Last Chance for Poizner: Make the Case for Himself

Monday, May 24th, 2010

As the PPIC poll made clear last week, Steve Poizner, as of the middle of May, got himself within striking distance of Meg Whitman. But unless he makes all the right moves in the next week or so, he’s toast. In fact, it may already be too late for The Commish: he may have missed his chance to put his puny boot on eMeg’s wattle.

Whitman, the former eBay CEO, is in part a victim of her own success. So thoroughly had she dominated the airwaves and the GOP contest for so long, that only her message was out there, sending her to an unsustainable 61-11% lead over Poizner, the Insurance Commissioner.

So when Poizner FINALLY put some money behind attacking eMeg for her connections to Goldman Sachs, her stand on immigration, her voting record and more, he inevitably brought her down to Earth. In the process, he moved up against her in most polls. Private surveys Calbuzz trusts showed the race had narrowed to about 6-8 points in the first week of May.

It looked as if Poizner might be moving in for the kill. We hear pollsters were finding that he’d driven her unfavorable rating WAY up. GOP primary voters were looking around for somewhere to go. They didn’t like her much because she was tied to Goldman, she was wishy-washy on immigration and she looked kinda arrogant and out of touch. Not like them.

But Poizner a) didn’t sustain the character/ideology attacks and b) didn’t give voters any sense of what he would do, how he would lead or why they should switch to him. After months of singing, “Just you wait Mrs. Whitman, just you wait,” Poizner’s much-anticipated assault was kinda like him: not quite forceful enough.

While we’re awaiting the final pre-primary surveys from Field and the L.A. Times, those private pollsters say now that Poizner’s failure to make a case for himself has allowed those voters whom he shook lose from Whitman to begin to drift back to her in the past week.

Looking back over all of Poizner’s advertising since late March, there are only a few ads in which he gives voters any sense of who he is and what he would do as governor. His negatives on her – on immigration amnesty, support for Barbara Boxer, representing a third term for Arnold Schwarzenegger, supporting tax-payer funded abortion, her voting record, her ties to Goldman Sachs and opposition to Arizona’s immigration law – combined to have an effect.

But why should anyone vote for Poizner? If TV viewers were still listening  after he got done attacking Whitman, they might have caught the briefest mention of him saying he’ll cut taxes, cut spending, support Arizona’s approach to illegal immigration and deny benefits to illegal immigrants and oppose taxpayer funded abortion. The strongest pro-argument was in an ad featuring U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, a Republican conservative icon, who said it wasn’t even a close call – Poizner is the only conservative in the race. But that ad was up for just two weeks in late April and early May.

To have any hope of winning this race, Poizner will have to:

1. Put Goldman Sachs and Whitman’s voting record into one ad that argues that eMeg is nothing more than a Wall Street predator who couldn’t even bother to participate in California politics until she decided to buy the governorship with her  ill-gotten lucre.

2. Put McClintock back on the air telling viewers why he’s for Poizner and have Poizner lay out three or four things he’ll do as governor: cut taxes and spending in order to preserve schools and law enforcement; be fair to legal immigrants and tough on illegals, protect the environment but stop job-killing red tape. Or whatever: it’s not our platform; it’s his.

The point is make the case to voters in the GOP primary that not only should they reject Whitman, they should be FOR him because he knows what he’s doing and has a plan to govern California. Or whatever honest and authentic upside message resonates.

The Whitman campaign is spinning furiously that Poizner is falling further behind every day and that he’s not even competing in the Bay Area market he recently suggested was a key to winning.

Poizner’s people insist their guy  is in it to win it – that only in a race where one candidate has blown through something like $80 million could it be a question whether a guy who’s in for $24 million is really serious.

Their argument, from chief strategist Stuart Stevens: This has turned into a race about illegal immigration, amnesty and the Arizona immigration law. And Whitman is on the wrong side from Republican primary voters. Big broad strokes. The “Whitman/Obama amnesty plan,” one ad calls it.

“The question is: who’s more conservative?” Stevens asks. Whitman, who started out with a three-point message, he says, now is “boiling the ocean” — exactly what she said she would never do. And remember, Poizner keeps noting, illegal immigration was never one of eMeg’s top three issues.

“Those who say that Steve hasn’t given voters a reason to be for him probably don’t care much about illegal immigration,” Stevens says. The Poizner ad running that goes after Mexican President Felipe Calderon suggests where Poizner will go in the coming days: they’re going to attack Mexico and argue that Whitman and Calderon are two peas in a pod.

They believe they can win by arguing that Poizner is the guy to vote FOR because he’s the only Republican running who primary voters agree with on immigration and amnesty. We’re skeptical — in part because, in the latest PPIC poll, immigration came in third among Republicans asked to name the most important issue facing Californians (immigration was at 14%, behind jobs and economy at 42% and the state budget and taxes at 24%).

It is clear, however, that Team Steve has driven the Whitman juggernaut off its fundamental three-point message. So we’re hanging on for the ride.

Gov Race to Bottom, Scotus Gay Watch, Press Clips

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Steve Poizner, pouring another $2.5 million into his campaign for the Republican nomination for governor, unloads another new ad on eMeg Whitman today, this one attacking her for failing to vote for nearly three decades.

“For 28 years, Meg Whitman didn’t vote. Not once,” the ad says. “She didn’t vote for Ronald Reagan, George Bush, or Pete Wilson, for 28 years. Meg Whitman says she’s for Prop. 13, but over 100 times she could have voted against higher taxes and more spending, and she didn’t vote.”

Here’s what The Commish is up to (after spending about $22 million of his own money): a two-track negative campaign against Whitman.

Track One is ideological – the Tom McClintock and immigration ads, hammering Whitman for being too “liberal.”

Track Two is a character attack – the “Vulture” ad on Goldman Sachs and now an ad about how she wasn’t even a voter for most of her adult life.

Poizner’s message: Not only is Whitman bad on the issues but she’s a bad person.

None of which tells voters why they should vote for Poizner. And, of course, Whitman’s got plenty of hits on him on the air (especially after sticking another $5 million into the race, bringing her total to a staggering $64 million).

In fact, her latest, charging that he “supported partial birth abortion” manages to hammer Poizner on two tracks at once: not only is he too liberal, but he’s wicked to boot.

It’s a race to the bottom, sports fans.

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay: This whole Elena Kagan is-she-or-isn’t-she thing was giving us a big headache –  even before the Wall Street Journal suggested on the front page Obama’s new Supreme Court nominee  might be a switch hitter.

To recap: CBS News embarrassed itself big time last month, when its web site blithely ran a piece from Ben Domenech, a discredited, third-rate conservative blogger, declaring that Solicitor General Kagan would be the first gay justice were she appointed and confirmed. CBS pulled the post down, after the White House objected that the claim was a lie and Giant of Journalism Domenech acknowledged that he was only, you know, speculating about whether she was gay.

The issue disappeared briefly, then resurfaced when the president actually nominated Kagan this week. Ever since, there has been a rash of stories on the subject.

One of the stranger is Politico’s round-up of Friends of Elena to swear that she’s not gay; that one of these FOEs is Eliot Spitzer, the sex-crazed former New York governor, who rather mysteriously testified that “I did not go out with her, but other guys did…I don’t think it is my place to say more,” only added to our head scratching over the piece.

Now comes the Wall Street Journal, channeling the New York Post, its sister Murdoch paper, to run a big ole two column, page one photo of Kagan playing softball back in the day, which  photo promptly led some gay rights leaders to complain that the Journal’s Innuendo Editor was trying to signal, wink-wink-nudge-nudge, that Kagan is a lesbian because, after all, what other kind of woman would play softball, all of which led to much  brow furrowing and wool gathering from the big brains over at the Columbia Journalism Review.

Hence our aforementioned headache, arising from the fact that not a single one of these yarns raises the key questions: 1) Why is everyone from Obama to Happy Hooker Friend Spitzer acting like it would be some terrible scandal if Kagan were gay and 2) who the hell cares anyway?

The narrative line hasn’t been a total loss for us though: MLB.com’s Mark Newman did a terrific piece in which he asked a bunch of Mets and Nats players to analyze Kagan’s batting stance. Lots of thoughtful clubhouse debate about whether the bat’s too far from the hitting zone, but for our money Nationals closer Matt Capps offered the most trenchant comment:

It looks like she’s choking up there and she’s locked down, so it looks like she’s going to give you an aggressive fight — which is probably a good thing in the position she’s going to be in.

Press Clips: Must read of the week is LA Timesmen Evan Halper and Jack Dolan’s defining piece on eMeg’s business and financial dealings…We  don’t always agree with Robert Cruickshank’s political analysis, but it’s for sure the Oracle is a very smart fella and serious guy who works hard at making sense of where California is and where it’s going…After reading Connie Brucker’s New Yorker profile of Haim Saban, we finally understood why  the   L.A. Media tycoon is throwing millions at the effort to roll back reapportionment reform in California, the better to protect West Side reps Henry Waxman and Howard Berman…The Zev Chafets takeout on San Antonio mayor Julian Castro is a wonderfully told tale of the most important Latino pol we’d never heard of.

I’m sorry sir, but your AK-47 has to go in the overhead: The silliest issue of the entire campaign season is the loud objection of GOP wannabe Senator Carly Fiorina to restricting gun sales to people on the anti-terror fly list because it would infringe on their Second Amendment rights, as Joe Mathews makes perfectly clear here.

GOP Issues: McClintock, Border, Si; Goldman, Huh?

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Steve Poizner, who had already hit Meg Whitman with a two-punch TV combo – starring Tom McClintock and Goldman Sachs – on Sunday followed with a new right cross on immigration, while Whitman tries to defend with an immigration radio spot of her own, starring former Gov. Pete Wilson.

The fight – which Poizner takes today to the pedestrian bridge at San Ysidro — is all about winning over the most conservative Republican voters who have, according to various pollsters, begun moving toward Poizner over Whitman in the race of the GOP nomination for governor.

In their zeal to appeal to the xenophobic instincts of the right wing, it’s unclear whether either candidate has left open even a shred of possibility of winning Latino votes in the general election. But that’s clearly a secondary concern to the GOP candidates as they drift ever further toward nativism in hopes of proving their anti-illegal-immigrant credentials to conservative Republicans.

Poizner’s new ad lumps Whitman with President Obama in supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants and opposing Arizona’s “papers please” immigration law and concludes, “If you care about stopping illegal immigration, Steve Poizner is the only choice.”

Whitman’s anticipatory response on radio has Wilson – who was known on the streets of Mexico for his anti-immigrant policies as “hijo de puta” – assuring voters: “Meg will be tough as nails on illegal immigration. She’ll fight to secure our border and go after sanctuary cities.”

What Hath Goldman Wrought?

In looking at what’s moving Republican voters, Calbuzz can only intuit from scant data publicly available right now. We get why Poizner’s endorsement by U.S. Rep. McClintock – a right-wing rock star in California, Prince of the Palinistas, Toast of the Tea Party – helps him among knuckle-dragging voters.

And we understand why the immigration issue appeals to conservatives.

But while we can see how Goldman Sachs hurts Whitman among independents and Democrats,  we wonder how it can help Poizner with conservative Republicans? Does it?

We know that in the March LA Times/USC survey, while Whitman was beating Poizner 60-20%, the margin was closer – 53-26% among Republicans with incomes under $50,000.

We also know that in the March Field Poll, where Whitman led Poizner 63-14% overall, the spread was 50-26% among Republicans with incomes of $40,000-60,000.

Private polling we’ve seen recently had Whitman with a mere 6-point lead, with Poizner slightly ahead among the most conservative Republicans.

While the McClintock endorsement ad was clearly a big factor in that movement, does it make any sense that some Republicans are moved by Goldman Sachs as well?

“The most conservative Republicans are populist, not establishment,” said GOP ad man Don Sipple. “They don’t care for Wall Street. They’re not the wealthiest Republicans. And it becomes about character, which is a universal thing. They either respect someone or they don’t.”

There’s been an historic division in the GOP between the Country Club Republicans and what were once known as the Chapel Republicans. This may be evolving to the Tea Party Republicans, the Sarah Palin People, the Limbaugh/Beck/O’Reilly Publicans – pick your moniker. On the one hand you got your Donald Brens and George Schultzes and on the other hand you got your Tom McClintocks and Chuck DeVores.

They’re all Republicans, but they’re not the same animal. Poizner and Whitman both come from the Country Club wing of the party, but Poizner has been most ferocious is throwing off his Brooks Brothers baggage.

Sure, he’s a multi-millionarie who was up to his eyeballs in investment banking opportunities and silk-stocking Wall Street deals. But it’s Whitman who was on the board at Goldman, who had those sweetheart IPO deals,  who’s parked her cash in vulture funds. So if Poizner can whip up a little internal GOP class resentment – what the hell. All’s fair, right?

Ballot Label Change You Can Believe In

But lest we make too much of whether and how Goldman Sachs moves those down-scale Republicans, let’s remember one important but overlooked factoid: Some time between the last set of public polls, Poizner’s ballot designation changed.

In the Field, PPIC and USC/LA Times polls, Poizner was identified as “California State Insurance Commissioner” – something Poizner has never pushed in his advertising. But his ballot designation – which is how he is now being tested by those pollsters who use the actual ballot label – has been changed to “Businessman.”

It may well be that some significant portion of Poizner’s polling troubles was a function of conservative voters who don’t want no stinking insurance commissioner for nothin’. But a businessman – now that’s a guy you can get behind.