Posts Tagged ‘Cathy Decker’

Meyer to Jerry: Crank Up the Volume; Press Clips

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Jerry Brown kicked off Labor Day week with his first TV ad and a radio spot as well opening with narrator Peter Coyote telling us, “Never accused of following conventional wisdom, Jerry Brown took on the status quo,” a statement pregnant with understatement.

But as soon as Krusty the General launched his ads, the Armies of eMeg fired back with their own blast from the past — a  devastating 1992 debate clip of Bill Clinton smacking Jerry down for leaving California broke.

C’est la guerre. Calbuzzer Chief Editorial Cartoonist Tom Meyer picks up on the disparity in amplification between Brown and the Meg Whitman campaign, suggesting Jerry’s sitar just might get drowned out by THE HUGE SPEAKERS THAT WHITMAN CAN AFFORD.

Calbuzz Hits the Big Time: You know you’ve made it onto the radar when Andrew Breitbart, the king of the Neanderthal Wing of the Blogosphere publishes a 794-word essay attacking you, which, we are delighted to report, is exactly what has happened to Calbuzz.

In a piece written by Warner Todd Huston (and you know you should never trust anybody with three last names, especially when he’s got a blog, Publius Forum, that sounds like a social disease), who bills himself “as Chicago based freelance writer [who] has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001,” Calbuzz got 20 mentions and several links amid a brutal assault on our character, integrity and ancestry, which met the same high standards of high-quality journalism as Brietbart’s infamous attack on Shirley Sherrod.

Amid the horrible things WTH had to say about us were these libels:
– “Widely read.”
– “Calbuzz gets a lot of respect from California’s Old Media and political establishment.”
– “Calbuzz is one of the first stops for so many in the Old Media and Sacramento.”

Actually, a comment from a reader named “Petroglyph” hurt most: “Nobody reads this piece of crap Calbuzz unless it’s Jerry himself.” Sadly, we have it on good authority that Jerry hardly ever reads us unless Anne or Steve clips us for him.

Still and all, we’re delighted to have attracted the attention of the right-wing lap dogs of imperialism. Thanks for the props, Andrew.

Press Clips

All you need to know about the state of MSM (h/t to H.D. Palmer, who had it before Drudge).

Seema Mehta and Maeve Reston, the hardest-working women in show business, were everywhere at once over Labor Day weekend and still found  time to file a solid situationer for the tiny handful of Californians who haven’t  been paying close attention to the campaign.

Given the indefatigable labors of the dynamic duo, it’s unfair to the rest of us that the LAT  has the wily veteran Cathy Decker coming off the bench to make perfect sense of PPIC’s latest data dump.

Joe Garofoli busts Krusty big-time traveling between past lives.

Must read: Tim Noah’s series on income inequality, only the most important undercovered issue in American politics.

For those too bored to penetrate Charlie Cook’s pontifications about the mid-terms, here’s a handy list of the 50 races that matter.

For those who are even lazier, here’s a good, Hearstian mini-list of 10.

Swell analytical work by the Viet Cong Star’s Timm Herdt pulling together the multiple strands of the political reform debate.

Glenn Beck: more honest that you’ve ever seen him.

How eMeg’s Spending Is Like Quantum Physics

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

In the study of physics, the “standard quantum limit” is the point at which the precise magnitude of a physical quantity can no longer be measured.

Two months before the primary election for governor, Meg Whitman’s unprecedented campaign spending — including another cool $20 million tossed in late Monday — has hit the standard quantum limit of politics: its effect on the governor’s race has moved into unknowable territory.

To any would-be prognosticator, seer or soothsayer Calbuzz offers this verbum sapienti: Like scientists mulling data from the Large Hadron Collider, we have no idea what the effect of $100-150 million in campaign spending will do in a California statewide election, because we’ve never seen anything like it.

As the new USC/LA Times poll makes clear, billionaire political novice eMeg has thus far used a record-shattering $47 million plus to bury primary rival Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner deep beneath a 40-point lead. Confirming earlier PPIC and Field  surveys, she’s also edged slightly ahead of Democrat Jerry Brown, the Attorney General, who’s surely contemplating the uncertainties of running against Quantum Mechanics Meg and her possible $150 million campaign fund.

As Lou Cannon wrote in Politics Daily last week:

“Given Brown’s long preoccupation with campaign finance, there is a touch of irony to his present predicament… Brown seems shaken by the magnitude of the Whitman commercials. He complained during my interview that Whitman had reduced “the public space of America to a 30-second commercial on sports and entertainment shows.” Later, again deploring Whitman’s spending, he said. “The future of our very way of government is at stake in this election.”

Some among the cognoscenti wonder if voters will, at some point, find a chalk-on-a-blackboard cognitive dissonance created by a candidate who spends with no limits  to become  governor in order to cut spending.

Others suggest that as Whitman’s spending keeps growing exponentially, it will bump up against some outer limit where cash begins to have diminishing returns, or even a negative impact, as voters find repulsive her free-spending ways amid the state’s worst recession in a generation.

If so, she sure hasn’t hit that limit yet. As USC/Times and other polls make clear:

1-For now, at least, the pro-choice Whitman has erased the gender gap that has historically benefited Democratic candidates in statewide races. In the USC/Times poll she led 44-38% among women; in the other two big independent surveys, Whitman and Brown were essentially tied: 45-43% in her favor in the Field Poll and 43-40% for Brown in PPIC.

2-She’s splitting the independents and is virtually tied among moderates, while Brown has yet to consolidate even six in 10 Democrats and just two thirds of the liberals.

3-Her as-yet-unchallenged campaign narrative — declaring business experience a crucial credential for running government – may be preposterous in the wake of the banking and derivative scandals and a worldwide recession, but it’s making some inroads among California voters: In last fall’s USC/LAT poll, voters were divided evenly on whether business or government experience was the best qualification. Now, business experience has a slight plurality – 40-35%.

As our friend Cathy Decker of the Los Angeles Times put it: “The survey demonstrated how thoroughly Whitman, the billionaire former head of eBay, has dominated the California elections thus far.”

About 65% of all voters say they’ve seen TV ads and 75% of those people have seen Whitman ads. The effect is powerful.

Jesse Contario of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (one of the firms that did the poll) told Calbuzz that voters who have seen Whitman ads favor her 53-40% over Brown, compared to voters who have not seen ads at all, who favor Brown 40-33%. Moreover, among voters who say they’ve seen ads, but not Whitman’s (i.e., they’ve seen Poizner ads or think they’ve seen ads for Brown), Brown leads 48-36%.

Calbuzz told you back in March: eMeg’s money — now $59 million of her own invested — is moving voters. But maybe not as much as you might think.

Whitman’s favorable-to-unfavorable ratio was 17-14% in the USC/LA Times poll last fall; now it’s 30-23% — a net improvement of just 4%. That’s not a lot to show for $47 million, especially when just 8% of her support is very favorable.

Fortunately for Brown, very little of Meg’s increased favorability has come from Democrats and independents. In fact, her Democratic favorability went down from 12-19 in the fall to 21-31 now – a net decrease of 3%, while her independent favorability went from 16-14% in the fall to 25-21% now, a net improvement of just 2%.

eMeg’s big jump came among Republicans who favored her 26-8% in the fall but 47-12% now – a net pick-up of 35 percentage points.

Moreover, while Whitman is beating Brown 50-38% among white voters, she’s losing blacks 45-22% (a number that historically seems likely to move to about 90-10% by the end of the race) and 52-29% among Latinos (even before Whitman’s views on immigration and Brown’s history with Latinos have been put out there).

“Her $47 million has grown her name ID but hasn’t cemented any strong feelings for her candidacy,” said Brown campaign manager Steve Glazer.

Still, for Brown, the political standard quantum limit factor poses a dilemma.

Although his campaign fund of $15 million might seem impressive in any other year, in 2010 it suggests that in the end he will be able to afford 12 to 15 weeks of advertising.

For Brown, the question is when he goes on the air.

Conventional wisdom holds that he should save his resources until the fall, when voters are paying more attention and he can close the argument. But the quantum physics of Whitman’s spending have blown out all the theories of conventional wisdom.

Brown can expect to be battered on a daily basis by Whitman starting with the day after the primary – or even before – and he needs to think about stopping the bleeding before she has totally defined him and herself and he’s in a Poizner-like hole too deep to escape.

But if he goes on the air now and tries to knock Meg down a peg, he’ll burn through resources he’ll desperately need when he’s facing down the barrel of a huge cannon this fall.

Democratic Gov. Gray Davis had to make a decision in the winter of 2001, when former LA Mayor Dick Riordan, the favorite to become the Republican candidate against him, started gaining popularity among Democrats and independents.

In order to keep him from making further inroads into Davis’s base, Davis went on the air and attacked Riordan from the left on abortion. Little did they know that the attack would also weaken Riordan among Republicans, causing his candidacy to collapse.

Brown, it appears from the USC/LA Times poll anyway, does not yet have a similar problem. Whitman’s favorability among Democrats and independents has not grown and Brown still has an edge among self-described moderates, 44-41%. This helps explain why Brown’s campaign brain trust feels confident in holding fire while Meg continues to spend millions.

At the same time, if Brown was counting on Poizner to take a bite out of eMeg, he’s likely to be disappointed.

The embarrassing spectacle of Poizner being booed and picketed by hundreds of high school students, teachers and administrators from Mt. Pleasant High last week, after hoping to boost his chances by writing a feel-good book about them, is just the latest misstep in a campaign that has been full of them.

As eMeg henchman Mike Murphy tweeted last week: @stevepoizner gives a master class in how to turn a campaign puffery book into an utter disaster. Typical TV newsclip: http://bit.ly/dirAyU.


Friday Fishwrap: Sex, Gossip & Taxes

Friday, June 12th, 2009

karenbassIt’s on: Back before the Earth cooled, Capitol lore held that nobody got serious about the budget until the temperature in Sacramento hit 100 degrees. It’s tougher to apply the rule these days, when budget fights span the seasons, but even at that, it’s clear that with highs in the mid-70s  forecast for days to come, the 2009 budget battle is only starting to get cranked up.

An important blow was struck Thursday, however, when Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner of Berkeley summoned a motley collection of bloggers and online journo types onto a conference call for the purpose of announcing their plan to push for new “revenues” and “fees” – what less diplomatic folks might call “higher taxes” – in the face of Governor Arnold’s growing intransigence against anything other than cuts.

“We’re hoping we’ll maintain our sanity,” Bass said, by way of introduction.

Beyond the talking point of the day – “We are going to do everything we can to protect the safety net” — Bass and Skinner (great name for a sporting goods store, BTW) were pretty elusive about exactly what revenue proposals they plan to put forth, except to say they expect to push legislation that they will argue requires only a majority vote, rather than two-thirds, referring inquiring minds to the web sites of the California Tax Reform Association and AFCSME for further insight into their, um, thinking on the issue.

As a political matter, the details of any plans the Assembly Dems may or may not hatch are less important than the fact they floated the notion on the same day that Gov. Conan reverted to full Barbarian mode, thus setting up what our old friend Groucho Marx would call “a fundamental contradiction” that all but ensures the fight is going 15 rounds.

“What we need to do,” the loincloth-clad governor told the L.A. Times ed board, “is just to basically cut off all the funding and just let them have a taste of what it is like when the state comes to a shutdown — grinding halt.”

Talk about creating an atmosphere of compromise.

Bass Gas: Speaking on the speaker phone, Madame Speaker also baffled bloggers by predicting that if the budget fight isn’t settled quickly, “the state would essentially default” and “an entity could come in and take over the budget process and do the cuts.”


Bass had fled the room by the time someone asked what exactly this “entity” might be, leaving her unfortunate press aide to try to clean up the mess by assuring one and all that her boss was, ha, ha,  speaking only hypothetically about a “doomsday scenario” that, ha, ha, would surely never come to pass because the budget will be approved in a spirit of comity and fellowship, etc. etc.

The most likely explanation is that Bass was pointing to the not-all-that-far-fetched possibility that the budget mess could end up being adjudicated by a federal judge, a scenario Tom Campbell explained considerably more clearly last week in a Calbuzz interview.

sunnemcpeakDark Horses for Courses: The Sunne McPeak for Governor boomlet set off by a Chron blog post by Carla Marinucci lasted little more than a day, until the resourceful Lisa Vorderbrueggen knocked it down on her Coco Times blog by talking to the short-lived candidate herself.

“If I ever decided to take leave of my mind and do something like that, I’ll come see you for counseling,” McPeak said, a terrific line that made Calbuzz wish she would get in the race, if only to lighten things among the dour male trio now forming the field. The McPeak rumor got a lot of cred primarily because there’s plenty of room for a moderate Democrat, not to mention a woman, in the current liberal field.

Now that Sunne speculation has been eclipsed, we hear that at least one prominent California Democrat is importuning Treasurer Bill Lockyer to jump in. Lockyer could occupy some of the same space as McPeak (actually the wide-bodied treasurer would take up a helluva’ lot more of it) and, interstingly, has been raising his profile in recent days. Coincidence? You be the judge.

Which reminds us: Lockyer is living proof of the futility of term limits in attempting to drive “career politicians” from office. He’d already put in 17 years in the Legislature, and was a second-tier poster boy for those pushing the idea, when term limits passed in 1990, but he’s  since managed to extend his Sacramento career by another 19 years, simply by nimbly and constantly positioning himself to hop to a new office.

danielle_steel_spotlight[1]Danielle Decker: If this whole journalism doesn’t work out for our friend Cathy Decker at the L.A. Times, she’s got a great future as a writer of romance novels, as she demonstrated in her, uh, close examination of the role of sex scandals in the governor’s race.

“The actress wife of San Francisco’s mayor has a bikini portrait on her website too, as well as a bunch of what once would have been described as come-hither shots. In one she is lying in a wispy, negligee-like dress on a sheet; in another she is topless, with a scarf trailing across her breasts.”

Calbuzz feels a thrill going up our leg.

Decker’s bottom line was that Newsom and Villaraigosa’s zipper problems won’t amount to zip in the campaign, but she hurried past an important nuance distinguishing the two:

Calbuzz sez that in politics, cheating on your wife, as Antonio did, is scummy; but cheating on your campaign manager with his wife? That’s beyond the pale.

– By Roberts and Trounstine