Posts Tagged ‘Flashreport’



Calbuzz, Web Partners Ask Gov Rivals to Debate

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Three of California’s leading political websites have invited the two major-party candidates for governor to participate in the state’s first Blogosphere Debate.

Calbuzz, FlashReport and Calitics, in partnership with the College of Social Sciences at San Jose State University and the Commonwealth Club Silicon Valley, today sent a letter outlining the debate to Mike Murphy and Steve Glazer of the campaigns of Republican nominee Meg Whitman and Democratic nominee Jerry Brown.

Here’s the letter that was emailed today:

Dear Mike and Steve,

On behalf of Calbuzz, FlashReport and Calitics, we are pleased to invite Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown to participate in a two-person, first-ever California Blogosphere Debate. The College of Social Sciences at San Jose State University and the Commonwealth Club Silicon Valley will also serve as debate sponsors.

As you may know, the Washington Post has named Calbuzz, FlashReport and Calitics the three leading political web sites in California. Collectively we provide on a daily basis a full range of political perspectives and analysis, from conservative to moderate to progressive.

We have secured Morris Dailey auditorium at San Jose State University for the afternoon and evening of Monday September 13th (with back-up possibilities on the 14th and 15th). The specific time of the debate would be decided later in consultation with the campaigns, but we anticipate a 60-minute event, scheduled at a time between 4 pm and 7 pm. The format, with final details to be determined, would likely include the following:

– Moderator: John Myers of KQED (pending approval from KQED)
– One questioner each from Calbuzz, FlashReport and Calitics
– Two-minute opening and closing remarks from candidates
– One question for both candidates from each panelist with two-minute responses
– Two questions for each candidate from each panelist with two-minute responses
– One minute rebuttal from each candidate for each question
– Introduction, follow-ups as permitted by moderator and closing statements.

This means each candidate would field six questions: three common questions for both candidates and three questions specific to each candidate. Both candidates would have an opportunity for rebuttal on every question.

We envision candidates standing at podiums with television lighting. Neither candidate would use scripts, notes or props although they may take notes during the debate. A pre-arranged coin toss would determine the order, with the candidates given the option of opening first or closing last. We would offer a live feed to any television or radio station or online broadcaster interested in carrying the debate. We anticipate one pool camera crew to shoot the debate.

As you’re aware the news industry is in a state of radical transformation, with the internet steadily playing a larger and more significant role in setting the public agenda. We believe that our proposal offers a unique and historic opportunity for your campaigns to play an important role in shaping that agenda, and we hope you will give this invitation your most serious consideration. Please respond by 5 p.m., Friday, June 25.

Very truly yours,

Phil Trounstine, Jerry Roberts, Jon Fleischman, Brian Leubitz, Robert Cruickshank

Epic Clash of GOP Titans – Giants Beat Rangers 8-5

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

After months of anticipation, build-up and trash-talking between the rival camps, Republican wannabe governors Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner met in their first critical face-to-face debate Monday night – and when the rubber met the road, the deal went down and the dust settled, 10 things were very clear:

1-She’s wayyyy taller than he is. Not since Mugsy Bogues took it to the hole against Manute Bol has there been such a vertical mismatch as that revealed by the shot of eMeg and The Commish shaking hands at the beginning of Monday night’s New Majority debate in Costa Mesa, which reminded us of that silly theory that the taller candidate always wins the election.

2-Ustream totally sucks. Okay, so Calbuzz admits we were a teeny bit late to the party vis a vis the whole debate thing, as we had a pressing engagement at Surprise Stadium to watch the Giants open a can of whupass on the Rangers, 8-5, with Fred Lewis going yard in the first inning to set the tone of the evening.

But, hey, we did the responsible thing and left in the top of the 6th, which was plenty of time to get back to the hotel, watch the web replay and come up with a host of characteristically blinding insights about the debate. But noooo…Ustream had to muck everything up so we could only watch the debate in four second increments, followed by endless stretches of waiting before the next four seconds of Meg saying “I’ve been in business 30 years,” and Steve yelling, “immigration, bold tax cuts, immigration” which got REALLY ANNOYING really quickly and left us reliant on the views of others, which actually turned out to be pretty uniform anyway.

3-The L.A. Times thought it was a snoozefest. How’s this for a grabber headline: “Poizner, Whitman cover familiar territory in debate.” And when Cathy Decker calls it “generally genteel” in the lede, you can be sure no one made news.

4-Poizner won. We know this because there was an email waiting in our inbox from his campaign that quoted communications director Jarrod Agen and said, “Steve Poizner Wins Debate.”

5-The San Jose Mercury-News thought it was a snooze fest. How’s this for stop the presses stuff: “Long anticipated first debate between Whitman and Poizner mostly echoes stump speeches.” Zzzzz.

6-Whitman won. We know this because there was an email waiting in our inbox from her campaign that quoted Tucker Bounds, her communications director, as saying, “This was an enormous victory for our campaign tonight.”

7-The Chronicle thought it was a snoozefest. “Poizner-Whitman: GOP Candidates’ First Debate.” This is what is known in the business as a “neutral headline.” Lock up the kids, Maude, those whacky Republicans are at it again.

8-The most entertaining webcast of the night was Flashreport’s guided tour of the food of the pressroom at the debate site. At least Fleischman’s video WORKED.

9-Meg looked silly forgetting her mic. From the pieces of the damn thing we actually got to see, Her Megness was  so excited to start ripping Poizner’s face off that she started delivering her mandatory thanks to the organizers and opening lines without remembering that she needed to hold a microphone to do it. Sheesh.

10-Meg won. As Ken McLaughlin pointed out in his piece, eMeg’s big challenge of the night was to prove she was “ready for prime time.” By at least holding her own with Poizner, not committing a major gaffe or falling off the stage, she clearly accomplished that, while The Commish fell short of forcing a turnover, which is what he needed to change the campaign narrative with the debate. Did we mention that she’s a lot taller?

IE Spanks eMeg’s Money; Commish Goes NASCAR

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Ka-ching, baby: The 30-second radio ad “1-800 Number” from “Level the Playing Field 2010,” the pro-Jerry Brown independent expenditure committee, was just the warm up: today the committee kicks off a $250,000/month radio buy for “Kaaa-ching!” – a 60-second radio spot attacking Meg Whitman for lavish corporate pay and perks when she ran eBay.

The kicker: “There shouldn’t be a Buy It Now button on the California governor’s office.” Ka-ching, ka-boom. Level 2010 plans to unveil the ad at their San Francisco office this morning, followed by a preview for the reporters in Sacramento.

“I don’t think anyone can crown themselves governor. I don’t think you can buy elections,” Whitman told KCBS reporter Doug Sovern. “What I’m trying to do is get my message out to voters. And voters are really smart. They will figure out who they want to lead this state. They will decide who they think is the most capable, given the current set of economic challenges that we face.”

In addition to the 19,00086,000-member California Nurses Association, initial funders for Level 2010 include the 23,000-member California Faculty Association. Strategists include Ace Smith, Chris Lehane, Sean Clegg, Dan Newman and Paul Maslin. Also Jason Kinney, Mike Rice, Doug Linney, Theo Yadinsky and Michelle Maravich.

The ad is an opening attack on the surreal prospect that anyone should be seeking high office using their CEOness as a qualifying characteristic — after  the collapse of Wall Street and America’s banking system at the hands of corporate CEOs. Lehane, Smith, Maslin, Clegg, et al are determined to do what the Obama administration has failed to do: render radioactive any Republican candidate with a corporate background.

They also understand that the ubermission of an independent committee is to put the opponent/s on the defensive. An IE can’t win an election – only the candidate can do that. But an IE committee can weaken the opposition. And that’s Level 2010’s goal.

According to Tucker Bounds, eMeg’s spokesman, there’s little difference between Brown’s campaign and the independent expenditure committees dedicated to attacking Whitman.

The other IE committee – California Working Families 2010 – includes Roger Salazar, Larry Grizalano, Jason Kruger and Frank Quintero, with funding likely to come from Ron Burkle, the carpenters and electrical workers unions and others. They have yet to mount a charge.

“There’s only one viable candidate in this campaign that’s running for election. Jerry Brown has refused to get on the playing field. But he has deployed his attack-style consultants to launch a campaign against Meg Whitman and we’re committeed to fighting back,” he said.

Asked if he was saying there is collusion between Brown and the independent committees – which would be illegal – Bounds demurred: “I’m not making any charge other than to say these are Jerry Brown supporters who are running a campaign to support Jerry Brown – they’re all singing from the same songbook.”

The ads, he said, “are an example of the general election beginning early in part because the Democrats would prefer to run against a weaker, beatable candidate in Steve Poizner.” . . . which leads to . . .

And they’re off: Steve Poizner will hit the track at NASCAR this weekend – even as Whitman accelerates her effort to bump him out of the race for governor. (Okay, that’s it for auto-racing puns for this item. Intentional ones anyway).

Team Poizner confirmed Tuesday that the Commish is slated as an Honorary Visiting Official at Sunday’s NASCAR Auto Club 500 race in Fontana. That means he gets profile in the pre-race ceremonies, possibly a seat in the pace car (careful what you wish for!), plus face time at the driver’s meeting and in the garage, along with primo seats.

We’re sure that it’s the sheerest of coincidences that Poizner is making a NASCAR appearance just a week after Calbuzz recommended he do so. In any case, the Thunder Road optics of the event will contrast nicely with eMeg’s more refined, Ile de France and amusing little Montrachets vibe. Poizner peering under the hood in San Berdoo surely resonates better with blue collar, cultural conservatives than Whitman’s bubble-wrapped cocooning and hobnobbing with political and media elites in Washington and New York.

As John Kerry famously said, “Who among us does not love NASCAR?”

Let’s call off the election: Still, one NASCAR event does not a campaign make, and the Armies of eMeg are keeping the pressure on Poizner to head for the pits even the starters flag comes down (sorry).

Ex-Gov. Pete Wilson, Whitman’s campaign chairman, last week sent out a missive calling for Poizner to withdraw in the interest of Republican “unity” in the face of Crusty’s IE effort; to which Jim Brulte, Stevie Wonder’s chairman, has now nicely riposted that Meg is trying “to win for free what others like Ronald Reagan and George Deukmejian have had to compete hard to earn.”

Undeterred, Her Megness quickly followed up with Wilson’s echo-not-a-choice message with yet another, this from Republican legislative leaders Senator Tony Strickland and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who parroted PiWi’s eblast line.

Our party is only weakened by a Republican candidate who ultimately aids Jerry Brown and his allies’ fight against the conservative leadership we need in Sacramento. It’s time for all Republicans to unite, and we’re hopeful Steve Poizner will do the right thing and step aside in order to nominate Meg, the strongest candidate to take on Jerry Brown in November.

To which Commish mouthpiece Jarrod Agen oh-so-daintily responded:

I’ve read about dictators who try to stop free elections, but I never thought I’d see someone try that strategy in California. Steve Poizner favors freedoms that make America great, like freedom of the press and the right to vote, so we’re going to go ahead and have an election where the voters get to choose their nominee.

Let’s call off the whining, instead: From where we sit, Whitman’s big push to push Poizner over the side, nearly four months before the primary, and at a time when she’s leading by 8,000 points, looks like an extremely weak, fear-based move that makes her sound like a whiner. What’s next, if The Commish doesn’t drop – shaking her fist and stamping her foot? Holding her breath ‘til she turns blue? Or maybe just cut to the chase and try directly begging him to quit. Sheesh.

eMeg’s ongoing insistence that she’s “going to debate” – while she keeps not debating – meanwhile keeps sending the same lame message.

Which reminds us that our pal Jon Fleischman, the esteemed blogger and widely known shit disturber, is having entirely too much fun over at Flashreport, making the GOP natives restless by fomenting a netroots push for a debate at the upcoming Republican convention.

Hiding behind technicalities, Whitman communications chief Bounds told us “no invitation was extended” for a convention debate, adding that, “if there’s an invitation, we’ll give it due consideration.”

And thank you for that.

Pondering the GOP’s Future: New Ideas or SOS?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Dan vs. Dan: Our old friend Dan Scsickelephanthnur has been doing some serious wool gathering on the question of whether any of the three Republican contenders for governor have the political mettle, not just to win election, but to redefine the GOP in the process.

Mere hacks that we are, Calbuzz isn’t fully certain that we follow all the nuanced twists and turns of the baroquely reasoned argument made by Schnur, a former partisan turned neutral academic, who now reigns as the director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

As best we understand his latest dispatch over at Flashreport, however, Schnur seems to posit that the current, sorry spectacle of a teabag-besotted  Republican party means that it’s time for the GOP to rethink the ideological framework that’s sustained it since Ronald Reagan’s first term.

schnur

While it has become fairly predictable for Republican politicians to wrap themselves in the flag of Reagan, the pessimism that currently infects our body politic does present the same type of psychological challenge that the Gipper confronted in his first successful presidential campaign . . .

We are currently witnessing the stirrings of a similar internal debate within the Republican party to that which the Democrats fought throughout the 1970s and ’80s . . . No credible voice is making the case that Republicans should abandon Reagan’s economic principles . . . (but) perhaps there is an argument to be made that those priorities must also be updated, in order to deal with the challenges of an era in which the economic centerpiece of the country has moved from Detroit to Silicon Valley.

Perhaps there is, but we’ll never know because Schnur doesn’t make it.

Instead he quickly steps back from the ledge of suggesting to Republicans, on the most influential Republican web site in California, that perhaps they should, just maybe, take a second look at the whole tax-cuts-and-deregulation-will-fix-everything-in-a-jiffy, Heaven’s Gate groupthink that afflicts them.

Putting aside the short shrift that he pays to the inconvenient fact that Republicans have held the White House for 12 of the 21 years since Reagan left office, Schnur’s hasty retreat from his own, intriguing ergo ipso facto is a disappointment. Wafting in a tepid bath of yes-we-can kumbaya, he treads water in concluding with the hope that someone in the Republican field – anyone! – might come up with a fresh idea to save the GOP,  if not the Republic itself:

reepcollage

[Campbell, Poizner and Whitman] may be better positioned than any Republican politicians in the country to lead this next stage of ideological evolution. If one of them is able to do so, he or she will not only provide the tools to fix California’s economy, but its embattled psyche as well.

Or not.

For our money, Schnur’s magical thinking melts away before the force majeure of the fact-based argument, made by us and other right-thinking people, that California’s crackpot state political structure effectively prohibits the rational and effective exercise of governance. That view was stated most recently, and most emphatically, by California’s other boy genius named Dan –  Walters of the Bee Minus.

waltersA notion in the minds of a few pundits, including yours truly, a couple of decades ago — that California was becoming functionally ungovernable, its politics severed from social and economic reality — has since become conventional wisdom. And it will dominate this election year in the nation’s most populous and arguably most troubled state . . .

One of the four [current candidates] will almost certainly become California’s governor a year hence and begin what will more than likely be a doomed governorship.

Declaring the state’s next leader an utter failure 11 months before the election is held -– now that’s punditry we can believe in.

Feel free to use Pay Pal: We’re hardly the first to reach for the Enalapril whenever another of those astonishingly condescending e-blasts shows up from Obama’s Organization for America, purring on about how we’ve all worked so hard together to put special interests on the run and could you please send another $5 to the DNC?

Way back last year, lefty blogger Markos Moulitsas offered a minor gem of a rant, aptly called “Idiocy,” that got to the nut of the annoying treacliness of  these fake-sincere messages:

Obama spent all year enabling Max Baucus and Olympia Snowe, and he thinks we’re supposed to get excited about whatever end result we’re about to get, so much so that we’re going to fork over money?…In fact, this is insulting, betraying a lack of understanding of just how pissed the base is at this so-called reform.

hopelessWe’ve taken a couple of whacks, here and here, at analyzing why once-enthusiastic Obama supporters feel so betrayed by his late-blooming Clintonian corporatism (corporate Clintonism?), but Micah Sifry over at techpresident pretty much nails it in “The Obama Disconnect: What happens when myth meets reality.”

The truth is that Obama was never nearly as free of dependence on big money donors as the reporting suggested, nor was his movement as bottom-up or people-centric as his marketing implied. And this is the big story of 2009, if you ask me, the meta-story of what did, and didn’t happen, in the first year of Obama’s administration. The people who voted for him weren’t organized in any kind of new or powerful way, and the special interests–banks, energy companies, health interests, car-makers, the military-industrial complex–sat first at the table and wrote the menu. Myth met reality, and came up wanting.

tila-tequila2

“People are frustrated because we have done our part,” one frustrated Florida Obama activist told the Politico. “We put these people in the position to make change and they’re not doing it.”Scholars may decide that his team’s failure to devote more attention to reinventing the bully pulpit in the digital age, and to carrying over more of the campaign’s grassroots energy, may turn out to be pivotal to evaluations of Obama’s success, or failure, as president. Calbuzz sez check it out.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: Tila Tequila channels Jackie Kennedy.

Why Arnold’s “Legacy” Claim is a Fraud

Monday, July 27th, 2009

arnoldcigarThe day before the Legislature passed the third patchwork version of California’s budget in 10 months, Gov. Schwarzenegger took to “Flashreport,” the state’s leading conservative web site, to claim “a huge win.”

“(T)he biggest winner to emerge from our negotiations is California,” the governor bragged, “our state’s legacy, its priorities, and its budget stability.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong!!

Schwarzenegger’s triumphalist braying was little more than a one-step-ahead-of-the-posse exercise in spin control, a pathetically transparent bid to establish a positive narrative for the budget disaster over which he’s presided, in hopes that voters and his suck-up pals in the national media will buy his story without bothering to check it out.

(NOTE TO NATIONAL POLITICAL WRITERS: Schwarzenegger did NOT solve or stabilize California’s budget. Despite his assertion to the contrary, his budget – passed in February and now revised twice – actually RAISED TAXES by $12.5 BILLION. With the latest revision, he threw off enough ballast to keep his hot air balloon afloat but in no particular direction.)

As Fred Keeley, the elected treasurer of Santa Cruz County, put it:

“The governor set the standard when he said, at the start of the process, that this needs to be a complete solution. And then he violated his own standard by signing a budget which doesn’t solve the problem this year or next year and in fact, according to the Legislative Analyst and the Department of Finance, is going to create a multi-billion-dollar deficit next year.”

Keeley knows wherearnoldbuckof he speaks. He served on the Assembly Budget Committee for six years, was asked by former Gov. Gray Davis to be Finance Director and is a Senate appointee to the Governor’s 21st Century Commission on the Economy.

In truth, Arnold’s entire tenure has been one continuous failure of leadership. This is just the latest chapter.

From his first days in office (when he sowed the seeds of today’s never-ending fiscal crisis by his irresponsible cut in the vehicle license fee) to his ill-considered $15 billion borrowing bond (which helped make interest payments the fastest growing item in the budget) and his current shameful spending plan (which gives the University of California a major push into mediocrity while continuing the slow death of K-12 education and punishing the aged, blind and disabled), he has been little more than a narcissistic, tone-deaf poseur, surrounded by sycophants and devoid of principle or conviction.

At a time when the state’s economy is hemorrhaging, its schools failing and roads crumbling, Schwarzenegger has been utterly ineffective in explaining to Californians the reasons behind the problems we face, and even less so in proposing innovative solutions to any of them. His little touchdown dance about the current budget belies the painful truth that this is nothing but a stop-gap maneuver designed to escape the embarrassment of issuing IOUs and con the credit markets into a few months of cash to ease the state’s borrowing jones.

Schwarzenegger’s soaring claims about the wonders worked by his budget fail on three grounds:

1. It’s a short term fix. Amid all the high-fives and chest bumps in the governor’s circle, it’s important to recall that the latest budget plan comes just five months after the last one, which came only five months before the previous. In other words, California has had three budgets in less than a year and, given current revenue trends, it’s all but certain that Arnold and the gang will be back in the fall for yet another round of all-nighters. Filled with gimmicks, borrowing and Grand Theft from schools and local government, the “huge win” for California being trumpeted by Schwarzenegger is nothing but more of the same old same old.

2. It does nothing to address the state’s dysfunction. As Calbuzz has reported the ongoing budget mess is a symptom of a far more fundamental disorder – a state of permanent ideological gridlock shaped by term limits, gerrymandering and three decades worth of wrong-headed initiatives. The latest “drama” over the budget is just another re-run of Groundhog Day, and it will keep re-playing and replaying until the pols in the Capitol acknowledge and accept the need for fundamental reforms, and find the cojones and the political skill to sell them to their constituents across the state.

3. It will probably make things worse. While it is true that the state for years has had a structural deficit, caused by the governor and the Legislature’s effort to defy the laws of arithmetic, it is also true that the huge magnitude of the current deficit is overwhelmingly caused by the current recession, which slashed state revenues by nearly one-third in one year, reducing tax collections to the level of a decade ago. The bursting of the real estate bubble, and the structural decline of the economy that has followed it has put the entire state economy into treacherous territory that may yet turn into a full-blown depression.

Under these conditions, there’s a strong argument to be made that wholesale cuts that the budget delivers will make the recession more punishing: as layoffs of public employee push the unemployment rate higher, furloughed state workers spend less, as all the programs set up to help with those who fall on hard economic times are cut back at the very moment they’re needed most.

As Calbuzz reported about the latest forecast by California economist Bill Watkins: “California’s budget issues are likely to be made worse by continuing economic decline. Perversely, the budget then negatively feeds back into the economy. The problem is not likely to see relief, at least in terms of increased revenues, before late 2011.”