Posts Tagged ‘GOP’

Does The Commish Have an Outside Game?

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Meg Whitman’s capture of the influential endorsement of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association is a big blow to Steve Poizner’s inside game campaign approach. So the key, emerging question for The Commish in the race for the Republican nomination for governor is:  does he have an outside game?

For months, Poizner has pursued a tortoise-beats-the-hare game plan, patiently traveling the state, appearing at every conservative talk show and ed board that asked and rounding up grassroots endorsements from no-name local elected officials and GOP county committee chairmen.

All of which would be just ducky in giving him an organizational boost – if anybody had ever heard of the guy. As it is, Single Digit Steve is in danger of becoming the Willy Loman of Republican politics, selling his wares door-to-door in pursuit of a campaign of tactics, while eMeg blows him away with an on-the-airwaves strategic effort.

“Steve had a lot going for him, and hasn’t seemed to capitalize,” said one longtime, high-ranking Republican insider. “He has a very good message, is very focused, and would be a solid governor. But he’s played too much of the inside game and needs now to ramp up the outside game.”

It’s instructive on this point to read Steve Harmon’s intriguing piece about the state of the Poizner campaign in the Contra Costa Times. It’s hard to decide what was the worst news for Team Poizner in the Harmon report: a) that “wavering supporters” are criticizing the operation anonymously; b) that some of them even snitched out campaign intelligence to the Whitman camp or; c) that the grand strategy for the Commish is to win the primary with a last-month blitzgrieg broadcast attack on eMeg.

Calbuzz votes for c).

Steve Poizner is prepared to hold his fire against Meg Whitman…until the final month of the primary campaign, according to wavering supporters who were told of the strategy in an appeal for them to stay with him…

“It was fairly clear to me that they’re laying low and will continue to lay low until the final month,” (one such backer) added. “They may be proven to be a brilliant strategists (sic), but it’s making a lot of people nervous.”

As well it should.

With Poizner suffering a drip-drip-drip erosion of defecting supporters –- former Assembly GOP leader Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo is just the latest –- the eMeg-will-save-us-all cry is getting stronger, a trend that Monday’s Jarvis endorsement will only encourage.

The endorsement’s nonsensical claim that Whitman is a better bet to hold the line on taxes (no mention that relations between Poizner and the Jarvis group were strained by his shyness about going to the wallet to defeat Arnold’s special election initiatives last May) ignores the fact that it’s he him, not she her, who embraces across-the-board tax cuts; he him, not she her, who opposes Arnold’s big water bond; and he him, not she her, who denounces to the heavens eMeg campaign chairman Pete Wilson’s $7 billion record tax increase, back when PiWi was governor.

To our ears, it sounds like opportunistic Jarvis Association president Jon Coupal let the cat out of the bag during an interview with Bakersfield conservative yakker Inga Barks, a few hours after the endorsement was announced:

“The three scariest words in the California lexicon right now are ‘Governor Jerry Brown,’ and right now she is head to head in a Democrat state, the Rasumussen poll has it 43-to-43 Meg even with him. And that, I’ll tell you, we can have the best candidate in the world and what good is that if they can’t win?”

The Jarvis endorsement demonstrates that Whitman’s electability argument is proving at least as persuasive among movement types as Poizner’s effort to make the case for ideological purity.

The last time we checked, Poizner was down by 30 points with the clock running out. He might be able to get back in the game but not with his  feckless four-corners offense. Time to fast break, play above the rim a little and toss up some three pointers, Commish.

At least we’re first in something: At a time when California is circling the drain, it’s nice to know that the Golden State still earns its national trend-setting reputation on at least one score.

Recent days have brought a flurry of reports, like this, this and this, that the U.S. government is intractably broken. But as all good Calbuzzers know, California was wayyyyy ahead of the curve in being ungovernable.

Say it ain’t so, Your Megness: Whatsamatter — all your pink Lacostes were out to the laundry?

Lingerie to Lite Gov: Top 10 Quotes of the Week

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

From the Saints’ Superbowl win to the smash mouth campaigns for governor and Senate and the Assembly’s goal line stand against Abel Maldonado’s nomination for lite gov, it was a week of thrills and spills in spectator sports of all kinds. Here’s a look at the most memorable things anyone said about what happened.

We’re going to take a hiatus on this issue.
– Jim Wunderman, CEO of the Bay Area Council, pulling the plug on the group’s planned initiative to convene a state constitutional convention, because of a lack of money.

It would mean a great deal to Bikram if, in lieu of giving him a birthday gift,that you instead make a donation to Jerry Brown’s 2010 Exploratory Committee for Governor of the State of California.
–Invitation for a birthday celebration tonight from multi-millionaire yoga mogul Bikram Choudury, creator of Bikram Yoga, in which practitioners – including California’s Attorney General – perform a series of poses in a room heated to 105 degrees.

It’s just incredible. The Legislature is broken. It’s chaos.
Sen. Abel Maldonado, discovering news that stays news, one day after the Assembly, more or less, rejected Gov. Schwarzmuscle’s nomination of him as lieutenant governor.

It is now very clear that the entire Republican Party must unite behind Meg’s campaign. We have an outstanding party standard bearer. Since last summer, Meg has led among GOP voters in every independent poll by enormous margins, and those same polls show that she is the strongest Republican candidate against Jerry Brown.
Former Governor and Meg Whitman campaign chairman Pete Wilson, attempting to cancel the June 7 primary, and forgetting the oldest cliches in politics:  “The only poll that matters is the one on election day.”

I’ll pay you with a pair of autographed panties.
Angelyne, famous-for-being famous L.A. billboard model and newbie candidate for governor, thanking Chronicler Joe Garafoli for explaining the meaning of the word “secession” to her.

What did Tom Campbell know and when did he know it?
Julie Soderlund, campaign manager for Carly Fiorina, getting waaayyy carried away with an unconfirmed report that rival Campbell cut a sleazy deal with Whitman to switch from the campaign for governor to Senate.

Just one thing – what’s NASCAR?
Calbuzzer Cicero, channeling Steve Poizner after our memo recommending The Commish go down-scale blue collar in his bid for the Republican nomination for governor.

Before last night, I never really understood how horrible and unfair it must be to be a man. Having a job. Dressing oneself and taking out the recycling. Practicing basic human hygiene. A devastating existence made more trying by the presence of a demanding, overbearing woman. You might even have to carry her lip balm. The horror.
–Huffpost bloggers Jehmu Greene and Shelby Knox bemoaning a series of anti-feminist Superbowl ads featuring henpecked husbands.

Change out of that skirt, Jason.
–Sportscaster Jim Nantz, narrating a Superbowl Ad in which a guy goes lingerie shopping with his girlfriend instead of watching the game.

We were very impressed with the job her hand did at the Tea Party Convention.  And we said to ourselves, let’s give Sarah Palin’s hand a job.
–Fox News Chief Roger Ailes, as channeled by Andy Borowitz, extending a job offer to the former Republican vice-presidential nominee after she used her left palm as a cheat sheet before a live interview.

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.


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:


[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.


“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.

Still Gasping After Palin’s Wacko Step-Down Presser

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

palin winkCalbuzz has seen a lot of weird stuff in politics before, but Sarah Palin’s mouth-breathing stream of semi-consciousnesses — with water fowl, no less — was right up there with the strangest of them.

After serving all of two and a half years as governor, Palin has decided it would be “apathetic to hunker down and go with the flow” whatever the fig that means. So she’s stepping down to work “on the outside” (i.e. make a boatload of money as a celebrity speaker without pesky ethics investigators rummaging through her Naughty Monkeys).

Rumors abound in Alaska that federal investigators are looking at some connections between the Wasilla sports complex and the construction of Palin’s home. But Palin’s only explanation Friday was to suggest that keeping her job would be a waste of Alaskans’ tax money. WTF?

We’d love to hear your favorite riff. Ours was: “A good point guard, here’s what she does. She drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her head up because she needs to keep her eye on the basket and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can win and that is what I’m doing…keeping our eye on the ball…I know when it’s time to pass the ball for victory.”

No more politics as usual in Seward’s Icebox, promises the Alaskan Trailer Trash Queen.

GOP Media Guru: Reeps Should Salute Sotomayor

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

sippledon1Don Sipple, a savvy Republican filmmaker, was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s media consultant in the 2003 recall campaign for governor. In 1994, he created the controversial “They Keep Coming” anti-immigration television ad for Pete Wilson’s re-election campaign for governor.

By Don Sipple
Special to Calbuzz

Among the self evident truths we are dealing with this week is the fact that Judge Sonia Sotomayor will be confirmed and elevated to Justice of the United States Supreme Court and the national GOP is still in the wilderness after two successive drubbings at the polls.

In nominating Sotomayor, President Obama has once again exhibited his gift for deft political maneuvering while Congressional Republicans continue to demonstrate why they are not only tone deaf, but have a death wish to boot.

soniasotomayorIn spite of representing a border state and being a co-sponsor of immigration reform legislation, Sen. John McCain garnered only 31 % of Latino voters in 2008. Women gave him just 43% of their votes. It’s difficult to see how the GOP benefits — even in the slightest — by opposing Judge Sotomayor. Instead they should celebrate her, praise Ms. Sotomayor’s personal narrative and move to have her confirmed by acclamation.

What the national GOP must learn is that while it is the duty of the opposition party to oppose, they must do so selectively and choose wisely the ground on which to attack.

But instead of picking their spots with a strategic purpose in mind, the GOP substitutes tactics for strategy and carps about everything. They have yet to land a blow on the new president.

Republicans need to understand that this is 2009. The world has changed, the electorate has changed and attitudes have changed. In the minds of voters, posturing and posing is no substitute for problem solving. And voters are well aware that there are plenty of problems begging for solutions.

Fifteen years ago, the costs of providing services to California’s then 2.5 million illegal immigrants was putting pressure on the state’s treasury, already reeling from declining revenues due to a deep recession. Thus a legitimate public policy debate ensued regarding the federal government’s failure to secure the border and to reimburse California and other states for costs borne by those states.

Certainly there were political risks in engaging on this issue back then. But Gov. Pete Wilson was re-elected comfortably in 1994, receiving 38% of Latino votes, even though today those who rewrite history believe his leadership on the issue of illegal immigration was a death knell to Republicans among Latino voters in California.

When there is an honest pubic policy disagreement, intelligently debated, it is unlikely there will be lasting political damage. Recently, the subject of drivers’ licenses for illegal immigrants has stirred passions on both sides, but to my knowledge it has not caused a wholesale revolt among Latino voters. In fact, during the recall election of 2003, public polling showed over 60% of Latino voters in California opposed to drivers’ licenses for illegal immigrants.

Republicans need to recognize and respect the rise of Latinos as a potent political force in the nation and several fast-growing states. By nominating Sonia Sotomayor to the highest court in the land, President Obama has made her a symbol of Hispanic pride and culture.

The GOP would be wise to salute her instead of sliming her.