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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Garofoli’



GOP Extra II: New Boffo Hit By Demon Sheep Auteur

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Cue the dancing bears: Wannabe Senator Carly Fiorina rolled out a full-throttle, multi-media extravaganza for her turn in the limelight Saturday, the Republican state convention’s most boffo box office so far.

Taking full advantage of her scheduled time on the convention program, Team Carly essentially relaunched her campaign, with a production that included music by Van Halen, a free-swinging speech delivered by the candidate channeling Miss Scarlet, and a new, mad genius video by gonzo media consultant Fred Davis.

“We call it the announcement on steroids,” Davis told Calbuzz.

In contrast to Meg Whitman, whose Friday night speech to delegates may be found in the dictionary under “somnolent,” Fiorina’s talk was energetic, punchy and well-crafted.

Wielding a hand mike, she paced a small stage erected in the middle of an audience of 500, wearing a bright red pencil skirt and matching ruffled jacket as she punctuated a rip job attack on Barbara Boxer with steady chops of her left hand (NB: Opposed on principle to all forms of sexism, Calbuzz mentions her wardrobe choice solely as a contextual element in describing the production values of her convention appearance).

Assailing Boxer on issues from abortion to the Delta smelt and the 1992 House banking scandal, and never mentioning her primary rivals, Hurricane Carly insisted she is the only Republican who can defeat the 18-year incumbent.

She portrayed Boxer as a narcissistic, ineffective captive of Democratic special interests, from unions to “radical environmentalists,” as she generated the only spontaneous enthusiasm in the room thus far in the convention (not counting the boos when GOP moderate Sen. Abel Maldonado was introduced).

“Isn’t it ironic that Barbara Boxer would work so hard to protect a two-inch fish, but not lift a finger to protect the unborn,” she said at one point.

“Bring ‘em on,” she thundered at another, after cataloging liberal special interests that will fight to defend the incumbent.

All the fiery rhetoric aside, and notwithstanding the full ear blast of Van Halen’s “Jump” which closed the Hurricane’s star turn, the highlight of her coming out act was “Hot Air: The Movie,” a 7 minute-30 second acid flashback web video produced by Davis, the auteur of Fiorina’s now-infamous “Demon Sheep” ad attacking GOP foe Tom Campbell as an ersatz conservative.

“I thought of (Boxer’s) head inflating, getting bigger and bigger, until it burst through the top of the Capitol,” Davis said by way explanation of his latest oevre, which must be seen to be genuinely appreciated.

This just in: The “Tea Party Rally,” which promised a big blast of  anti-government populist anger, turned out to be a big bust, a bunch of standing around by maybe 150 people, most of them appearing to be guys named Eugene who formerly populated the high school radio club.

BTW, the NYT’s Kate Zernike has an excellent takeout on why the movement is focused on economics to the near exclusion of traditionally right-wing social issues.

Overheard: “It’s very important for us not to peak too soon.”
–A spinner for wannabe governor Steve Poizner, tongue firmly in cheek, to a gaggle of wretched ink-stained types.

Old conventional wisdom: Meg Whitman is a super-wealthy political novice who’s trying to buy the election and won’t even talk to reporters.

New Conventional wisdom: Meg Whitman is a super-wealthy political novice who’s trying to buy the election but who talks to reporters.

We read this stuff so you don’t have to: The Calbuzz Press Clips scores are in for next day coverage of eMeg’s surprise press session on Friday, which yielded the most information to date on where she stands on a host of substantive policy issues:

Chroniclers Carla Marinucci and Joe Garofoli had the best bullet-point overview (from policy to politics), while Jack Chang at the Bee produced the most detailed piece on where she stands on pension reform (which should have public employees waking up in a cold sweat and SEIU leaders going deeper into their wallets on behalf of Jerry Brown), as Timm Herdt of the Ventura County Star breaks it down on Whitman’s stance on illegal immigration, which is considerably less hardcore, or more compassionate, depending on how you look at it.

Update 9:30 p.m. Steve Poizner Saturday night followed Franklin Roosevelt’s famous dictum for public speaking: “Be sincere, be brief, be seated.”

In his big dinner speech to the delegates, The Commish spoke for just under 10 minutes, after a strong videotaped endorsement (“We can’t afford Arnold Schwarzenegger’s third term”) from right-wing Rep. Tom McClintock, a California conservative favorite. By contrast, Friday night had the feel of an expansive “evening with Meg Whitman,” as she spoke for about 30 minutes with the use of a teleprompter, preceded by a formal introduction by Mitt Romney and followed by a way-long phony “conversation” with conservative talk show host Eric Hogue tossing softballs to eMeg and Mitt, who sat perched on stools on the stage.

It was hard to avoid the notion that eMeg’s expanded time slot was somehow related to the $250,000 she donated to the state GOP last year, but Poizner, pacing the stage as he spoke without notes or a podium, made the most of his opportunity.

Although he’ll never be confused as an orator with Barack Obama, he delivered a crisp statement of the criteria for his candidacy and clearly framed the distinctions between Her Megness and himself , declaiming on the virtues of “individual liberty…personal responsibility…free markets (and) smaller, more accountable government.”

“As Tom McClintock said, there’s a big battle going on right now for the heart and soul of the Republican party. There’s basically two camps. One camp wants to re-brand; one camp wants to move the Republican party to the center; one camp wants to reposition the Republican party. I just couldn’t disagree with that more.”

Road Trip: 3 Key Questions for the GOP Convention

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Cue the elephants: Although half of our Western Hemisphere Bureau is on Special Assignment, sampling voter opinion in Cozumel, the short-handed National Affairs Desk will try to soldier on to offer our unique brand of babble-to-babble coverage of this weekend’s Republican state convention.

The festivities promise to be the most intriguing political event since, um, Eric Massa made Glenn Beck’s head explode, as the confab bristles with crucial questions about the future of the California GOP, if not the whole damn Republic. Like:

Will Carly Fiorina stroll the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara accompanied by a Demon Sheep? Will Tom Campbell issue a white paper entitled: “Sami Al-Arian: A Man and His Music”?

Will Meg Whitman take Mitt Romney’s advice to use a little dab of Brylcreem? Will Steve Poizner unveil a cell phone GPS device that only  allows right turns?

Will Joe Garofoli try to sneak those little booze bottles from the mini-bar out in a pillowcase, bellowing that they should be included in his room rate? Will Flash Fleischman be carted off in a straitjacket from the sheer excitement of it all?

Only Calbuzz, from our skybox high above the convention floor, will answer these and other of life’s persistent questions.

You sure do ask a lot of stupid questions: Of course, it’s also true that answers to several other, um, more purely political questions may help to shape the increasingly entertaining GOP primary races for governor and U.S. Senate. Such as:

1-Will eMeg talk to the press?

Meg Whitman, the GOP’s front-runner for governor, heads for the convention coming off her worst week of the campaign since, well, since the last state Republican convention.

Her bizarre behavior at the now-infamous Union Pacific non-press conference train wreck not only attracted a ton of national media attention – here, hereherehere and here , for example – but also drew a quarter-ton of brickbats from within her own party, like the wily conservative blogger Jon “Flash” Fleischman, who’s also a state GOP officer:

I have not been in a hurry to pen a commentary on this topic as it seems like how an individual campaign handles the media is really its own business.

Except as of yesterday, we are now shifting to “embarrassing” as the adjective of choice to describe the situation of Whitman and reporters — where we are now seeing prime time television news reports about the avoiding of reporters! This is not good for Whitman, in my humble opinion, and I know it is not good for the GOP — the latter being my reason for weighing in.

A small-bore controversy at first glance, Whitman’s performance in Oakland on Monday seemed to crystallize a bundle of doubts about her candidacy – her record of failing to vote, her shyness about debates, her year-long avoidance of serious press interviews, her refusal to release her tax returns, her disinclination to avoid any but the most controlled campaign events – that can be summed up in the question: Who is Meg Whitman?

eMeg’s sprint to the head of the pack has been built entirely on the strength of millions in paid advertising. Now her imperious behavior, however, has got the press corps snarling and growling, which could make things unpleasant for her, at best, should the pack go into full barking and baying mode.

One good way to soothe the beasts would be to make herself available for a full-blown press conference at the convention, in which she handles every question that comes at her, by herself, without restrictions and without the help of press handlers or down field blocks from campaign thugs.

2-How hard will Poizner hit illegal immigration?

Still far behind eMeg in the polls, Steve Poizner is showing signs of gaining some traction with his recent red meat offerings to the GOP right-wing, a faction over-represented among the grassroots convention attendees.

The V.C. Star’s Timm Herdt has smartly noted the emphasis that Poizner has been putting on the issue of illegal immigration, among the most visceral concerns of conservative voters.

With eMeg having expressed her distaste for the milestone Proposition 187, Poizner will work all weekend to rally the troops around this and other filet mignon matters; if he succeeds, he could build up some steam heading out of the weekend and into next Monday’s first debate with Her Megness.

“Meg’s message so far has been very muddled,” said one veteran GOP consultant who’s not playing in the governor’s race. “Steve is now talking directly to the conservative base and what he’s saying has some edge to it.”

3-What’s the Tea Party going to do?

As the aforementioned Chronicler Garafoli reported, a busload battalion of Tea Party types plan to raise the flag at the convention, which could make for some interesting political theater:

There may not be any candidate debates at the GOP hoedown this weekend, but the pitchfork and torch crowd will be welcomed home like prodigal children….angry prodigal children. Is there a family therapist in the house?

“Probably 70 percent to 80 percent of our supporters are disaffected Republicans,” TP Express spokesman Joe Wierzbicki told us Monday. So while the Tea P has problems with both parties, they have a better chance to affect change by changing the GOP, he said.

“By us being there, I’m sure people will be wondering,’Is the Republican Party selling out to the Tea Party?’ or ‘Is the Tea Party selling out to the Republican Party?’ People can have that discussion. I’m sure it’s a little bit of both,” he said.

Good times.

For conservatives, the energy and the passion of the political moment reside squarely with the Tea Party crowd, and their enthusiasm for a candidate can make a difference in a close race. Just ask Senator Martha Coakley, D-Mass.

One beneficiary of it this weekend will likely be Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, the right-wing’s favorite son in the three-way GOP primary for the nomination to oppose Senator Barbara Boxer in the fall. As Tom Campbell and Carly Fiorina beat each other’s brains in on issues like Israel and internet taxes, you can make an argument that DeVore is the only guy in the race with a clear, identifiable political base.

As the Tea Party’s tribune, DeVore could make things interesting if either Campbell or Fiorina fades, and he’s left standing as the conservative foil to a moderate front-runner.

All that said, the biggest question of the weekend convention is: How much does it really matter?

Traditionally, Republican conventions have been pep rallies for grassroots folks who ring doorbells, make phone calls and help organize modest fundraisers. But California’s zillionaire candidates are running for governor on television, period, and their presence at the state convention is something of a courtesy call.

This is especially true of Whitman whom, our sources tell us, has already bought a staggering $12.6 million in cable and broadcast time. That kind of campaign plan renders party activism and enthusiasm largely irrelevant.

Sure, it’s nice to have some excitement generated from the base and sure, convention types represent some votes themselves and with the people they can bring to the dance.

But it’s not like the old days (“We walked 12 miles to school, through the snow, barefoot!”) when a candidate for governor stone cold needed hard-core party activists. eMeg, especially, has no need for actual people, except perhaps as props.

A final note: Calbuzzer Don Ringe imagines eMeg and The Commish encountering each other in the convention hotel hallway.

Jerry Brown Meets Sgt. York & Flavor Flav

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

brown 74Forget Jayson Blair’s flagrant plagiarism and Judy Miller’s tireless flacking for the Iraq war in the news pages. The New York Times has now committed its most hideously glaring factual error in recent memory, if not the history of the world: it misstated the model of Jerry Brown’s famous ride from his first term as governor.

As every California school child knows, Brown in his first days in office in 1975 sent powerful signals about his frugality, first by choosing to live in a rented apartment instead of the governor’s mansion and, most famously, by rejecting an executive limo in favor of a 1974 blue Plymouth.

Yet the so-called newspaper of record, on Sunday’s A1 no less,  got the whole thing bollixed up in describing Brown within a piece about former governors in four states who are seeking to return to the office they once held. Here’s Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer on the subject:

A third, Jerry Brown of California, has traded in his groovy blue Valiant that he drove as governor for a Toyota Camry hybrid, which thieves recently removed the wheels from.

“Groovy?” “Blue Valiant”? Really? Apparently The Times no longer publishes stories that copy editors remove the errors from.

For the record, Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s state auto was a powder blue 1974 Plymouth Satellite, a 150 hp, 318 cu. in. V8 (list price $3,342). The  Valiant was Chrysler’s Plymouth division play in thejerry-brown-plymouth-car_425-x-283 compact class and manufactured from 1960 to 1976; the Satellite, unveiled as the  top model in the mid-size Belvedere line in 1965, was produced until 1975.

No wonder newspapers are going out of business.

Yo, wussup washpost? Making its bid to capture the prize for the second most moronic mistake of the year, the Washington Post ran this correction on Dec. 3:

A Nov. 26 article in the District edition of Local Living incorrectly said a Public Enemy song declared 9/11 a joke. The song refers to 911, the emergency phone number.

jpg_flavor-flav-newswire-400a111606The article in question was headlined “A note of hope from voices of experience – Public Enemy reaches out to homeless youth in D.C.” In it, local reporter Akeya Dickson reported about Flavor Flav, Chuck D and  posse touring a homeless shelter to raise awareness of the problem, then playing a concert to benefit the district’s  Sasha Bruce House:

Public Enemy has earned notoriety with more than 20 years of politically charged music about fighting the power, challenging racism and declaring that 9/11 was a joke.

Well, actually not. As Jason Linkins reported in his “Eat the Press” column:

The important distinction between “911” and “9/11” could have been made a number of different ways — by either listening to the song, or reading the title of the song or simply noting that the song “911 Is A Joke” was on an album released on May 26, 1990.chuckd

To his credit, Linkins did not put the last words of that sentence IN CAPITAL LETTERS. For the record (again!) the lyric in question is:

So get up, get, get get down
911 is a joke in yo town
Get up, get, get, get down
Late 911 wears the late crown

Ow, ow 911 is a joke

In more ways than one.

Is that a puppet in your sock or are you just glad to see me? Inside Baseball Alert: For Calbuzz, the big kerfuffle over Steve Poizner campaign cash finding its way into the wallet of a conservative blogger who spent his days writing posts that gushed praise for Steve Poizner raises one very fundamental question:

You mean people get paid for blogging?

york_moviestillA quick refresher for those who got drunk and slept through the day: Chip Hanlon, CEO of the right-wing blog Red County, put up a post Wednesday informing his readers that he has banned from the site the blogger formerly known as Sgt. York (who in real life is Placer County GOP activist Aaron Park). Hanlon, it seems, belatedly discovered that the Sarge was receiving payments from a consultant called Steve Frank who was himself receiving payments from Team Poizner; Sarge, it seems, neglected to mention this sort of significant, um, fiduciary relationship to Hanlon.

Complications ensued.

For more on the facts of the case, see posts by Joe Garofoli and Martin Wisckol. Here’s our take:

1-We just love this whole Orange County Republican rat-fucking political culture and the steady stream of sleazy soap operas it produces.

2- HT to Hanlon for canning Sgt. York and disclosing the matter to his readers. At a time when ethical blogging is too often an oxymoron, it’s nice to see somebody step up to defend his credibility.

3-Team Poizner’s response which amounts to  “everybody does it and 1smellfishbesides, we didn’t know anything about it” doesn’t pass the smell test.

4-Hanlon’s secondary claim that Poizner’s camp froze him out and ignored his requests for e-mailed campaign info is over the top, as this would mark the first time in the history of American politics such a thing happened.

5-There are not enough facts in evidence for us to adjudicate the bitter exchange between Hanlon and Poizner flack Jarrod Agen about whether the site is in the tank for eMeg because she buys a lot of advertising. Did we mention we’re not getting paid?

6-The whole dispute returns us to some broader issues we raised a while back about using partisan web sites as third party validators in campaign material:

In other words, does the singular fact that something is published on a web site, any web site, qualify that information to be employed by a serious contender leveling a serious charge in a big statewide race?

If it is, what is to prevent candidates from using campaign cut-outs, perhaps clad in pajamas and tin foil hats, from posting all manner of web-based vitriol beneath all manner of screamer headlines, and then featuring those posts in TV attack ads as evidence that neutral parties think ill thoughts about their rival?

Roseanne_RoseannadannaWhere, exactly, is the line to be drawn? Or is the very notion of a line self-incriminating evidence of discredited MSM-style thinking?

As Roseanne Roseannadanna famously said, “You sure do ask a lot of stupid questions.”

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: The Silicon Valley Insider reveals hidden secrets of AOL bloggers.