Posts Tagged ‘Linda McMahon’

GOP Fail: Meyer, Oprah and Voter Orgasms in Spain

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

In a week when the flimsy line between politics and entertainment grew teenier than ever, Calbuzz cartoonist Tom Meyer offers some sage strategic advice to California Republicans, who are desperate to gain support among women and Latinos – two crucial groups whose strong Democratic ties help explain why the Golden State grew bluer than ever in the year of the GOP’s red tide.

While Oprah has been broadcast in Spanish for more than two years now,  the big brains running the California Republican Party apparently haven’t gotten the memo, as GOP state chairman Ron Nehring blames his party’s pathetic statewide showing on a failure of “communications” in “brand” marketing.

“The leadership is brain-dead,” countered longtime Republican operative Tony Quinn, in a somewhat more succinct analysis offered to the Sacbee’s ubiquitous Jack Chang. “The demographic problem is Republicans have become a party of old white people, and these are people who really want an idealistic view such as what they think existed in California 50 years ago.”

Despite Neanderthal Nehring’s argument that the state GOP just needs to do a better job of advertising the popularity of their ideas among the Fred Flinstone cohort, the latest data from the L.A, Times/USC poll (see here here and here ) strongly suggests otherwise, as the always-worth-reading Cathleen Decker reported: “The party faces a critical collision between its own voters, a minority in California, and those it needs to attract to win.”

So in grateful return for that non-stop flood of “ICYMI” memos the state GOP sent our way in 2010, here’s a Calbuzz version backatcha.

Fun with numbers: In prize-winning fashion, Jerry Brown never tired of reminding voters that Meg Whitman’s not-very-original definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

But you gotta’ hand to Her Megness for persistence: she never let her own clichés stand in the way of her crazed and delusional determination that she could be elected governor if she just kept tossing good money after bad; our gal pitched a last-gasp $2.6 million of pin money into her campaign on election day, bringing the personal megabucks investment in her one-for-the-history books Really Big Fail to $144,155,806.11.

Putting aside the $30 million or so in chump change she raised from fellow plutocrats, that works out to an average of $228,460.86 per day — $9,519.20 per hour, $158.60 per minute and $2.64 per second – 24/7, each and every one of the 631 days she was in the race. (The final final numbers, still not available, will make for some really impressive gee whiz computations.)

If that seems a bit…excessive…consider this: as a political matter, the net effect of the money was to win Whitman 41% of the statewide vote total; that’s only 10% above the Republican 31% share of statewide registration – or $14 million per percentage point above the base vote she would have won if she hadn’t spent a penny.

For comparison’s sake, the GOP candidates for Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner, none of whom had bupkus to spend, averaged 37% of the statewide vote, meaning all of eMeg’s loot basically  bought her an extra 4% of the vote – or $35 million per percentage point.

Oh well. From what we hear, at least the checks cleared for all of the brilliant strategists and consultants who fleeced her rode the gravy train while it lasted. God, we miss her already.

For those keeping score at home: When she writes her next self-serving memoir – “The Power of Money”? – at least eMeg will have the satisfaction of letting readers know that, despite shattering all records for most dollars spent on a political race in the U.S. ,the $57 per vote she forked out was peanuts compared to the $97 that World Wrestling Entertainment crotch kicker CEO Linda McMahon lavished on each Nutmegger who cast a ballot for her losing Republican bid for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut.

And as long as we’re talking mondo money, it’s worth noting that the biggest single spender on the initiative side of the ballot wasn’t the CTA, the CCPOA or the California Chamber of Commerce; as Tracey Kaplan reports in a nice Murky News piece, that honor goes to Charles T. Munger, Jr., a Stanford physics geek who tossed $12.6 million of his own fortune into Proposition 20, the measure taking away from the legislature the power to draw new lines for congressional seats and giving it to an independent reapportionment commission.

“You need to go into the world and do something that’s needed,” said Munger, 54. “So I gave California fair elections. I gave the voters back their democracy.”

Of course, the big difference between Munger and Whitman is that he, you know, won.

Memo to Ron Nehring (eyes only): Maybe this approach might work with women voters next time around.  Seems consistent with that whole “personal liberty” thing, anyway.

More Thunder from eMeg’s Right; Carla Held Hostage

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Little noticed among all the Ken und John Sturm und Drang came  another right-wing whack at Meg Whitman’s campaign prevarications, from a less  cacophonous, but arguably more consequential, conservative quarter.

Peter Foy, a Ventura County supervisor and a favorite of Tea Party and other hardline precincts, took eMeg to task in a SignOnSan Diego piece (h/t Jon Fleischman) for her flip-flopping flexibility on immigration and climate change, a post showing that conservative dismay with Our Meg is not limited to the yakkers and shouters on the AM band.

Foy played a high-profile role in sinking Governor Schwarzmuscle’s budget plan in last year’s special election, characterizing both Whitman and Steve Poizner as “squishy” on that and other fiscal matters in an interview with Calbuzz at a time when he was taking a semi-serious look at running for the big job himself.

In his new piece, Foy declared himself “a Whitman supporter,” but was unstinting and surgical in slicing her in the very spots where she was pounded last week on talk radio.

It’s troubling that Meg Whitman – the billionaire first-time candidate seeking to become California’s next governor – is running the most conventional of too-clever-by-half campaigns. If she stubbornly continues this aloof tactical venture she will almost surely lose and won’t deserve to win…

While Whitman and her advisers understand the need to reach out to diverse constituencies, ham-handed efforts to woo Latinos (and other favored groups) are likely to both fail to launch and even blow up in their face…

They are likely to see this for the kaleidoscopic approach it is – inviting people to see what they want to see – and could punish Whitman even more severely than they would a different politician.

Here’s why. Whitman obviously has special appeal and the independent, outsider profile many voters say they are looking for. But if she’s simply going to advance the most expensive version of a bargain-basement campaign, Whitman is literally inviting voters to view her as calculating and even manipulative. While this is dangerous for a veteran politician, it’s lethal for a newcomer.

Over at Fox and Hounds, the estimable Joe Mathews argues that Meg’s appearance on John and Ken was a “Sister Souljah” moment that will help her image among independent voters by showing she’s not afraid to stand up to the most raucous elements of her party. We say: Not so much.

Unlike the talk show boys, Foy is a well-starched, perfectly respectable, establishment arch-conservative. As a political matter, it’s significant that he not only sounds the same  themes as John and Ken but also echoes the argument, made by independent voices like ours, plus progressive sites like Calitics, that Meg’s tell-everyone-what-they-want-to-hear pattern of behavior is most troubling, not as a policy issue, but as a character flaw.

…Their hearts and minds will follow: Maybe eMeg should stop with all the too clever by half moves and be more like Linda McMahon in taking a more ballsy approach.

Just askin’: Has there ever been a goofier idea by a news organization than the Chronicle’s effort to goose print circulation by delaying for 48 hours the posting of some of its best stories on SFGate?

A half-baked hybrid version of Rupert Murdoch’s attempt to force readers to pay for content one way or another (which itself is not exactly off to a roaring start) the Hearst Chron’s strategy of holding its own Sunday edition journalism hostage seems to be having three main effects:

1) it keeps some of the best work of its reporters out of the real-time conversation that drives the 24/7 news cycle;

2) it gives more eyeballs to the competition, as folks in search of new news head to the L.A. Times or SacBee to find it;

3) it drives traffic to aggregation sites which find and post the Chron’s stories despite the paper’s delusional notion that it can exercise singular control over the flow of online information.

For example, this Sunday the Chron kept Willie Brown’s column off the web, so readers in search of his latest take on the governor’s race (“Nerdy Jerry Brown a Formidable Opponent,” read the good hed, which was all a reader could read) was directed to this note:

This story is exclusive to the Chronicle’s Sunday print edition and will not appear on SFGate.com until 4:00 AM on Tuesday, August 10. To buy an electronic version of the Sunday paper now, go to…Print subscribers can go to…to sign up for free e-editions.

Hold your horses, Maude! Let’s forget that picnic and hike in the Berkeley hills – I really need to spend half the day navigating the Chron’s web site to read “Willie’s World.”

Readers encountered a similar M.C. Escher-like maze if they clicked on Carla Marinucci’s Sunday blog post (hopefully through the link on the Calbuzz Blogroll of Honor) where she offered a sketchy version of Jerry Brown’s just-released jobs plan, then appended this sad little lose-friends-and-don’t influence people note:

UPDATE: Check today’s San Francisco Chronicle for a “print-only” exclusive analysis of the jobs proposals being offered by both gubernatorial candidates, Brown and Whitman, as well as the candidates for U.S. Senate — Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer and GOP challenger Carly Fiorina. The “print only” exclusive will be released to the web on Tuesday morning…

Rather than wait until Tuesday morning, however, political junkies who cared found the very good, “exclusive analysis” of the jobs issue, which Marinucci co-wrote with boy wonder Drew Joseph, over at Jack Kavanagh’s Rough & Tumble , where it was posted more than 24 hours before it appeared “exclusively” on SFGate.

While the pathway the story took to R&T is not entirely clear, at least one key thing is: keeping information barricaded behind walls is kind of like running the 100-yard dash with water cupped safely in your hands.

Update 7:41 a.m. Rough and Tumble’s Jack Kavanagh checks in with this on the Chron/48-hour delay imbroglio:

I never link to Chronicle stories that are being withheld from the Internet on Sunday.

I only link to items readily available on the Chronicle site or the Chronicle politics blog.

The story you referenced by Carla was either available on the site or on the blog.

By the time the stories that are withheld by the Chronicle on Sunday are released on the following Wednesday, I generally ignore them mainly because by that time they are generally pretty stale.

Emphasis in original. We rest our case.

Memo to Frank Vega: Great Cesar’s Ghost, man! Free Willie, Carla, Drew, Phil, Andy and all political prisoners!

Top Ads & the Return of the Calbuzz Election Pool

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Although California’s big statewide races seem headed for what you call your anti-climatic conclusions, there’s still plenty of, um, drama in today’s primary voting.

With our long statewide nightmare almost over, Calbuzz understands that you’re rightfully worried that you’ll fall asleep in front of the TV, drifting off in the recliner and choking yourself blue on a slice of unchewed election night pizza.

Well worry no more. Just enter the Calbuzz Election Pool and you’ll have a rooting interest that will keep you up until every dang vote has been tallied in the classic Dave Jones-Hector De La Torre match up and it’s clear whether Barbara Alby has kept alive her hopes of winning a full term in the Second District of the Board of Eek.

Send us an email (calbuzzer@gmail.com) with your answers to the six questions below before the polls close and contend for Big Prizes:

1st Place – A free 500 word rant on Calbuzz on subject of your choice and two (2) rare edition Calbuzz Guy-With-Finger-In-the-Socket buttons.
2nd Place – Three (3) rare edition Calbuzz-Guy-With-His-Finger-In-the-Socket buttons.
3rd Prize – Free invite to Our Dinner with eMeg (we’ll let you know the date soon!) and four (4) rare edition Calbuzz-Guy-With-His-Finger-In-The-Socket buttons.

Calbuzz Election Pool Questions

1-Who will finish SECOND in the Democratic primary for governor?

2-Who will finish THIRD in the Republican primary for governor?

3-Who will win the nominations for Lieutenant Governor?
a) Democrat
b) Republican

4-Who will win the nominations for Attorney General?
a) Democrat
b) Republican

5-What will be the voter turnout for the primary?

Tiebreaker: How many votes will Birther Leader Orly Taitz win for Secretary of State?

Deadline: 7:59 p.m. (PDT) Tuesday June 8, 2010.

Free speech isn’t free: Calbuzz is not like all these earnest MSM types who feel compelled to express their faux weariness and outrage at the barrage of negative ads that have filled the airwaves for the past two months, while warning voters there’s no end in sight, sigh, sigh.

We LOVE this stuff, and hope that the nominees start tearing each other’s faces off — in a civil, responsible and respectful way, of course –- the day after the primary.

In the meantime, here’s a list of some of our favorite primary ads you may not have seen:

1-Dale Peterson for Alabama Agriculture Commissioner. If you haven’t seen this one yet, you’ve missed the single greatest ad of the season, if not all time. It’s simply beyond comprehension that Dale finished third in the GOP ag commission contest.

2-Nikki Haley for South Carolina Governor (Inner Monologue edition).  State Rep. Nikki Haley, Tea Party toastee and Sarah Palin galpal, was surging in the GOP primary for governor when not one, but two, good ole boy political consultants in Columbia suddenly confessed to having had affairs with her* while, for good measure, a red neck state senator called her a “raghead” because of her Indian ethnic roots. This ad was her response, with some helpful thought balloons courtesy of Slate.com.

3-Sue Lowden for U.S. Senate, Nevada. Former Nevada state party chair Sue Lowden used to be the front-runner for the Republican nomination to challenge embattled Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, until she suggested that barter might be a better system for getting medical care than health insurance. This IE spot is one of a host of web and broadcast ads that knocked her out of that position.

4-Sharron Angle for U.S. Senate, Nevada. Not sure what’s in the water in Nevada, but Lowden’s fall in the GOP Senate contest was matched by the rise of former state legislator Angle, who’s running with the enthusiastic backing of the Tea Party, despite her support of an unusual prison rehabilitation program based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard.

5-Rick Snyder for Michigan Governor. Far Side adman Fred Davis brought unknown businessman Rick Snyder from nowhere to major contender for the Republican nomination for governor in the Wolverine State in a matter of weeks by turning his weakness into a strength, positioning him as “one tough nerd.”

6-Carly Fiorina for U.S. Senate California. Speaking of Davis, he’s gotten all kinds of notice for the infamous “Demon Sheep” web ad he produced for Fiorina to attack Tom Campbell in the GOP Senate primary, but we feel too much of the attention came at the expense of his auteurship of the much more textured and layered Hidenboxer which came and went so fast it deserves a second look.

7-Linda McMahon for U.S. Senate, Connecticut. This one is still just a little zygote of an ad, but we’re guessing it won’t be long before it’s full-grown. Years before she became the Republican front-runner for the GOP nomination for Senate, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO McMahon toughened herself up by getting tombstoned. After this, Richard Blumenthal is a walk in the park.

8-John McCain for U.S. Senate, Arizona. Facing a Tea Party-backed primary election insurgence from radio talk show host J.D. Hayworth, Big Mac went slightly berserk in presenting his rival as a birther-believing, blood-sucking, dumb-ass champion of man-horse marriage. Love the Lion King stuff.

9-Dwight McKenna for New Orleans Coroner. Longtime New Orleans coroner Frank Minyard’s office was implicated in allegations of illegal sales of body parts a few years back, so it was only natural that challenger Dwight McKenna had little choice politically but to portray the incumbent as a mad scientist waving innards at Igor.

10-Gavin Newsom for Lieutenant Governor (or anything else). Okay, so this one is really a 2008 ad, but if Prince Gavin wins the Democratic nod for Lieutenant Governor, we expect that you’re going to see something very similar to this in the general election. Whether you like it or not.

*L’affaire Nikki, btw, also generated one of our favorite quotes from the primary season, in this Washpost wrap—up of the bizarre contest:

“I don’t know what they served at the annual Silver Elephant Dinner for Republicans,” said Dick Harpootlian, a former state Democratic Party chairman, “but it must’ve been a combination of some hallucinogenic and Viagra in the punch, because they’re rutting like bull elephants.”

General election kickoff: With only 147 days until the Nov. 2 election, here’s a look at the vote reg political landscape the candidates will be navigating.

End Note Prediction: The statement Carly Fiorina will most regret having made: “I absolutely would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade if the opportunity presented itself.” Cited in The New Yorker, 6/7/10.

Don’t forget to vote.