Posts Tagged ‘Lyndon Johnson’

Jerry Blows His Only Play, Turns on Clinton

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Updated 8 am: In our original post, Calbuzz set out what we thought was Jerry Brown’s best option for dealing with Meg Whitman’s new killer ad.

Brown then turned around and did the one, ridiculous thing it never occurred to us he could be dumb enough to do: Pick a new fight with Clinton, as shown on this video clip reported by Time’s Mark Halperin and ABC’s Jonathan Karl.

Unbelievable. Good luck with getting help from the Clintons now, Gandalf.

(For the record, at 8 am, we also updated the hed on this post, which originally read: “Jerry’s Only Play: Get Clinton to Attack Brooks Jackson”).

Fueled by 5-Hour Energy Berry Flavor shots, Calbuzz spent an edgy, sleepless weekend closely monitoring short-wave radio reports about the blazing fusillades of budget facts and figures the rival campaigns for governor exchanged over Meg Whitman’s latest ad attack on Jerry Brown.

The ad features a short clip from a contentious April 1992 Democratic presidential primary debate between Brown and Bill Clinton, during which Bubba cited CNN to charge that a) Krusty raised taxes as California governor and b) lied about his record in doing so.

As we forecast on Friday, shortly after Team Whitman first aired the tough spot, the truthiness of its allegations would be found in weighing the conflicting evidence presented by Brown’s campaign and Brooks Jackson, the former CNN reporter who now runs factcheck.org at the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Whitman’s (and Clinton’s) evidence is a report by CNN’s Brooks Jackson; Brown’s claim that taxes were cut by about $16 billion during his tenure (not counting Prop. 13) cites the 1981 Economic Report of the Governor from the California Department of Finance.

There followed a 48-hour whirl of unstinting effort by Department of Finance flack H.D. (“guess I lost your number”) Palmer, determined persistence by MSM journos Ken McLaughlin and Seema Metha, and fact-checking of two decade old fact-checking by stand-up-guy Jackson himself.

“I was wrong when I said that “state taxes were still higher” during his last year than when he began. In fact, they were a bit lower,” Jackson wrote after reviewing the actual facts.

Now that the smoke has cleared over the battlefield, Calbuzz can ride in to shoot the wounded while reporting the clear and unequivocal bottom line of the episode as follows:

1-Taxes inarguably went down over the period of Brown’s two terms as governor, according to non-partisan state budget records.

2-Jackson’s 1992 report, and therefore Clinton’s derivative attack on Brown, was incorrect, because, as he acknowledged, Brooks used the wrong start and end dates to make his calculations.

3-The Empire of eMeg couldn’t care less about the truth or falsity of the substance of the attack they’re making, and intend to keep running their killer ad.

Sez eMeg chief deputy under assistant purse carrier Tucker Bounds:

CNN is a lot less relevant than the indisputable fact that Bill Clinton, not me, said that Jerry Brown turned a $6-billion surplus into a $1-billion deficit, opposed Proposition 13 and ‘doesn’t tell people’ the truth.

To which Sterling Clifford, trusty Gandalf message bearer, stamps his foot and responds:

For Meg Whitman to continue running an ad she knows is false is intentional dishonesty, and voters should expect better from a candidate for governor.

Oh, that.

No truth, no consequences: As all loyal Calbuzzers know, the Whitman for Governor campaign represents Exhibit A for the most distressing national and state political trend of the millennium (“Ground Zero mosque” anyone?) which we termed in this essay, “The Death of  Truth.”

It’s now clear that a candidate with unlimited resources can and will blow off complaints, critiques and factual analyses of those who dare to speak up and will instead declare that the truth is whatever he or she says it is — in their paid advertising and the assertions of their mercenary prevaricators.

To summarize the instant case: independent, unbought-and-unpaid-for, third party finders of fact determine that Whitman’s charge is untrue, but she pays no price for continuing to air it, as her army of lavishly paid water-muddiers simply persist in performing an ape dance of ersatz fact-based debate, which to an average voter may seem so…confusing…and…boring and…oh look, there’s Bill Clinton calling Jerry Brown a liar again…

Why take down the ad if it’s working? That’s got to be eMeg’s calculation.

So what’s a 72-year old Zen Jesuit to do? Brown has four options:

a-Put up his own ad calling Meg a liar for continuing to run an ad which isn’t true. Problem: talk about your expensive He-Said-She-Saids.

b-Complain endlessly to the MSM. Problem: Have you looked at newspaper circulation trends lately?

c-Ignore it and move on. Problem: The key to his campaign narrative is his authenticity vs. her phony marketing campaign – he can’t afford to have a debate over honesty simply be a draw.

d-Get Clinton to make an ad, or at least a public statement, on Brown’s behalf, to wit: “My charge back in 1992 that Jerry Brown raised taxes when he was governor was based on a news report we now know was incorrect.  Jerry Brown didn’t raise taxes. And Meg Whitman knows it. It’s just dishonest of her to use me to make her case. ‘Cause if I could vote in California, I’d vote for Jerry Brown and I think you should too.”

As a tactical matter, Brown has at least a couple of plays here: Plead with Dianne Feinstein to make a call to her pal Hillary Clinton to have her make a call to Bubba, if she can find him. Or enlist AFSCME president Jerry McEntee or another labor bigwig close to Hillary, to make the ask. Or call on Barbara Boxer, who is close to the Clintons, or Ron Burkle, or Steven Spielberg.

Oh sure, there’s a long history of, um, really bad blood there. But Brown can certainly appeal to Clinton’s historic relationship to California — in 1992, he became the first Democrat to win the state since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and, in the process, picked what was at the time called “the lock” Republicans had on the electoral college. If he ever wants Hillary (Chelsea?) to be president, he sure doesn’t want Whitman as governor of California. He may not like Brown, but wouldn’t he rather have him as governor than her?

And as Shimon Peres famously said, “Peace is made with yesterday’s enemies – what is the alternative?”

Happy Presidents (Presidents’) Day Sale

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Calbuzz staff psychiatrist Dr. P.J Hackenflack today returns from special assignment in Sacramento, where he’s been working night and day to plumb the depths of Abel Maldonado’s identity crisis.

An esteemed graduate of the Sigmund Freud University of Priapus Studies, Special Occasion and Holiday Celebrations, Dr. H is uniquely qualified to untangle for our readers the twisted political history of Presidents Day, an American holiday unlike any other in its confusing complexity and entropic randomness. Here is a text of remarks he has prepared for delivery at a P-Day celebration in the appliance department of Sears near Chloride City. Plenty of free parking.

Good morning.

On behalf of my colleagues at Calbuzz, a very merry,
healthful and prosperous President’s Day to one and all.
Or is it Presidents’ Day? Or maybe Presidents Day? Whatever.

Today we celebrate with kith and kin the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.  As every school child knows, the Act, also known as Public Law 90-363, established in 1971 a national holiday to observe George Washington’s birthday annually on the third Monday of February. Even though he was born on Feb. 22, a date that never falls on the third Monday of February. Whatever.

Actually George was born on Feb. 11, 1732. But, as every school child knows, the 11th got switched to the 22nd when our brave, still nascent nation changed from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, 20 years after he was born.

History tells us that George appears to have been all right with the change, even though Feb. 11 never falls on the third Monday in February either. Whatever.

This solemn and joyous national celebration that we mark today was designed for two noble reasons:

Because federal employee unions wanted more three-day weekends for their members. And retailers were looking for another big sales window to shove consumer products that people didn’t really need down their throats with loads of hysterical advertising featuring pictures of Washington and Abraham Lincoln wearing funny hats and making funny faces.

Or as President Lyndon Johnson put it in his signing statement:

THE BILL that we sign today will help Americans to enjoy more fully the country that is their magnificent heritage. It will also aid the work of Government and bring new efficiency to our economy… Americans will be able to participate in a wider range of recreational and cultural activities.

Cultural activities like buying cars and big screen TVs and Nikes, which is why those of you who work at Fry’s and Foot Locker don’t have the day off.

Speaking of which: what about that whole Abe Lincoln thing?

His birthday is Feb. 12, which never falls on the third Monday of the month, either. But everybody thinks that they stuck Presidents’ Day between the two birthdays for a combined celebration of the Father of Our Country and the Great Emancipator. Duhh: everybody’s wrong – there’s no national holiday called Presidents’ Day. Whatever.

Back in the day, there was a bill introduced to make it a combined holiday. But it didn’t have the votes to get out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. So the feds officially call Presidents’ Day Washington’s Birthday.

Nobody’s quite sure why the other thing didn’t fly- maybe George’s relatives greased up committee members with campaign contributions, or sweetheart deals on big-ass cabinet color TVs or something. Whatever.

The Senate be damned, a bunch of states, including California, decided to have their own presidents days anyway. After that: all marketing and advertising all the time.

Only problem was, they couldn’t agree on how to spell it;. Some states call it
Presidents’ Day, which the Chicago Manual of Style thinks is all right. But the AP, which thinks using nouns as adjectives is a great idea, uses Presidents Day.

One thing’s for sure: President’s Day is widely frowned upon by grammar disciplinarians, even though everybody seems fine  putting the apostrophe in the same place when they spell Washington’s Birthday. Whatever.

Anyway, I’m off to Best Buy to get myself a 60″ Class AQUOS LC-60E77UN  large-screen flat-panel, with full HD 1080p resolution. Is this a great country or what? So Happy Birthday George and Abe. Or whatever.