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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Halperin’



Press Clips: Sarah Palin, Wikileaks and RIP CRP

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Whither the GOP II: Word for word, the greatest headline ever written was “Headless Body in Topless Bar,” the New York Post’s slammer  on its story about a gruesome decapitation murder committed at Herbie’s Bar, a Queens strip club, on April 13, 1983 (memo to obsessive copy desk types: spare us your email, “Ford to City: Drop Dead” ain’t even close).

With its punchiness and taut economy of language, the hed came to mind as we culled the web for posts pertaining to our oft-commented-on piece story offering some prescriptive advice to the dog-ass California Republican Party, and stumbled upon this trenchant analysis by Robert Cruickshank over at Calitics.

In short, California Republicans are fucked.

While one word longer than the Post’s iconic hed, and lacking its sheer wordsmithing poetry, the Oracle’s powerhouse proclamation nonetheless wins the Calbuzz “Herbie” Award for cut-to-the-bone storytelling, at a time when the uncertain future of the state Republican Party is the subject of far more wordy fulmination across the internets.

The data point of departure for most of the discussion is the L.A. Times/USC poll which found, among other things, that one in five voters say they would never vote for a Republican under any circumstance, and that large majorities of voters express principled contempt for GOP policies on key ideological issues like environmental regulation and immigration.

To our surprise, we found  few offerings that suggest a pathway back to relevance for the GOP, in the positive and upbeat manner of, oh say, Calbuzz (“Issue Oriented – Solution Driven”) itself.

Among such scant offerings, a brave effort by Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy (who we early on did our best to gin up as a possible contender  in the governor’s race) rose to the top of the heap. Writing over at Flashreport ,Foy noted the bevy of anti-government ballot initiatives just passed by voters and suggested that Republicans can attract them with “policies consistent with our conservative values and…new leaders who can inspire a new generation of California voters.”

Besides this murky proposal, what was truly notable in the piece was how Foy correctly pointed the finger directly at Meg Whitman’s crucial role in the party’s 2010 failure.

In 2010, I campaigned all across the state and met thousands of voters.  While I didn’t sense open hostility towards Meg Whitman, her campaign generated a sort of hard-to-describe unease.  Republican activists were detached from her candidacy.

While Whitman pledged to do many right and necessary things as governor, many felt her to be a stranger, despite seeing hundreds (if not more) of her campaign commercials.  Paradoxically, the more ads they saw, the more ambiguous Whitman became.  Try as she might, she appeared analytical and calculating, rather than heartfelt and energized…

This year, the Whitman campaign executed a corporate-style branding strategy with the most extensive communications effort in memory backed by more money than any state campaign in history.  It utterly failed.

I believe it lacked any consequential connection to the public’s view of our state.  It tried to entice voters, rather than engage them.  And it tried to sell them on a product rather than persuade them in an ideal.

Beyond Foy’s manly effort, however, it appears that many among the still-sane sector of the CRP share the same view as Cruickshank, albeit more politely. Chief among this contingent is veteran GOP operative and analyst Tony Quinn who portrayed the plight of state Republicans in harshly stark terms:

Today’s California Republican Party is a regional party with declining registration and a lack of any presence at all in the San Francisco Bay Area and in all but a sliver of Los Angeles County.  That is half the state where the Republican Party no longer exists.

The days of Republicans winning statewide office – other than with an Arnold Schwarzenegger – has certainly past.

Ouch.

Does this woman ever shut up: All right-thinking people agree that Sarah Palin couldn’t find her ass with two hands if she had a map. That being said, it greatly pains and baffles us why the mighty MSM and the Beltway Big Feet insist on treating her endless self-serving tweets and Facebook postings as if they were news, instead of third-rate press releases

When the media on Monday trumpeted coast to coast Palin’s insipid comments bashing Obama for the latest Wikileaks document dump, we at first thought our head would explode (Fortunately we averted disaster by breathing deeply and assuming Bikram yoga posture #15 – “Wind Removing Pose” – until regaining our emotional balance).

Here’s the thing: Whether Palin is defending childhood obesity , attacking Mark Halperin, backing her 16-year old brat’s use of homophobic slurs or mixing up North and South Korea doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that the nation’s newsrooms and political press acts as if it does, as Huffpost blogger Mitchell Bard properly noted:

The real story, though, isn’t that Palin said “North” instead of “South.” Let’s be honest: Vice President Joe Biden could have just as easily blown a line like that.

No, the real story is that Palin was discussing a complex, precarious, highly dangerous issue as if she were an expert, even though she clearly isn’t.

Does anyone outside of Palin’s relatively small group of smitten followers honestly believe that she is competent to act as an expert on Korean policy? That she knows the intricacies and risks of engaging with the North Koreans? That she understands the possible leadership struggle going on there? Do you think she has the first clue about the history of Korea over the last century? Do you think she’s ever heard of Syngman Rhee, the Bodo League massacre, the Battle of Inchon, or National Security Council Report 68, or that she knows about the decades of Japanese rule in Korea? Do you think she’s ever read about the role the propaganda efforts of the post-Stalin Soviet government played in the eventual armistice that ended the fighting?

…That’s the real story about the Palin flub about North Korea that the media isn’t covering. It’s not that she misspoke, but that anyone cared what she had to say on the issue in the first place.

While many in the national GOP privately  view with horror the specter of a Palin candidacy, few of them have the stones to denounce her, fearful of the wrath of her base among Jerry Springer Republicans. So it was refreshing to see MSNBC yakker and former congressman Joe Scarborough stand up and take her on:

Palin is not a stupid woman. But like the current president, she still does not know what she does not know. And she does know how to make millions of dollars, even if she embarrasses herself while doing it.

That reality hardly makes Palin unique, but this is one Republican who would prefer that the former half-term governor promote her reality shows and hawk her books without demeaning the reputations of Presidents Reagan and Bush. These great men dedicated their lives to public service and are too good to be fodder for her gaudy circus sideshow.

If Republicans want to embrace Palin as a cultural icon whose anti-intellectualism fulfills a base political need, then have at it. I suppose it’s cheaper than therapy.

But if the party of Ronald Reagan, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio wants to return to the White House anytime soon, it’s time that Republican leaders started standing up and speaking the truth to Palin.

Good for Scarborough, but we’re unconvinced that the spectacle of a Palin presidency is all that beyond imagination.

The plain fact is that Palin is a truly dangerous person, a narcissistic, anti-intellectual demagogue playing on the fears and prejudices of modern Know-Nothings for no substantial purpose beyond her own self-aggrandizement and thirst for power.

Democrats – and serious Republicans – who chortle and mock her chances of winning the presidency in 2012 do so at their peril, particularly if the race gets complicated by the entry of an independent, like Michael Bloomberg (or Palin, herself, after losing the GOP nomination) and the matter gets tossed to a House of Representatives controlled by right-wing Republicans.

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?”

Jerry Brown: Grasshopper or Lotus Flower?

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Today, Calbuzzard cartoonist Tom Meyer provides a rare, behind-the-scenes peek inside the inner sanctum of the state Attorney General’s campaign headquarters, and finds the Democratic nominee for governor… sitting on his ass. With anxious Democrats from one end of the state to the other wetting the bed over Krusty the General’s Sun Tzu fight-by-indirection approach to the battle for governor (“He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious” ) to be disquieting, if not downright scary. Meyer reports that Brown is nothing if not focused. What exactly it is he’s focused on is another issue.

Just in time for Christmas! Calbuzzers interested in owning a full color print of a Meyer cartoon (suitable for framing) should email Tom at tom@meyertoons.com .

As the world of eMeg turns: It’s a close call whether Meg Whitman’s performance on the campaign trail this week bore more resemblance to a) one of those old Saturday Night Live skits where Chevy Chase falls down a flight of stairs, trips, knocks over a full banquet table and lands flat on his ass or b) Professor Irwin Corey explaining the meaning of life:

One of the things that you’ve got to understand is that we’ve got to develop a continuity in order to relate to exacerbate those whose curiosity has not been defended, yet the information given can no longer be used as allegoric because the defendant does not use the evidence which can be substantiated by…What was the question?

While endlessly entertaining for the California press corps, eMeg’s inability to keep straight what she said a day or two before, let alone the primary, about immigration or immigration or immigration or state worker furloughs put her at times in Sarah Palin territory, if not quite at the level of Michelle Bachmann.

Given eMeg’s proven inability to speak consistently, if not coherently, about major issues that you’d like to think she was catching on about by now, it’s no surprise that Calbuzz hears on the street that she’s doubling down on her current L.A. TV buys – putting her in the neighborhood of $1.2 million a week – a quick and nifty way to make sure voters hear what her handlers want her message to be, even if she’s not quite capable of saying it herself.

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

P.S. We also hear that the next round of eMeg ads will include a batch of new positives. Concerned about the unfavorable image voters have of her, look for her well-paid and well-fed Svengalis to roll out the Meg Whitman Charm Offensive before long.

Anonymous sources always welcome here: A mere 28 months before the presidential election, coat holders for eMeg mentor Mitt Romney and potential rival Palin are already trading cheap insults under cover of anonymity granted them by national political reporters who just can’t wait to get things going.

It started when Time’s Mark Halperin quoted a couple of Romney advisers: “If she’s standing up there in a debate and the answers are more than 15 seconds long, she’s in trouble,” said one. “She’s not a serious human being,” chipped in another.

Then Politico joined the fray, quoting an unnamed Palin partisan returning fire. And Huffpost media writer Jason Linkins is the only reporter to date to notice the circle-within-circles absurdity of Politico’s sourcing of this blind quote:

“For Washington consultants to sit around and personally disparage the governor anonymously to reporters is unfortunate and counterproductive and frankly immature,” said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

As Linkins noted: “It’s as if words have no meaning at all.”

How many times do we have to tell you guys to hire a copy editor: Speaking of linguistic nullity, the Empire of eMeg struck again after the big California Nurses Association protest outside her Atherton spread, when a newly-anointed member of the Meg Whitman Nurses Advisory Committee snarled that “this partisan union is going to obscene lengths to win Jerry Brown’s third term,” and then concluded with this clunker, captured forever by the Coco Times:

“The CNA is shamelessly misrepresenting a respected profession for partisan political gain and it’s a shame.”

Shamefully, their shamelessness apparently still has a shame. For shame.

DiFi Shocker: Whadya Mean She’s Not Running?!?!?

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Feinstein shocker: We were floored – floored! – at Dianne Feinstein’s announcement in Orange County Tuesday that she’s decided not to run for governor.

Not because she turned thumbs down on the campaign, but because as a Convent of the Sacred Heart girl, we expected she would have the grace and courtesy to hold off until the official first anniversary of the piece with which we launched Calbuzz – “Why Dianne Feinstein Won’t Run for Governor” – so we could mark the momentous occasion in a properly flamboyant manner.

Madeline Sophie Barat would be soooo disappointed in you, Dianne.

We did, however, get a kick out of the world-weary tone of Dena Bunis, the Register’s DC chef de bureau, in reporting the news:

I don’t know anyone in political circles who really thought Feinstein was going to give up the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee – she’s the first woman to hold that post – to try for another run for California’s chief executive.

Ha! Excuse us while we build a stadium big enough to hold our laughter. Yeah right, no brilliant California cognoscenti insiders had that thought for a second – which is why stories speculating about DiFi jumping into the race got recycled through the California press (and blogosphere) with the regularity of the garbage guys picking up the cans on Monday morning. Sheesh.

There we were, out on the limb, as everyone from Costco Carla to the Oracle of Cruickshank seemed hell bent on sawing off our perch just to see if they could send us crashing to the ground. (Memo to Scott Sabatini at examiner.com: We’ll take our Momo’s martinis very dry).

What’s the matter – Larry King wasn’t available? So after months of bashing Meg Whitman for spending all her time talking to national media types instead of the greasy grubs of the California political press corps, Steve Poizner now decides to nominate a couple of Beltway Wise Guys to moderate the one and only debate he knows he’ll get with the elusive eMeg.

In a letter to the New Majority, the band of fat cats who are sponsoring the debate on March 15, Poizner campaign manager Jim Bognet tells the group’s leaders they have “an opportunity to raise the profile of the New Majority and you are in the rare position to garner significant statewide coverage for the event. “

Fortunately, two well-known and respected journalists have already expressed interest in moderating the debate:

–Juan Williams, Fox News and National Public Radio
–Mark Halperin, Time Magazine and Author of “Game Change”

We feel strongly that this debate should be viewed by as many Californians as possible and involving either of these journalists would greatly increase the likelihood of national cable news coverage or statewide coverage from network affiliates. Having this debate widely televised is key to giving Republican voters across the state the opportunity to learn about the candidates.

You gotta be kiddin’, Bognet. Putting aside the most obvious choice for neutral, well-informed, if not well-groomed, moderators (we name no names) there’s a whole batch of distinguished California types who’d not only do a superb job of making the trains run on time for the TV cameras, but actually know something about  state issues. Think John Diaz, Jack Kavanagh and Warren Olney for starters, not to mention the esteemed Dr. P.J. Hackenflack who, we have on strong authority, is free that evening.

At least she’s consistent: Joe Garafoli’s tape of eMeg cutting and running after one question from the reporters who showed up to cover her Baja Commonwealth Club appearance in Lafayette the other night is an instant classic. Although the quality of the video is only slightly worse than a 7-11 security camera might get of the guy cadging cookies over in Aisle 3, the spectacle of Whitman being hustled away, as if being chased by hyenas, while Costco Carla is in mid-follow-up mode, is priceless.

The volcanic Sara Pompei, one of the cutters-and-runners featured in the tape, insists eMeg is getting a bad rap on the whole she’s-afraid-to-talk-to-informed-reporters meme, noting that the candidate doled out a couple minutes each to several Bay Area TV types this week, including our old friend Hank Plante, who managed a couple nuggets out of her, including her claim that she can identify $15 billion in savings in the budget.

(Hey Meg, here’s a thought: If you really know where to trim $15 billion why not send a note to H.D. Palmer over in Finance and tell the poor, ignorant bastard where he’s overlooking the obvious savings that you, in all your wisdom, have divined.)

Even as eMeg starts to ease into talking to reporters who actually live here, however, communications director Tucker Bounds let the cat out of the bag in talking to Steve Harmon of  the CoCo Times:

The simple truth is this: California voters watch their local TV news a lot more than they read their local newspaper, and as a result, Meg Whitman has been interviewing with local newscasts at virtually every stop along the campaign trail.

Wait ’til the by-God L.A. Times reads that!

Foy coy no longer: Few Californians statewide have likely heard of Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy, but his endorsement of Poizner this week was a nice little pick-up for The Commish. A darling of the Tea Party set, the name of the conservative Foy was widely batted about early this year as a possible movement conservative to challenge the squishes Poizner and Whitman.

The endorsement of the pro-life Foy will capture the attention of right-wing believers among GOP insiders, folks who actually work on political campaigns:

As much as anything else, we need to have confidence in our governor and a belief in the values and principles he or she will bring to the job. But I ask you today to consider something perhaps even more important: We must also evaluate the judgment and instinct of our candidate and give special consideration to how they will approach those challenges and circumstance we do not foresee today. Whatever the issue, I am confident Steve Poizner will not veer off the conservative course.

Unlike a certain Van Jones-loving, Delta Smelt-coddling, Barbara Boxer kissy-pooing, other so-called Republican he could name but chooses not to in the event she wins the nomination.

In other news: Don Ringe today presents an exclusive interview with Sarah Palin, opining why Foy would have been just the ticket for the state GOP.

Never trust Husband #9: The AP finally tumbled to the fact that “Prince” Frederic van Anhalt, ninth spouse of Zsa Zsa Gabor, has decided to throw his crown into the ring as an independent candidate for governor.

Those who think he’s just another amusing goofball candidate, may wish to check out his background, chronicled in graphic detail by TMZ here, here and here.

AB32 Fight: Smokestack Steve vs. Monoxide Meg

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

smokestacksteve2Throughout our so-called careers, Calbuzz has been consistently entertained by our friend Richie Ross’s talent for concocting cut-to-the-bone epigrams about political campaigning.

“When you’re behind,” Richie once told us, amidst a race where he was running some now-forgotten dog, “always pick a fight.”

The formulation came to mind this week, as Smokestack Steve Poizner took out after Monoxide Meg Whitman, insisting to all who would listen that his position on the environment was waayyy worse than hers.

One day after our piece examining eMeg’s fierce opposition to California’s landmark AB32 climate change legislation (Coincidence? You be the judge) The Commish whacked her as an opportunistic, closet tree-hugger.

megkissingsarah

“Meg’s rhetoric on AB32 is again a sign of the two Meg Whitmans,” said Jarrod Agen, Poizner’s slasher-in-chief. “Campaign trail Meg is making claims that directly contradict her actions and Republican voters will not trust her.”

The me-too attack came as Poizner endorsed the so-called “California Jobs Initiative” being co-sponsored by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Paleolithic, and Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Sirloin. The measure, now being signature circulated, calls for suspension of AB32, until employment levels get back to where they were before it passed in 2006.

056-597But the endorsement was really just an excuse to remind GOP primary voters of eMeg’s eleemosynary contribution of $300K to the Environmental Defense Fund, a strong supporter of AB32, not long after the measure passed, as well as her gushy past praise for ex-Obama Green Czar Van Jones – “I’m a huge fan!” – whom she met on a save-the-earth cruise that also included Jimmy Carter, fercrineoutloud.

Pshaw, dismissively responded the volcanic Sarah Pompei, eMeg’s well-paid responder. Whitman, she said, don’t need no stinkin’ initiatives to crank up the thermostat on the world all by herself.

“The authority to suspend AB32 already exists and Meg is committed to using it on her first day as Governor,” Pompei said, adding that, “as a result of the struggling economy, Meg was the first candidate to call for a suspension of AB32 . . . If there was any possibility that Steve Poizner could be touting those same credentials, well then, he probably would be.”

And thank you for that.

On Monday we presented the case, and the polling to back it up, that a majority of Californians don’t see a huge conflict between environmental protection and economic growth. While Calbuzz is open to being proven wrong (in fact, we’ve made a pretty good living at it), we think racing to the bottom on pollution is strictly a GOP primary strategy that won’t sell in a general election.

angelides

Milk Carton Report: Phil Angelides, who had a charisma bypass before such surgery was fashionable, strode his way into the national spotlight Wednesday, as he opened as chairman the much-anticipated hearings of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

“People are angry,” Angelides said, with the heads of the nation’s two largest banks and two biggest Wall Street firms sitting, under oath, before him.

They have a right to be. The fact that Wall Street is enjoying record profits and bonuses in the wake of receiving trillions of dollars in government assistance — while so many families are struggling to stay afloat — has only heightened the sense of confusion.

Not bad stuff for a guy who ran the worst campaign for the top spot since John D. Sloat didn’t cop a single vote. Given his financial bona fides as a former state Treasurer, not to mention his classic training at the hand of Angelo Tsakopoulos, Angelides ain’t a bad pick for the gig, which Speaker Nancy Pelosi helped him land.

It’s hard to imagine the commission coming up with much in the way of true reform, however, although the hearings do have some entertainment value. Best coverage we’ve seen is the live blog over at Huffpost  which also has a dandy piece co-authored by former N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who managed to keep his pants on for the occasion.

halperinBeltway wisdom gone awry: There are few people in the political news business more obnoxious, self-referential and self-absorbed than ABC’s Mark Halperin, so we were delighted at Jason Linkins’ superb takedown of “Game Change,” the ’08 campaign account Halperin co-authored with John Heilemann, and which their fellow Beltway snobs are lapping up like melted Ben & Jerry’s.

Under the terrific hed “The Blackhearted Ethos of Game Change,” Linkins writes:

What you will get from this tome is the experience of being dragged through a great, teeming, gossipy Superfund-sized pile of shit, lovingly accumulated by two authors who have basically allowed anyone willing to offer nasty hearsay, trash-talk, or score-settling to dump away.

Calbuzz sez check it out

We’re from the press, we’re here to help: Kudos to Calitics for being first on the scene early Wednesday with a list of how-to-help contact info for the victims of the horrible earthquake in Haiti. Best bitchslap of the insufferable Pat Robertson: thank you Andy Borowitz for “Haiti? I Thought They Said ‘Hades’”