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Posts Tagged ‘sanctuary cities’



GOP Issues: McClintock, Border, Si; Goldman, Huh?

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Steve Poizner, who had already hit Meg Whitman with a two-punch TV combo – starring Tom McClintock and Goldman Sachs – on Sunday followed with a new right cross on immigration, while Whitman tries to defend with an immigration radio spot of her own, starring former Gov. Pete Wilson.

The fight – which Poizner takes today to the pedestrian bridge at San Ysidro — is all about winning over the most conservative Republican voters who have, according to various pollsters, begun moving toward Poizner over Whitman in the race of the GOP nomination for governor.

In their zeal to appeal to the xenophobic instincts of the right wing, it’s unclear whether either candidate has left open even a shred of possibility of winning Latino votes in the general election. But that’s clearly a secondary concern to the GOP candidates as they drift ever further toward nativism in hopes of proving their anti-illegal-immigrant credentials to conservative Republicans.

Poizner’s new ad lumps Whitman with President Obama in supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants and opposing Arizona’s “papers please” immigration law and concludes, “If you care about stopping illegal immigration, Steve Poizner is the only choice.”

Whitman’s anticipatory response on radio has Wilson – who was known on the streets of Mexico for his anti-immigrant policies as “hijo de puta” – assuring voters: “Meg will be tough as nails on illegal immigration. She’ll fight to secure our border and go after sanctuary cities.”

What Hath Goldman Wrought?

In looking at what’s moving Republican voters, Calbuzz can only intuit from scant data publicly available right now. We get why Poizner’s endorsement by U.S. Rep. McClintock – a right-wing rock star in California, Prince of the Palinistas, Toast of the Tea Party – helps him among knuckle-dragging voters.

And we understand why the immigration issue appeals to conservatives.

But while we can see how Goldman Sachs hurts Whitman among independents and Democrats,  we wonder how it can help Poizner with conservative Republicans? Does it?

We know that in the March LA Times/USC survey, while Whitman was beating Poizner 60-20%, the margin was closer – 53-26% among Republicans with incomes under $50,000.

We also know that in the March Field Poll, where Whitman led Poizner 63-14% overall, the spread was 50-26% among Republicans with incomes of $40,000-60,000.

Private polling we’ve seen recently had Whitman with a mere 6-point lead, with Poizner slightly ahead among the most conservative Republicans.

While the McClintock endorsement ad was clearly a big factor in that movement, does it make any sense that some Republicans are moved by Goldman Sachs as well?

“The most conservative Republicans are populist, not establishment,” said GOP ad man Don Sipple. “They don’t care for Wall Street. They’re not the wealthiest Republicans. And it becomes about character, which is a universal thing. They either respect someone or they don’t.”

There’s been an historic division in the GOP between the Country Club Republicans and what were once known as the Chapel Republicans. This may be evolving to the Tea Party Republicans, the Sarah Palin People, the Limbaugh/Beck/O’Reilly Publicans – pick your moniker. On the one hand you got your Donald Brens and George Schultzes and on the other hand you got your Tom McClintocks and Chuck DeVores.

They’re all Republicans, but they’re not the same animal. Poizner and Whitman both come from the Country Club wing of the party, but Poizner has been most ferocious is throwing off his Brooks Brothers baggage.

Sure, he’s a multi-millionarie who was up to his eyeballs in investment banking opportunities and silk-stocking Wall Street deals. But it’s Whitman who was on the board at Goldman, who had those sweetheart IPO deals,  who’s parked her cash in vulture funds. So if Poizner can whip up a little internal GOP class resentment – what the hell. All’s fair, right?

Ballot Label Change You Can Believe In

But lest we make too much of whether and how Goldman Sachs moves those down-scale Republicans, let’s remember one important but overlooked factoid: Some time between the last set of public polls, Poizner’s ballot designation changed.

In the Field, PPIC and USC/LA Times polls, Poizner was identified as “California State Insurance Commissioner” – something Poizner has never pushed in his advertising. But his ballot designation – which is how he is now being tested by those pollsters who use the actual ballot label – has been changed to “Businessman.”

It may well be that some significant portion of Poizner’s polling troubles was a function of conservative voters who don’t want no stinking insurance commissioner for nothin’. But a businessman – now that’s a guy you can get behind.

Poiz Rips eMeg on Goldman but No Game Changer

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

Five minutes into the GOP governor’s debate, Steve Poizner ripped into Meg Whitman on her ties to Goldman Sachs – charging that “a lot of people got damaged by Goldman Sachs and Meg Whitman’s right in the middle of it.”

“Meg Whitman has massive investments in Goldman Sachs, made huge amounts of money from the collapse of the housing market, and then, when it was time for Goldman Sachs to get bailed out by taxpayers, Meg Whitman actively campaigned for a taxpayer funded (bailout). The question is, did she let people know?”

It was the first of a series of aggressive and effective attacks on eMeg’s character and ideology that he landed against his front-running rival for the Republican nomination for governor in Sunday’s hour-long debate at San Jose’s Tech Museum, a solid performance that Calbuzz scored as a win for Poizner.

But solid as his victory was in the only televised debate of the contest, it fell short of the kind of dramatic game changer that the state Insurance Commissioner needs to overcome the former eBay CEO’s commanding lead five weeks before the June 8 primary.

It’s a plain fact that debates rarely change the basic dynamics of a major political race, especially one broadcast at 5 p.m. on a splendidly sunny Sunday in May; beyond this, and despite her feckless answers on Goldman Sachs and other in-your-face challenges, Whitman to her credit never wilted under Poizner’s withering fire, nor did she hand him a truly memorable moment suitable for a devastating TV ad – no lasting image of blunder, weakness or faltering faux pas.

With both of the contenders pandering shamelessly to the Tea Party wing of the GOP on issues from immigration to gun control, the core of the proceedings was Poizner’s line of attack on her personal integrity over her multiple connections to scandal-tainted Goldman Sachs.

As Whitman stood by glowering, arms tightly crossed in a defensive posture, Poizner bluntly assailed both her ethics and her judgment, particularly for accepting from the investment bank repeated IPO stock issues, then quickly “spinning” them to make quick and easy profits worth millions – a practice that was later made illegal.

“I did not do anything wrong,” Whitman insisted at one point. “It was a legal and standard practice. With 20-20 hindsight, would I do it again? No, because it was called into question.”

Poizner pounded at her answer:

Wow, you really don’t get this Meg…You were the CEO of eBay receiving investment banking services from Goldman Sachs, then you joined the Goldman Sachs board and their compensation committee, then Goldman Sachs started to feed you these sweetheart deals, not one, not two but 100 of them, and you made a fortune, a separate fortune from your eBay fortune and then until you got caught you didn’t think anything was wrong. But the fact is, Congress investigated what you did, they called it corrupt, the SEC investigated what you did and immediately declared what you did illegal, and the eBay shareholders investigated what you did and they sued you. They sued you for a huge conflict of interest and the only reason why you paid back any of this money is because you had to settle the lawsuit.

Not to put too fine a point on it.

Here’s a look at some of the other highlights of the debate:

Immigration: Just days after declaring his opposition to Arizona’s controversial new law aimed at illegal immigrants, Poizner announced that he now supports the measure, claiming that new amendments will prevent it from authorizing de facto racial profiling by law enforcement. He repeated the mantra of actions he has said he would take as governor against illegals – “turning off the magnets” of education and social services, cracking down on employers who employ undocumented workers and “sanctuary cities” in California, and using state resources to increases security at the Mexican border.

Poizner also charged that Whitman supports “amnesty” based on earlier comments she made about support for legislation that would offer illegals a path to citizenship. Whitman, who has said she misspoke in making those comments, was left to deny that she backs “amnesty,” but scored some points by pointing to Poizner’s conversion on the Arizona law as emblematic of his flip flops on other issues, from his days as a moderate Republican candidate for the Assembly to his current full-throated, red meat conservatism:

“This is a classic case of Steve Poizner changing his mind,” she said, noting that he is “an engineer…every election cycle he engineers a new position” to match the moment.

Tea Party – Asked if they considered themselves members of the Tea Party movement, the two fell over each other gushing about it. “Yes, I’ve been to a whole bunch of Tea Party events…I find myself really in synch with the Tea Party,” Poizner said, while eMeg chimed in, “I am a supporter…they are at their core fiscal conservatives…if the Tea Partiers and others are looking for the tough fiscal conservative in this race, I promise you it is me.”

Poizner’s record – Whitman was at her best in assailing Poizner’s political shape shifting, noting that he backed a 2004 ballot initiative to lower the Proposition 13 vote threshold on school bonds and opposed President Bush’s tax cuts, while also accusing him of increasing the budget in the Insurance Commissioner’s office. The latter charge led to an inconclusive exchange, as the rivals hurled conflicting newspaper reports on the issue: “You just do not know what you’re talking about,” Poizner snarled at Whitman, “They (the Sacramento Bee) called you a liar.”

Whitman’s record – Playing directly to the GOP right-wing, Poizner repeatedly hit eMeg for taking a cruise that was organized to examine the issue of global warming, and for having embraced the ideas of Van Jones, the left-wing green energy activist who was fired by the Obama White House after a series of his past radical statements were made public. He also blasted her for having supported Barbara Boxer’s re-election in 2004, ostensibly because Boxer opposed a new tax on internet services: “Because Barbara Boxer took a certain position on an Internet tax that would personally benefit her and her investment funds…Is that the way you make decisions about who to endorse?”

Right-wing pandering - Beyond their gushing comments about the Tea Party, both rushed to woo right-wingers on other issues.  Both of them blasted California’s AB32 climate change laws, and refused to say that they believe global warming is caused by human activity, claiming the science is unclear on the question, and both also claimed to support “open carry” anti-gun control legislation.

Voting – After refusing to say she had done anything wrong on Goldman Sachs, Whitman switched course on questions about her poor voting record and offered a direct apology:  “I was not as engaged and connected as I should have been…but I’m 100% engaged now.” But Poizner sharply criticized Whitman for her failure to vote until the last several years: “Not voting is a big deal – you can’t just wash it away with a simple apology.”

Near the end of the debate, Whitman made a statement that will reflect the frame of the rest of the primary campaign: “So I would ask you, not to judge me on the mistakes I have made, but the ideas that I have to fix California, to restore California to its greatness.”

As eMeg tries to spend the next five weeks telling voters about her ideas, you can be sure Poizner will stay tightly focused on telling them about her mistakes.

The Latino Vote: Why Brown Crushes Whitman

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

After Meg Whitman’s appearance the other day at the Greater San Jose Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a 30-year-old account executive from Univision told Julia Prodis Sulek of the Mercury News she was “wowed away.” This led to a story suggesting eMeg would be trying to round up votes from Latinos.

Which got the Calbuzz Department of Historic Factoids and Demographic Analysis pretty worked up for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that one of eMeg’s campaign chairmen is former Gov. Pete Wilson (once known on the streets of Mexico City as “Hijo de Puta”) for his pioneering role in using illegal immigration as a wedge issue in California politics.

Although Whitman would eliminate “sanctuary cities” and is opposed to amnesty for undocumented immigrants, she certainly comes across as less antagonistic to immigration than her GOP rival Steve Poizner:  she says she would not have voted for Prop. 187, which sought to deny services to illegal immigrants, and would not deny medical services or education to the children of illegals.

But try as she might to keep anyone from noticing that she is seeking the REPUBLICAN nomination, the chance that she could capture even a quarter of the Latino vote is far from certain.

Even before he has campaigned among Latino voters — who are expected to comprise 15% of the November electorate – Crusty the General is in a lot better shape among Latinos than eMeg is.

In the January Field Poll, Brown’s favorable-unfavorable ratio among Latinos was 43-22% and in March it was 36-22%, By comparison, Meg’s ratio was 17-16% in January and 31-18% in March. And while Brown led Whitman 52-29% in January among Latinos, he was ahead of her 54-25% in March.

In other words, while eMeg picked up some positive ID among Latinos from her TV ads between January and March, Brown’s lead in the vote among Latinos increased from 23 percentage points in January to 29 points in March. And the only thing Brown had done was his announcement media tour.

And that’s before the Brown campaign has made clear a few actual facts about Jerry Brown and Latinos, including:

1. Former Gov. Brown made Cruz Reynoso the first Latino on the California Supreme Court.

2. He named Mario Obledo in his Secretary of Health and Welfare – the first Latino in a modern-day California cabinet.

3. Brown marched with Cesar Chavez in support of the National Farmworkers Association and later the United Farmworkers Union.

4. Brown signed into law the Agricultural Relations Act, giving farm workers the right to unionize and provide state oversight of labor relations in the agricultural industry.

5. He hooked up with Linda Ronstadt.

Case closed.

ABC (Always Believe Calbuzz): The emergence in Brown’s weekend speech to the SEIU of an overtly and aggressive populist tone, as alertly reported by the SacBee’s Jack Chang, fulfills the prediction we made after the surprise election of Scott Brown to Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat:

We hear from a lot of conservative circles: It’s the people who work for the people, the firefighters, the nurses, the hospital workers, the janitors, these are the people who caused our problems – not true,” Brown told a gathering at Oakland’s Marriott City Center hotel and hundreds more around the state via a video link.

“The folks of Wall Street who cost the United States over $11 trillion, they’ve created the problem,” he said. “And we are the ones who suffer.

As we reported in January, in a year when Brown, and other incumbent Democrat officeholders, face enormous risk in being portrayed successfully by the GOP as political insiders, the smart play is to position himself as an insurgent scourge of big business greed heads of all types:

In both the Senate and governor’s race, we expect the Democrats to sound a lot like one of the roving 1886 lecturers cited in “The Populist Movement” by Duke historian Larry Goodwyn:

“We have an overproduction of poverty, barefooted women, political thieves and many liars. There is no difference between legalized robbery and highway robbery . . . If you listen to other classes, you will have only three rights . . . to work, to starve and to die.”

Boxer and Brown — we predict — will run against the banks, the corporations and the oil companies — all of which will be lashed to their GOP opponents.  Whether voters will buy it is anyone’s guess.

Commish pounds immigration: Proving that he has little  interest in the Latino vote, Steve Poizner’s campaign plans to unveil a new TV spot today, in which he declares himself the only candidate with “the guts” to stop illegal immigration.

Stepping up the pitch to GOP conservatives he rolled out at the Republican state convention, promises to “stop taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal immigrants,” or to bring a new initiative before voters to do so.

Down but not out in his battle against GOP front-runner Meg Whitman, Poizner ends the ad by doing a superman act with a Buick, representing California, that’s about to fall over a cliff. Preview the ad here.