eMeg Returns! Diana Lives! Sarah Shrinks!


We hear our old pal Meg Whitman has told people privately for months that she would generously extend Jerry Brown the courtesy of keeping quiet about the state’s fiscal mess until there was a budget.

And eMeg – God, how we miss her! – was good to her word. For about 8 seconds.

That’s about how long it took to get herself booked on Fox News to try to tear Governor Gandalf’s face off shortly after  legislative Democrats passed what you like to call your California spending blueprint.

Of course, if you want to nitpick, Whitman’s appearance with the sycophantic Neil Cavuto came on Wednesday night, which technically is, you know, before Thursday, when Brown actually signed the thing.

But hey, given some of the whoppers the Empire of eMeg peddled during her crash-and-burn campaign against Brown, far be it from us to sweat the small stuff.

Among other things she fed lapdog Cavuto, Whitman complained that the soon-to-be-inked Democrats-only budget “is a political budget without a road map to real reform – like we know California really needs.” In one breath, she huffed that “we didn’t go after the size of government,” while in the next she moaned that the budget included about “$10 billion in the cruelest type of cuts.”

True that, Meg: the food’s no good and the portions are too small, too.

Said Brown’s adviser Steve Glazer:  “The original Whitman budget plan was to give a tax break to millionaires and billionaires thereby blowing a new $5 billion hole in the budget. She continues to offer nothing but hollow political platitudes about laying off workers and extreme Republican bromides…She spent $178 million in her campaign so we can safely say that the voters have seen her, heard her, and soundly rejected her brand of negative politics all the time.”

Facts, logic, reason and other accoutrements of reality aside, what was most interesting to us was a) the warp speed record time in which she found a national platform for bashing Brown and b) the neat alignment of this effort with a  series of other recent media and public events, as she’s suddenly started popping her head up routinely, after months of post-election wound-licking.

So what’s Our Meg up to?

Her recent behavior, as chronicled by Comrade Carla,  leads veteran eMeg watchers (we name no names) to conclude: a) she’ll have an outsize role as a leading surrogate for presidential wannabe Mitt Romney, her old mentor, and therefore wants to mend fences with the media, the better to stay on message; b) she’s sending a clear signal to any Republican pol in California who might be pondering a 2014 run for governor that she’s got first dibs on the gig if she wants it (not that any major league GOP alternatives spring to mind); c) she’s itching for a rematch against Krusty.

Let us recall that, long before she jumped into politics, Meg was a hyper-competitive sort – on the tennis court, in the pool and in the board room, for starters — so it’s only natural she’d want another shot at the champ, a chance to boost her Return On Investment on the $180 million she threw at the job the first time, with nada to show for it.

And, in the event Krusty packs it in after one term, her odds would even be better against whichever member of the Newsom/Harris/Chiang junior class the Democrats settle on.

All that said, it makes us very, very, very sad that she seems so intent on denying Calbuzz the dream heavyweight battle we keep trying to promote – eMeg vs. Difi for the Senate next year.

C’mon Meg, you can do it; after all as you said yourself recently:

I actually think I am very warm, friendly, fun, easy to be around. And I think most people actually, who came to my events, actually were quite persuaded. I think actually people did in fact quite like me when they met me in person.

All this and modesty, too!

P.S. eMeg’s new career as presidential attack dog gets off to a rough start.

P.P.S. Meg is still working with Jeff Randle and Mitch Zak who seem to be functioning as PR guys along with their new hire, former newsman Kevin Riggs, who rumor has it, prepped Meg for her new encounters with reporters. Which could lead one to conclude that Meg’s Mission in this re-surfacing has less to do with sharing her thoughts on the budget and more to do with changing the subject about her so that when she DOES step out there for Romney, she’s not the story. Better to prove she’s appointment-worthy by a President Romney.

That’s Mr. Dickhead to you: Of all the national pundit types we’ve encountered over the years, we can’t think of one who’s a bigger dick than TV windbag Mark Halperin.

In a business where smugness, self-importance and arrogance are just table stakes, Halperin is sui generis, a Beltway phony of the highest order, whose imbecility and lack of insight come fully equipped with an uncommon meanness of spirit and overbearing contempt for ordinary people.

So his suspension by MSNBC, for calling President Obama a “dick” during a live broadcast, drew an ironic standing ovation throughout the newsroom and far-flung bureaus of the Calbuzz empire. And we confess we spent far too many hours Thursday searching for the best-in-class schadenfreude commentary from those members of the responsible online community who share our view. We finally settled on Jason Linkins as the hands-down winner:

There’s no doubt that he’s long been permitted to suck steadily from the udder of conventional wisdom and expectorate the backwash all over the media landscape. And there’s never been any consequences meted out for all those times he’s been hysterically bad at his job. It matters to no one in the media that he is a misogynist hypocrite, a Matt Drudge tongue-bather — or that the clearest evidence of his bankruptcy is the fact that ABC’s “The Note” was never better than when Halperin took his obsequious, insidery wink-nudgery elsewhere.

Sic semper tyrannis.

Add Halperin: Michelle Goldberg is now up with a good take.

You read it here first: As we suggested in our wrap-up of the first Republican presidential debate, the sudden emergence of teabag tootsie, Christian cuckoo, ersatz Marie Antoinette Wisconsin Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann as what passes for a serious contender is making Sarah Palin an increasingly irrelevant sideshow.

Bachmann not only takes up the same political space as Palin, but does so while actually participating in the campaign process and even – imagine! – communicating her alleged thoughts in places other than Facebook, Twitter and Fox News.

Any doubt that Palin’s worn out her welcome, and become the political equivalent of the fire-twirling circus lady you raptly watch in case she sets her hair aflame, was put to rest by Politico, that bastion of neo-conventional wisdom, whose reporter tracked down Republican activists who used to think Palin was running, then thought she wasn’t and now don’t care anymore:

“Trying to figure out Sarah Palin reminds me of the ancient practice of extispicy, divination by examining entrails for meaning,” said former New Hampshire GOP chairman Fergus Cullen.

“I’ve become convinced that there is no grand strategy behind Palin’s activity,” Cullen added. “There is no rhyme. There is no reason. The only common theme to her schedule of activities, statements and appearances is her seemingly unending ability to attract media coverage.”

Or not.

Nice hat! Our Department of Innovative News Design, Online Layout and Heavily Altered Images is seriously distressed at the brickbats being hurled at Newsweek diva editrix Tina Brown for ginning up a phony cover image of the late Princess Diana, as she would look today if she weren’t, um, seriously dead.

In the pantheon of media people we can’t stand, Brown ranks right up there with Halperin, but as high-minded journalists who may have used Photoshop once or twice ourselves, we found her cover kind of cool, and all the high-minded moralizing about by self-appointed media critics (is there any other kind?) kind of silly.

Calbuzz: Where bad taste costs no more.

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