Archive for 2012

A June (not November) Electorate Explains the Vote

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Voters gave the back of their hand to public employees unions from San Diego and San Jose to Green Bay and Eau Claire. But before left-wingers in California start slitting their wrists and right-wingers here start their victory dance, let’s remember the important point about the state’s historic low turnout: it was a much more conservative electorate than we’ll see in November.

In California, for example, Barack Obama drew about 1.6 million votes while Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republicans combined drew about 1.4 million – Obama over the GOP field 51-47% or about +4% for Obama.

But surveys by the Field Poll, USC/LA Times and the best private pollsters predict Obama will beat Romney in California by anywhere from 15 to 20 percentage points in the general election. In other words, while we won’t have actual data from the Secretary of State for a couple of months, it’s clear that the California electorate on Tuesday was NOT the same electorate we can expect in November.

“This is just a nasty universe,” said Democratic pollster Jim Moore, who will be explaining the same to Gov. Jerry Brown as he looks forward to a tax-hike measure in November.

Likewise, in Wisconsin, where Republican Gov. Scott Walker narrowly survived a recall 53-46%, Obama was leading Romney 51-44%, according to the exit poll conducted by Edison Research. Six in 10 Wisconsin voters said a recall was appropriate only in cases of “official misconduct,” and a substantial number of Walker voters said they intend to vote for Obama for president.

These and other factors figure into one of the best analyses of the vote we’ve seen by Clifford Young of Ipsos Public Affairs Polling in a piece titled “Wisconsin is all noise: Obama will still win in November.”

As always, bloviating ignorami in the MSM, are over-interpreting Wisconsin and California election results. Yes, voters have had it up to here with public employee pension programs that seem to them overindulgent and budget-busting. But it is folly to leap from that to suggest that we are on the verge of a great rightward electoral wave.

No anti-tax tidal wave:  No matter what happens on Prop. 29, the $1-per-pack tobacco tax (which was losing by a wispy 1.6% before about a million late absentees were counted), by and large, local tax and bond measures fared decently.

As the inexhaustible Michael Coleman noted at Californiacityfinance.com:

Preliminary election night tallies with all precincts reporting, indicate that 55 of the 87 local revenue measures passed. As in past elections, majority vote measures fared better than supermajority vote special taxes and bonds.

Fifteen of the 19 majority vote measures passed, including all but one of the city measures. But 18 of the 34 two-thirds supermajority vote special taxes passed. School parcel taxes fared better, with nine of 13 passing versus just nine of 21 non-school special tax measures passing.

The overall passage rate of non-school local tax measures in June 2012 was similar to prior elections over the last decade. Over that time, voters have approved 66% of majority vote measures but only 45% of two-thirds vote special tax measures.

Top two still being tested: It’s too soon to tell the impact of the top-two primary system but if you want the best snap aggregation, you gotta check out Scott Lay’s Around The Capitol. The king of aggregation – and our first stop in the morning – is, of course, Jack Kavanagh’s Rough and Tumble.  But for political junkies who want gory data details right now, Lay (and his Nooner) are indispensible, to wit:

CD02: Jared Huffman clocks the Dem field and gets a walk in November against Rep Dan Roberts
— John Garamendi pulls in 47,258 votes to Kim Vann’s 22,336, likely dropping CD03 from the NRCC’s November target list
— In CD15, Pete Stark has to be sweating, with 39,000 votes for opponents against his 28,000. Eric Swalwell advances.
 — Democrats can’t be happy in CD21, where David Valadao exceeded the combined vote of John Hernandez and Blong Xiong by 5,000 votes. Hernandez advances.
— In CD24, Republicans pulled over 64,000 votes to Lois Capps’s 58,298. Abel Maldonado survives to November
CD26: Tony Strickland 44.2%, Julia Brownley 26.8% and Linda Parks 18.5%. Aside from turnout difference, Brownley needs to capture ALL of Parks’s vote to win in November.
CD30: Two Jews, One District continues in November. Sherman outpolls Berman by 7,500 votes
— DISASTER: Democrats lost a huge opportunity in CD31, with Republicans Gary Miller and Bob Dutton advancing to the runoff. Justin Kim pulled more than 7,000 votes from Pete Aguilar, pushing one of the few DCCC stars this cycle to third.
CD47: Lowenthal v. DeLong
— That IE in CD51 by the Paskenta tribe paid off–Michael Crimmins came in second, knocking out Denise Ducheny, and giving Juan Vargas a clear path in November.
— In CD52, Scott Peters has second place by a thread, up 700 votes on Lori Saldana.

Heartbroken: That’s what we were when our favorite whackjob dentist birther, Orly the Taitz, with about 114,000 votes, didn’t make the runoff as the Republican challenger to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Not that we have anything against the energetic Elizabeth Emken, the GOP anointed candidate who pulled about 455,00 votes compared to DiFi’s 1.8 million. But the Lizard is really just a nice, responsible, well-spoken Republican. We can’t imagine Dianne will even bother debating her.

But DiFi versus Orly – now that would have been the hottest ticket since the Thrilla in Manilla.

Secret Struggles of the Blessed and Privileged

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Last week was a total grind around Calbuzz executive headquarters: We come home with a sunburn from a weekend playing Pebble Beach and our assistant tells us the pool house has termites, the Jaguar place can’t service the car until Tuesday, the 152-inch flat screen is on back order and there’s not a single aft balcony stateroom left on the Cabo cruise. And the gardener simply will…not…stop with the leaf blower.

At times like this, when the world is too much with us, we head straight for White Whine, one of our favorite bookmarked sites, where we can quickly put things in perspective by checking out folks with real problems – from careers (“it’s just that I went to college so I shouldn’t be waiting tables or whatever”) to clothing (“breakin’ in a new pair of Sperrys is the worst”) to travel (“just had my praline spread confiscated by TSA Dulles. As far as I’m concerned the terrorists have now won”). Tales of true suffering always make us feel more empathy for political and media types near and dear to Calbuzz:

Gavin Newsom. Poor, poor Prince Gavin. It’s not enough that he had to go get his own TV show because he’s sooo bored with his crummy $136,000 lite governor gig with its crummy staff, benies, perks and pension. No, he actually has to go to Sacramento one — sometimes two! — days a week, as he understandably complained on the set of the show to his buddy, hotel man Chip Conley:

Between segments of the show, Conley asked, “How often are you up in Sacramento?”
“Like one day a week, tops,” Newsom said. “There’s no reason…It’s just so dull…Sadly, I just, ugh, God.”

It takes a strong, strong man to endure.

Elizabeth Warren. At least half of us have a major crush on Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor who’s running for Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat in Massachusetts, so it comes as no surprise that we greatly sympathize with her desire that the media just stop already with reports about her career-building affirmative action claims to Native American heritage.

As far as we’re concerned, all doubt was put to rest on the matter with disclosure of documentary evidence that she’s contributed recipes to the “Pow Wow Chow” cookbook, including that traditional Cherokee favorite: “Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing.”

Grover Norquist. It makes our blood boil that so many Republican congressional wannabes are all of a sudden refusing to sign Grover Monster’s no-tax-pledge,  denying him the high homage and honor that is his due as the single most important person in Washington, if not the world. So it serves them right when Grover injects himself into local House races, like the one in California’s 24th , where he’s smashing and bashing Abel Maldonado for Maldo’s evil behavior in trying to keep the state government running back in 2009, while promoting an under-appreciated third rate actor who can’t spell his own name right.

Bob Woodward. After Woody spent his career dragging other people’s secrets into the light, it’s simply outrageous that a young reporter would do the same to him. But now comes Jeff Himmelman, who learned everything he knows about reporting from Woodward, writing about a previously undisclosed interview with Washpost Pooh-Bah Ben Bradlee, who expresses doubt about Mr. Watergate’s whole Deep Throat garage yarn:

“You know I have a little problem with Deep Throat,” Bradlee told journalist Barbara Feinman in an unpublished 1990 interview, according to Himmelman’s account. “Did that potted [plant] incident ever happen?…. And meeting in some garage. One meeting in the garage? Fifty meetings in the garage? I don’t know how many meetings in the garage…. There’s a residual fear in my soul that that isn’t quite straight.”

How could Himmelman even think of publishing such a thing? Good for Woodward for trying to ruin his life.

Richard Grenell. Pity Poor Richard. The erstwhile flack for Mitt Romney  got tarred, feathered and run out of town by Republican evangelicals for being gay, after a lifetime of loyal service enabling and ennobling the party that hates gays. Now he’s reduced to spending his time renovating his house in Palm Springs where at least, he told our pal Hank Plante, he doesn’t have to keep proving how brilliant he is:

 “First of all I am a huge fan of midcentury modern architecture, furniture, culture, and I combine that with the Southern California sensibilities of life: being very smart but not having to wear it on your sleeve and prove to everybody you’re so smart.”

Dianne Feinstein. How in the world is California’s Senior Senator supposed to have a fair shot of being elected for a fifth time when her name doesn’t even appear at the top of the ballot in every county? Is it too much to ask that in a race where she’s  faced with high-powered challenges from the likes of Orly Taitz and several dozen other fierce rivals, she shouldn’t have to remind people who she is before they go to the polls, as she did in Santa Barbara last week:

“I am on the ballot,” she said. “I’m third from the bottom so please find the name.”

Luke Russert. Not since Edward R. Murrow has there been such a talented, insightful and courageous TV journalist as NBC’s Luke Russert, spawn of the late Tim Russert, who nonetheless keeps hearing that he only got his job because of corporate patronage and who his father was. As if.

“There will always be people who will say, ‘Oh, he’s only gotten where he is because of his father,’ and that certainly helped. But I’ve been able to stay here because of me.”

If you don’t believe it, just check out his incredible body of work.

Michael Bauer. Our old friend and Old Chronicler is hands-down the best restaurant critic in the U.S., if not the universe, so we take as gospel his word that things are not easy out there on the front lines of the food beat, where he’s forced to put up with such torments as only one cocktail list per table, mismatched flatware and servers mouthing clichés. Not to mention that he has to visit every restaurant at least three times before he can write.

The horror, the horror!