Posts Tagged ‘gaffe’

eMeg vs. Krusty: The Empire Strikes First

Friday, June 11th, 2010

For those keeping score at home: Meg Whitman’s Imperial Troopers staged a strong, focused and coordinated offensive march Thursday, while Jerry Brown and his Rebel Alliance scrapped and scraped to hang in against her lavishly financed campaign operation.

It was an early test of how Democrat Brown’s who-needs-consultants guerrilla strategy matches up in the governor’s race against Republican Whitman’s top-shelf marketing machine, as Team eMeg quickly put Team Krusty in a defensive posture while he spent the day responding to her aggressive, out-of-the-box tactical moves.

While the GOP candidate herself enjoyed a triumphant Silicon Valley homecoming rally, chief strategist Mike Murphy published a trenchant essay setting forth his frame for the general election, as the Whitman communications staff spent the day throwing marbles in front of Brown while unveiling her first TV ad of the campaign.

Not surprisingly, it was a positive spot, as eMeg needs to spend time and money reviving her battered image from the damage sustained during her thunder-to-the-right brawl with defeated GOP rival Steve Poizner. But by emphasizing her promise to focus on creating jobs, she also struck first to claim the top concern of voters in recession-wracked California.

California Labor Federation communications director Steve Smith reacted angrily on Brown’s behalf calling it “patently offensive that a billionaire like Whitman would even suggest she understands what families that have been devastated by unemployment are going through.”

“Meg Whitman’s life of wealth and privilege means she’s never had to worry about losing her home, paying household bills or affording to put her kids through college,” he said in a statement. “We need real solutions to the jobs crisis, not slick sound bites that fit neatly into a 30-second TV ad. And we certainly don’t need a billionaire telling our state’s unemployed that she understands the ‘human cost’ of joblessness.”

On eMeg’g behalf,  Sarah Palin contributed a televised  gratuitous shot to Brown’s shorts:

I guess I don’t have enough grace to apply to Jerry Brown when he says he isn’t going to be one for taxing Americans…I guess I don’t have enough grace to say “Hey Jerry, I believe ya.

Brown manager Steve Glazer immediately grabbed hold of Palin’s cheap shot for a web video pitch for money , while Brown’s labor pals  used their  Independent Expenditure committee to mock Whitman’s disgraceful voting record and the great man himself took a swing at Her Megness for her royal style:

The path forward is going to be honesty, not pamphlets and consultants’ scripted propaganda, but straight talk. Not flying around in private planes in a bubble of security guards and people protecting you every moment.

But as a new overnight poll showed the candidates tied (no surprise since Whitman no doubt got a bump out of all the fawning election election night coverage) the thinness in the ranks of Brown’s operation showed itself, as the candidate found himself exchanging charges with Sarah Pompei, eMeg’s press secretary, who’s three levels removed from her principal.

Confronted by reporters with Whitman’s quite legitimate charge that he hasn’t issued any specifics about his plan for the state, even on his website,  Krusty the General responded with a whining wheeze about being outspent:

“Hey, she has spent about $1 million dollars on her website, we have spent about $20,000 so I am running to catch up,” he said leaving a big opening for the volcanic Pompei to bitch slap him on behalf of her boss:

Despite having a $20 million campaign war-chest and the profits from his family’s oil fortune at his disposal, Governor Brown implied that he didn’t have enough money to put any new ideas on his website.  It’s ridiculous.  After 40 years in politics, it’s not surprising that Jerry Brown’s excuses are more specific, creative and innovative than his policy proposals are.

It was only one day in a long campaign but, after Brown’s shop-worn, John McCain-like call for 10 town hall meetings the day before, it demonstrated the extent to which the Democrat’s innate cheapness and stubborn contempt for campaign handlers can leave him in the free-fire zone against the Legions of Meg.

Memo to Jerry: It’s not 1974, and Meg ain’t Houston Flournoy.

(Memo to Jerry II: She’s also not Joseph Goebbels, Goebbels? Really? Goebbels? Nazi references in the governor’s race: Way, way over the line).

Luckily for Krusty, California Working Families, the labor-union-Ron Burkle-independent committee has a clean hit on Meg queued up and ready to run on Monday, reminding voters that Whitman has only a passing acquaintance with voting, can’t really explain why, and now is spending $150 million to get your vote.

Remind me again why they call her “Hurricane”? Having jammed one foot squarely into her mouth barely 24 hours after winning the Republican Senate primary, Carly Fiorina waited only a few hours to plug the other one into her pie hole, too.

As we noted Wednesday, iCarly put on a remarkable open mic diva act while awaiting an interview with KXTV, providing a splendid view to the state – indeed, the nation! -of her self-regarding arrogance and smugness, as the tape quickly debuted on the gab fests of the cable news shows.

Not content with having insulted Sister Meg’s “bizarre…bad choice” to go on Sean Hannity’s show (though not quite as bizarre as Fiorina’s own behavior) and meowed about Barbara Boxer’s hair, Hurricane Carly decided to do a little damage control by trooping over to Greta Van Sustern’s show shortly after to explain that it was all someone else’s fault.

See it wasn’t really Carly trashing Babs’s hair (BTW, wussup  with the “soooo yesterday” anyway? “Carly Fiorina – the only Valley Girl running for the United States Senate.” But we digress). No, she was just passing on something somebody else had said:

“I was quoting a friend of mine,” she told Greta, trying to laugh the whole thing off. Ha, ha, ha.

Sure l’affaire de hair is a silly little trifle. Beyond the clear evidence it provides that she’s constitutionally unable to stop flapping her gums, however, Fiorina’s gaffe on the first day of her campaign also is a perfect example of one of the character flaws most cited by her critics back at Hewlett Packard: her inability to take responsibility for her actions and her knee jerk reaction of pointing the finger at someone else.

Should be an interesting campaign.

Prop 14 redux: Check out this map from the Secretary of State’s web site showing the geographical breakdown of the vote on Proposition 14, the controversial “Top Two” election reform. Looks like everyone in the state who thinks that the partisan dysfunction in Sacramento is just swell – the commies in the People’s Republic of San Francisco and the right-wing royalists in the Kingdom of Orange – voted for it, while voters in the other 56 counties thought, what the hell, why not try something new.

Fishwrap: Free the Chickens & All Political Prisoners!

Friday, June 19th, 2009

feinsteinglassesDifi Does Lunch: Michael Kinsley famously defined a “gaffe” in Washington as “when a politician tells the truth,” a quote that came to mind this week with word that The Senior Senator From California embarrassed herself politically by stumbling into a bit of inadvertent truth-telling.

Seems DiFi’s crack Beltway political team sent out invites to a fund raising lunch — $2.5 K for PACs, $1K per humanoid –- that cut a little too close to the bone in blatantly marketing her choice committee assignments for would-be donors with business before the panels.

On the menu, according to the invitation: “The Select Committee on Intelligence for the first course, followed by your choice of Appropriations, Judiciary or Rules committees,” a fine example of the kind of soft-core influence peddling that goes on day in and day out in Washington (not to mention Sacramento and every other state capital in America).

Feinstein, the lifelong Coro Intern who loves to portray herself as a Goo Goo Philosopher Queen mulling policy on a lofty plane far above political money grubbing, did not see the invite until Roll Call did a story mentioning it, her flak assured the press with a straight face. She was of course — Shocked! Shocked! –- and abruptly canceled the event.

Chuck Neubauer of the Washington Times quoted Feinstein coat carrier Gil Duran thusly: “It was obvious that this would be subject to misinterpretation by some, and it was canceled to avoid any misinterpretation.”

Misinterpretation, our Aunt Katherine.

Closer to the mark was Nancy Watzman, who keeps an eye on fund raising shenanigans at the Sunlight Foundation: “She was just highlighting what everyone knows. If you have business before a committee, there’s an opportunity to meet-and-greet this politician in a personal way.”

uclaTo Tax or Not To Tax: With High Silly Season upon us in the budget, uh, drama, the D’s made a big move in passing a spending plan that includes tax increases on oil extraction and fire insurance (Calbuzz Says: Never play with fire when extracting oil), which instantly rebooted the inevitable R mantra that California has the highest taxes in the nation.

It’s one of those claims that sounds like it should be true, especially if you repeat over and over again, but turns out to be not at all a settled issue. MediaNews Capitol man Steve Harmon  performed yeoman duty in reporting out the issue and finding that, as with all things statistical, it all depends on what you’re measuring: “The number of tax loopholes that California offers corporations reduces the effect of high tax rates, analysts say.”

In other economic news, California reporters produced a record 62,712 different ledes in covering the new UCLA Anderson Forecast of the state economy, but for those wary of an exclusive cut-cut-cut budget, the money quote was this:

“In California, the worst of the recession is beginning to ease, but any optimism must be tempered by the specter of a state government poised to contract at the worst possible time.”

If it’s news it’s news to us: Three came-and-went stories vaporizedsp_logo1x any lingering shreds of naïve hope for an easy resolution of the Sacramento stalemate: 1) Standard and Poor’s put a “negative credit watch” on California’s outstanding bonds, a signal that our worst-in-the-nation rating may be headed downward yet again, and a clear sign that more borrowing will not be a pathway out of deadlock. 2) Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and other administration econ honchos turned down a back channel plea for emergency financial help (this yarn was WAY underplayed and, by the way, why did the Post beat everybody who covers Washington for California news organizations in getting this sucker?). 3) The two whacky, poll-taking Marks, Baldassare and DiCamillo, both declared flat-out that the force-fed political spin about the May 19 election representing a clear and powerful anti-tax message was bushwah; that the informed comments by the smartest guys in the room did nothing to slow down right-wing dervish spinning for an instant guarantees  the River City death march will go on.

“No Exit,” Sartre’s famous 1944 play about three people condemned to be locked in a room with each other forever, seems the perfect metaphor for the budget ménage a trois that keeps going and going and going among and between legislative Dems, Reps and Governor Conan, who existentially keeps reinventing his own political identity.

“Hell is other people,” the Gauloise-puffing philosopher wrote. Just think what he’d say if he’d ever made it to Sacramento.

chickenToday’s sign the end of civilization is near: The Association of California Egg Farmers, fresh from getting their yolks battered in last November’s failed bid to head off Proposition 2’s mandates for hen house construction, are madder than soggy lady chickens at what they say are overly vague standards contained in enabling legislation for the measure.

Angrily clucking at AB 1437, by San Rafael Democrat Jared Huffman, the association has turned to a slow-down offense, claiming wide-spread confusion amid the chicken-and-egg community over a perceived lack of “clear standards for housing egg-laying hens.”

“California egg farmers respect the voters’ desire to give egg-laying hens more space,” said Debbie Murdock, the association’s executive director, with an apparent lack of conviction. “The question is, how much space?”

Your favorite chicken joke kicker goes here.

— By Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine