There’s always a local angle: Amid the all the media frippery about Sarah Palin’s new cash cow memoir, Calbuzz has been desperately searching our beat for any bit of trivia to let us horn in on Sarahmania. Finally, our Betamax, Eight Track Tape and Historic Video Research Department unearthed from the vault a classic bit of on-air political combat featuring a key player in California’s race for governor.
Tucker Bounds, who currently serves as Meg Whitman’s deputy campaign manager for communications, in 2008 was signed on to the “McCain for President” effort, which at one point dispatched him to defend Palin on CNN in an appearance that quickly became a You Tube classic.
Just four days before, what your political writers like to call your Republican Standard Bearer had picked the then-obscure Alaska governor as his running mate, and the first wave of white-hot media scrutiny was still focused on her, um, credentials as a potential Commander in Chief. CNN’s Campbell Brown greeted Bounds with a ferocious assault, demanding he support the McCain camp’s argument that Palin was far more qualified for executive office than Barack Obama.
When Bounds cited Palin’s alleged experience leading the Alaska National Guard, it was on. Brown spent the next several minutes ripping his face off, repeatedly taunting him to name a single action Palin had taken in that role that remotely qualified her to be president. Without a shred of supporting evidence for his claim, Bounds gamely hung in through the rest of the “interview,” but when it was over, McCain’s furious handlers abruptly canceled the candidate’s long-scheduled appearance with Larry King as retribution for Brown’s slashing performance.
Next up: Having established Palin’s national security cred with the Alaska National Guard, Bounds qualifies Whitman for national duty by noting that countless armies of toy soldiers have been bought and sold on eBay.
Palin Redux: We saw only snippets of Palin’s long-awaited appearance on Oprah (slight digression: we hadn’t caught sight of O. since the inauguration and she appears in recent months to have been seriously working out with the knife and the fork) but that was plenty.
Putting aside her utter lack of self-awareness and full-blown case of narcissistic personality disorder, the fact that she’s making MILLIONS OF DOLLARS with her inane book set off a round of Calbuzz tooth-gnashing that cracked a couple of old amalgam crowns dating back to the ’80s.
Among the commentariat, Alessandra Stanley’s account in the Times seemed to best capture the excruciating experience of watching Palin’s insufferable, self-absorbed mugging and posing:
On the show Ms. Winfrey treated Ms. Palin the way she handled former child star and self-described incest victim Mackenzie Phillips — with guarded civility and thinly veiled skepticism.
When Ms. Winfrey asked about her daughter’s ex-boyfriend, Levi Johnston, who has been saying unflattering things about Ms. Palin and may be shopping a book of his own, Ms. Palin tried, and failed, to stay on message. She began by saying that “national television is not the place” to air grievances against the father of her first grandchild, then proceeded to call him “Ricky Hollywood” and say that his plans to pose for Playgirl magazine amounted to “aspiring porn.”
When Ms. Winfrey asked if she would invite Mr. Johnston to Thanksgiving, Ms. Palin gave one of her trademark wandering answers: “You know, that’s a great question,” Ms. Palin said. “And it’s lovely to think that he would ever even consider such a thing.”
As for Johnston & Johnson, Levi is The Man in producing this week’s sign the end of civilization is near here.
It’s Willie’s World, the rest of us just live in it: Speaking of world-class egomaniacs, Willie Brown offered a defining look into his political soul in his Sunday offering for the Chron (still running in the news pages for reasons that remain unfathomable).
Defending Speaker and home girl Nancy Pelosi against criticisms that she ceded too much to conservative Democrats (including passage of the strongly anti-abortion Stupak Amendment) in moving health care reform through the House, the Ayatollah opined:
Nancy knows that the first thing on every Democratic House member’s mind is getting re-elected. In turn, as speaker, her first and foremost job is to ensure they get re-elected.
She also knows that the most important vote they cast once they are re-elected will be to keep her as speaker.
And if that means letting them be a Republican now and then, so be it.
Ah-ha. Forget a strong public option, abortion rights and cost containment, what really matters is who gets to wear the crown. Got it.
These are the good old days: Bill Watkins, California’s sharpest economist and FOC (Friend of Calbuzz) has moved his formidable financial forecast operation south, from UC Santa Barbara to the campus of California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.
There, his newly ensconced Center for Economic Research and Forecasting has just delivered a doozy of a downer prognosis for the state, which translates from econo-speak to: grim, grim, grim.
Among the more striking features of the report is the vehemence of its criticism of state government amid the painful recession:
California’s economy –burdened by endless budget deficits, high taxation, declining spending, onerous regulation, and what seems to be a generalized lack of concern about the economy – continues to underperform the United States economy in every measure. It is amazing to us to watch the political class during this business cycle.
The political problems with Sacramento have become too obvious to ignore, hence, the various proposals to change state government. The economic problems are apparently not so obvious. They continue to be ignored. There seems to be a consensus that California will bounce back, ‘just as we always have.’ We don’t believe California will bounce back without a positive effort…
Balancing California’s budget over the long run would be a good initial step in a positive effort to encourage growth. As it is, the State will face another budget crisis this winter. Based on past performance it is a safe bet that they will not provide a permanent solution that is consistent with long-term economic growth.
Yeah, but other than that they’re doing a helluva job up there, no?