Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘republican state convention’



Epic Clash of GOP Titans – Giants Beat Rangers 8-5

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

After months of anticipation, build-up and trash-talking between the rival camps, Republican wannabe governors Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner met in their first critical face-to-face debate Monday night – and when the rubber met the road, the deal went down and the dust settled, 10 things were very clear:

1-She’s wayyyy taller than he is. Not since Mugsy Bogues took it to the hole against Manute Bol has there been such a vertical mismatch as that revealed by the shot of eMeg and The Commish shaking hands at the beginning of Monday night’s New Majority debate in Costa Mesa, which reminded us of that silly theory that the taller candidate always wins the election.

2-Ustream totally sucks. Okay, so Calbuzz admits we were a teeny bit late to the party vis a vis the whole debate thing, as we had a pressing engagement at Surprise Stadium to watch the Giants open a can of whupass on the Rangers, 8-5, with Fred Lewis going yard in the first inning to set the tone of the evening.

But, hey, we did the responsible thing and left in the top of the 6th, which was plenty of time to get back to the hotel, watch the web replay and come up with a host of characteristically blinding insights about the debate. But noooo…Ustream had to muck everything up so we could only watch the debate in four second increments, followed by endless stretches of waiting before the next four seconds of Meg saying “I’ve been in business 30 years,” and Steve yelling, “immigration, bold tax cuts, immigration” which got REALLY ANNOYING really quickly and left us reliant on the views of others, which actually turned out to be pretty uniform anyway.

3-The L.A. Times thought it was a snoozefest. How’s this for a grabber headline: “Poizner, Whitman cover familiar territory in debate.” And when Cathy Decker calls it “generally genteel” in the lede, you can be sure no one made news.

4-Poizner won. We know this because there was an email waiting in our inbox from his campaign that quoted communications director Jarrod Agen and said, “Steve Poizner Wins Debate.”

5-The San Jose Mercury-News thought it was a snooze fest. How’s this for stop the presses stuff: “Long anticipated first debate between Whitman and Poizner mostly echoes stump speeches.” Zzzzz.

6-Whitman won. We know this because there was an email waiting in our inbox from her campaign that quoted Tucker Bounds, her communications director, as saying, “This was an enormous victory for our campaign tonight.”

7-The Chronicle thought it was a snoozefest. “Poizner-Whitman: GOP Candidates’ First Debate.” This is what is known in the business as a “neutral headline.” Lock up the kids, Maude, those whacky Republicans are at it again.

8-The most entertaining webcast of the night was Flashreport’s guided tour of the food of the pressroom at the debate site. At least Fleischman’s video WORKED.

9-Meg looked silly forgetting her mic. From the pieces of the damn thing we actually got to see, Her Megness was  so excited to start ripping Poizner’s face off that she started delivering her mandatory thanks to the organizers and opening lines without remembering that she needed to hold a microphone to do it. Sheesh.

10-Meg won. As Ken McLaughlin pointed out in his piece, eMeg’s big challenge of the night was to prove she was “ready for prime time.” By at least holding her own with Poizner, not committing a major gaffe or falling off the stage, she clearly accomplished that, while The Commish fell short of forcing a turnover, which is what he needed to change the campaign narrative with the debate. Did we mention that she’s a lot taller?

GOP Wrap-up: When Blind Men Grope Elephants

Monday, March 15th, 2010

From eMeg’s historic press conference and Dudley Do Right’s abject apology to Hurricane Carly’s Oprah star turn and Stevie Wonder’s  imitation of Attila the Hun, the Republican state convention was 48 hours of pure existential ennui punctuated by a few peak experiences. Here are the weekend highlights and low lights.

eMeg channels Leona – Meg Whitman drew a batch of favorable coverage for finally meeting with reporters, but some of her ditzier comments got lost in the scrum.

For starters, LAT beat man Michael Finnegan asked a tough question about her investments in companies “that profit from the economic hardships that people are undergoing in California.” Her answer was stunningly tone deaf, as she passed on the plight of working people in favor of discussing her investment planning principles:

We obviously have a broad portfolio of investments…you know, everything from normal stocks and bonds to distressed funds…I don’t think it makes a difference in terms of hurting individual people – it’s a smart investment strategy that we employ both or our personal funds as well as for our foundations.

The Commish channels Jerry Brown – Steve Poizner spent the weekend defending himself against press reports and Whitman charges that he’s a late-to-the-party conservative whose record is papered with examples of moderate and liberal stands on which he’s flip-flopped. At one he offered this Jerry Brown-like evolutionary explanation (HT to AP’s Juliet Williams):

Some of my positions have solidified or crystallized, but I was a conservative back then, and I’m a passionate conservative now.

No word yet what “passionate conservatives” evolve into – “knuckle draggers,” perhaps?

Hurricane Carly does Lady Gaga – Carly Fiorina emerged as the star of the show, injecting a much-needed blast of energy into the proceedings Saturday with her Oprah-miked, lady-in-red, slam-speech,  bringing delegates to their feet and walking the talk about why she’d be a tough opponent for Barbara Boxer. Working in the round, she spoke without notes except for a single sheet of paper set atop a stool in her stand-up set-up, and in the process managed to hit a few sour notes.

One came about the 12th time she begged for approval: “Yes, you can applaud,” she said repeatedly, after one of her applause lines had hit the wall. She also offered up the single clunkiest line of the  the weekend when she inexplicably compared her chemo-cut to Boxer’s political longevity:

“The biggest difference between  Barbara Boxer’s Senate career and my hair is that my hair will grow longer.”

No word on what the lesser differences between Boxer’s career and Carly’s hair might be.

Campbell releases his inner Br’er Rabbit – The nominal front-runner in the Senate race has had a miserable couple of weeks, as he’s gotten more and more ensnared with the political tar baby of his past support for jihadist professor Sami Al-Arian. It was just two weeks that Campbell snapped with righteous indignation at the “silent slander” being waged against him by Camp Carly on the issue.

Since then Fiorina manager Julie Soderlund has kept the pressure on, pounding Campbell day after day with fact after fact, forcing him to revise his story about his ties to Al-Arian repeatedly and finally to flat-out apologize at a press conference as the convention got underway on Friday afternoon.

Chuck DeVore briefs the war room – At his Saturday press conference, the Orange County assemblyman and wannabe Senator’s military bearing, crisp presentation and invocation of Sun Tzu underscored his status as an Army Reserve Lt. Colonel; his sharp command of facts about the political terrain of 2010 and the organizational aspect of the GOP Senate race made his case for the chances of a long-shot upset bid for the nomination plausible, if not persuasive.

He admitted he won’t have enough money to do a serious TV buy, but argued that as the Fiorina-Campbell race gets nastier and more personal every day, it’s likely heading for a murder-suicide denounement: “What happens when the rubble clears” he asked Calbuzz rhetorically, then pointed a big thumb to his own chest, with a smile.

Madness in Marketing – Fiorina media consultant Fred Davis deservedly got widespread attention for “Hot Air: The Movie,” his latest break-through-the-clutter web ad, but Team Carly also produced the coolest souvenir of the weekend – a postcard size hologram in which Campbell morphs into the Demon Sheep then turns back into Dudley. The late night guerrilla teams that slipped it under the doors of reporters added a whiff of mystery to the enterprising hit piece.

Best performance by a non-combatant in a supporting role – Aaron McLear, Gov. Schwarzmuscle’s spokesflack, aimed a strong counterpunch to eMeg’s pie hole, after Whitman had opined to reporters that all in all, Arnold’s administration had been pretty lame.

While it’s nice to see Ms. Whitman finally talking to reporters, it would be even better if her comments were based in reality.

Poizner does schtick – Amid a logorrheic torrent of talking points at his press conference, Poizner’s best line was a quick, unplanned quip that came in response to a reporter informing him that Whitman had said she’d voted for him when he ran for the Assembly in 2004. “I can predict that Meg Whitman is going to vote for me again in November 2010,” he said without missing a beat.

eMeg does schtick – Her Megness matched Poizner one-liner for one-liner, when she snapped an answer to a question about her rival’s political record:

There’s one liberal Republican in this race, and it’s not me.

How Republicans are like Crusaders – The parade of party members who delivered invocations before every big event uniformly took as their point of prayerful departure the assumption that God is clearly playing for the GOP squad, as this example from Saturday’s lunch illustrates:

Lord…we humbly ask You to expand the Republican territory.

And maybe put a little oil underneath while you’re at it, Sir.

Mitt Romney morphs into Andrew Dice Clay – Romney’s hard-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside intro of Meg just before her limelight gig was bad enough, but he preceded it with a dumb anecdote set at the 2008 Summer Olympics, where, he said with a leer, he’d paid close attention to his favorite sport – “women’s beach volleyball.” Heh, heh.

Why the media gets a bad rap – The worst press question of the weekend came from the middle of the scrum around eMeg on Friday, when some unidentified knucklehead asked the candidate, who’s a long way from even winning her party’s nomination this clunker:

Would you commit to serving a full four year term if you’re elected governor? There’s been talk about you as a national political figure.

Even Her Megness had a big laugh at that one.

Costco Carla & Lady Gaga Meet PiWi & The Flash

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Knockdown of the Week: A big alleged story in the governor’s race bounding across the blogosphere this week had Meg Whitman pulling  behind-the-scenes strings that supposedly yanked Tom Campbell out of the governor’s race and into the Republican Senate primary campaign.

But while certain members of the pajama-clad, tin-foil hat brigade spun dark conspiracy theories, Chronicler Carla Marinucci did a bit of what you might call your old-fashioned shoe leather reporting: yes, she actually called Campbell on the telephone and asked him about it.

At which point, not only did Dudley Do Right categorically deny the purported story, but also his campaign put out a statement from super-Sacto consultant Bob White, a key, unindicted co-conspirator in the alleged Whitman plot, which dumped several hundred more gallons of ice water on the paranoiac yarn.

Costco Carla’s knockdown left Julie Soderlund, campaign manager for Carly Fiorina, Campbell’s leading GOP rival, looking silly. Soderlund earlier sent out a heavy breathing e-blast trying to advance the uncorroborated blog report that portrayed Campbell as doing everything but lurking around Dealey Plaza with an open umbrella:

What did Tom Campbell know and when did he know it?
What conversations did he have with the Whitman campaign/Whitman’s supporters?
Was there some sort of quid pro quo in this situation?
And, last but certainly not least, what was he promised for jumping out of the Governor’s race?

Puh-leeze. Putting aside the fact that California voters have zero interest in this  inside baseball narrative, rushing out with a bunch of unsubstantiated, stop-the-presses innuendo simply reinforces the widening perception of Demon Sheep Carly as a flake, especially coming on the same day she dug herself a nice big hole on the issue of California declaring bankruptcy, which required emergency clarification spin from the campaign.

Steve Poizner’s campaign looked only slightly less foolish, in also rushing to judgment on the Col. Mustard-with-the-candlestick-in-the-conservatory story line.  Memo to Commish: You got your 15 minutes attacking eMeg over the now-infamous Mike Murphy email so give this line of attack a rest, man.

He calls ’em as he seez ’em and he always call ’em Right: This week’s Nestor Chylak Award for first-rate umpiring goes to Jon “The Flash” Fleischman for his on-the-money essay calling on all the candidates for governor and Senate — he names no names, Meg Whitman — to debate at the upcoming Republican state convention:

This election cycle we have candidates running for major statewide offices that have no history in politics – and therefore no specific way to judge exactly what they will do…

If you are a major candidate for the GOP nomination for Governor, and you’ve not yet agreed to participate in a debate at the Republican convention, the time to do so is now.  Show your support of, and respect for hard-working GOP volunteers (not to mention the other 39 million people in California -ed.) by appearing before them with your sleeves rolled up, ready to take whatever questions should be posited [at] the event.

All this, and he used the word “posited” in a sentence, too. Calbuzz sez check it out.

Virtual Steve vs. Virtual Meg: Just can’t wait to see eMeg and The Commish go nose-to-nose over who hates the Delta smelt more? Calbuzz Online Video Political Cartoon Consultant Don Ringe previews the GOP smackdown here. Spoiler alert: Watch for eMeg’s sucker punch at the end.

If he agrees with Calbuzz, he must be right: Former state controller and Democratic big stick Steve Westly, an eMeg eBay colleague in a past life, argues at Green Tech Media that the Great Woman’s rabid opposition to the AB32 greenhouse gas legislation is not only bad policy but bad politics as well. Whitman’s promise to suspend AB32 on her first day in office, according to the erstwhile Democratic contender for governor:

…would be a stunning step in the wrong direction. Most of the people I know throughout Silicon Valley realize that to be a colossal mistake. This is the highest growth job segment. This state’s job engine for the future is in clean technology. It is one of the key reasons you will see a Democratic governor in 2010.

As we’ve noted previously, her Smokestack Meg play may play well in a Republican primary, but it’s a loser as a general election strategy.

Oh, wait, we’re already in the general election campaign, according to Whitman campaign chairman Pete “PiWi” Wilson, who claims in a this-just-in eMeg eblast:

Jerry Brown and his allies are beginning the General Election today. We must respond…It is now very clear that the entire Republican Party must unite behind Meg’s campaign. We have an outstanding party standard bearer. Since last summer, Meg has led among GOP voters in every independent poll by enormous margins, and those same polls show that she is the strongest Republican candidate against Jerry Brown.

We must unite. Meg and our campaign team are beginning the General Election today, and we are not wasting time.

Geez, who’s gonna tell Poizner? I know, let’s get Murphy to do it!

Life in imitation of art: Loyal Calbuzzers will recall that not long ago, we offered a learned discourse on the theory of political reporting known as Dull But Important, with a glimpse at the fictional magazine of the genre known as “DBI.” Imagine our surprise to learn that the eggheads and chrome domes at UC Bezerkely have broken the frame and are actually producing DBI for real.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: Lady Gaga – she’s just like you and me.