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Hypocrisy on reconciliation for health reform?

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Campbell today blasted U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., for supporting use of “reconciliation” to pass health-care reform legislation because that’s a tactic Republicans certainly would never use, even on an issue they felt was terribly important.

Oh, wait, scratch that. They did it too.

For the jargon-challenged, reconciliation is a Senate process intended to allow consideration of certain controversial, budget-related bills by limiting debate and amendment. Basically, it’s a way to get a bill passed without needing the 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, in which a minority delays or entirely obstructs a vote on something by extending debate indefinitely.

“When Senator Barbara Boxer and her Democratic colleagues were in the minority in the US Senate, they would routinely block bills they opposed by using the 60-vote requirement to invoke cloture,” Campbell said in a statement issued today. “Now they’re complaining that the Republicans are doing the same thing, so they’re proposing an end run around the 60-vote requirement using ‘reconciliation’ – a process that’s reserved for bills legitimately and intimately related to the budget process. It was never intended for major policy bills.”

“Whether you like or dislike the Democrats’ health care bill, there’s no doubt it is a major policy proposal. If ‘reconciliation’ is used to jam this unpopular proposal through, it can be used for any purpose, essentially killing the 60-vote requirement,” he said.

Senate Republicans had no problem using reconciliation to jam through the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005, and the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.

And does anyone really think bringing health-care costs under control while extending coverage to tens of millions of currently-uninsured Americans isn’t “legitimately and intimately related to the budget process?” If so, the Congressional Budget Office has some news for you:

The nation’s long-term fiscal balance will be determined primarily by the future rate of health care cost growth. If health care costs continued growing at the same rate over the next four decades as they did over the past four decades, federal spending on Medicare andMedicaid alone would rise to about 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050 — roughly the share of the economy now accounted for by the entire federal budget.

And that’s from three years ago. Still, Campbell continues:

“The 60-vote requirement is an important protection against major policy changes being adopted by the thinnest of majorities. While it’s not found in the Constitution itself, the bi-cameral nature of legislation indicates a desire to obtain broad consensus, not just a popular majority, before legislation is enacted.

“In the present context, that necessity is made even clearer by the resounding voice of the American people against what the Democrats attempted to push through as health care reform prior to the Massachusetts Senate election. The American people were particularly repulsed at the abuses of majority power by the special deals worked out for Nebraska and union members. They thought it truly unfair to tax those who have health care insurance packages more generous than what the Democrats’ bill considered ‘good enough,’ and then exempting union members from that tax.

“If Senator Barbara Boxer and her colleagues use ‘reconciliation’ to force their plan on the American people, they will have broken faith with the majority of those they represent, and further tarnished, if that were possible, the reputation of the Congress under Democratic rule.”

This isn’t a question of health-care policy; this is a question of political process, and how things do and don’t get done in Washington. Did the founding fathers intend for every big policy debate to be decided only by supermajority rule, rather than majority rule? Does bipartisanship extend to letting the minority party to stymie anything it disagrees with, and if so, what does “minority party” even mean?

Whatever party is in the minority will always have a big beef with reconciliation, no matter what the issue – nobody likes being told to be quiet and sit down, be they Democrats or Republicans. But who realistically expects one side to refrain from a tactic the other side has used so recently?

Posted on Monday, February 22nd, 2010
Under: Barbara Boxer, healthcare reform, Tom Campbell, U.S. Senate | 2 Comments »

Campaign updates: To debate, or not to debate?

The Republican U.S. Senate primary campaign of Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, advised reporters today that one of his rivals, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, “is trying to shut down a proposed candidate debate at the California Republican Party spring convention” while declining another debate invitation from Brandman University (although Fiorina did apparently accept an invitation from ABC News and the League of Women Voters for a primary debate on May 6 in Los Angeles).

Chuck DeVore“We’re assiduous about not making allegations we can’t source,” DeVore spokesman Joshua Trevino told me this evening – most of the time. “I can’t share how we know the Fiorina people are aggressively trying to quash the CRP debate, I can only assure you it is so.”

Well, a lot of California Republican Party insiders certainly seem to want the candidates to debate. FlashReport publisher and CRP Vice Chairman Jon Fleischman told me this evening that in his contacts with various campaigns and GOP insiders, “I have not sensed that Fiorina is not willing to debate, but I sensed a reticence on the part of her campaign to relinquish her keynote position at the convention luncheon in order to debate.”

California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring said as of now, no debate is scheduled.

“If all of the candidates for Senate or governor came to me and said ‘we want to do a debate at the convention,’ then we would put one on, but absent that, I’ve got to hold a convention,” he said this evening. “At the end of the day, the show must go on.”

Carly FiorinaFiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund got back to me shortly after both the above conversations to note that Nehring had invited Fiorina to keynote the lunch back in December, and she had promptly accepted. “Carly looks forward to her speech and to a full compliment of convention activities over the weekend,” Soderlund said. “We have received no invitation to a debate at the convention.”

Of course, Nehring’s invitation for Fiorina to keynote happened before Tom Campbell switched from the GOP gubernatorial primary to this race, shaking up the contest’s dynamics considerably. And Campbell spokesman Jamie Fisfis told me tonight that “we are always open to debates. We have a zillion invites and this would be an important one.”

(UPDATE @ 8:06 P.M.: This just in from California Republican Party Chief Operating Officer Brent Lowder:
“A series of discussions on convention debates were held at the staff level with statewide campaigns in recent months; however, no formal invitations were extended. After recent internal discussion, the CRP has decided not to make any changes to the 2010 Spring Convention agenda involving debates.
“We look forward to an exciting convention that will showcase all of our major candidates and will be the staging ground for a united and energized California Republican Party to achieve important victories in the upcoming general election campaign.”)

(UPDATE @ 2:14 P.M. THURSDAY: Yet more from Lowder, just now: “Based on some confusion arising from my statement yesterday on potential convention debates, I would like to clarify the exact position of the California Republican Party. We are currently moving forward with a convention that has no planned debates in the GOP primaries for Governor or United States Senate because our discussions with the campaigns did not indicate that all candidates would participate. If we were to hear from all of the major candidates in either of those primaries that they would like the CRP to facilitate a debate at the convention, we would be pleased to do so.”)

Meanwhile, incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., announced she’ll file her candidacy documents in person Thursday at the Riverside County Registar of Voters – she has a home in Rancho Mirage – before lunching with supporters in Riverside. She owns a condo up here in Oakland, too, but making a media event out of filing in a red county seems to have more of a centrist “je ne sais quoi,” no?

Today’s minor happenings in the gubernatorial and state Attorney General races, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, 2010 governor's race, Attorney General, Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, Chuck DeVore, Jerry Brown, Republican Party, Tom Campbell, U.S. Senate | 2 Comments »

At least he admits it when he’s wrong

Republican U.S. Senate primary candidate Tom Campbell announced today that he has raised about $700,000 since switching to this race from the gubernatorial primary about a month ago. “Our fundraising is on fire,” said campaign finance director Kimberley Halcomb.

But it was almost primary rival Chuck DeVore’s pants that were on fire. DeVore campaign spokesman Joshua Trevino sent out an e-mail this afternoon urging reporters to double-check Campbell’s numbers; he said Campbell had fudged a November claim of having surpassed $1 million raised for his gubernatorial bid, given Campbell’s end-of-year report showing only $925,000 raised in 2009.

“We’re not saying his present figure is also false. We’re saying it deserves a bit of skepticism given recent history,” Trevino wrote. “Unfortunately, we can’t take the Campbell campaign’s self-reporting on these things at face value.”

Or, maybe you can. Trevino send a second e-mail 32 minutes after the first:

On the e-mail I just sent out to you — well, there’s no way to sugarcoat it. I was wrong in my line of questioning on Tom Campbell’s self-reported numbers. Turns out he raised approximately 200k in his 2008 exploratory phase. I missed that, and mea culpa.

So ignore the previous, or I suppose you can report it as an error if you like. But I hope a takeaway is that we want to be accurate. We’re not the campaign of demon sheep, after all!

Posted on Friday, February 12th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, campaign finance, Chuck DeVore, Tom Campbell, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

Tom Campbell rolls out federal budget plan

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Campbell just held a conference call with reporters to walk us through his federal budget plan, which would produce a $562 billion deficit in FY 2011 – far less than the $1.27 trillion deficit contemplated by President Obama’s plan.

The White House’s budget would let non-defense discretionary spending grow from $581 billion this fiscal year to $670 billion in the next. Campbell wants to cap it at this year’s level, perhaps by eliminating $3 billion in annual spending on corn ethanol subsidies and by selling off Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Of $585 billion in not-yet-spent economic stimulus money under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Campbell would take half and use it to cut payroll taxes for employers hiring new employees who’ve been out of work for at least two months. And rather than spending another $100 billion on the jobs bill now making its way through Congress, Campbell would redirect that money to pay down the national debt.

He’d do the same with $200 billion in money returned by banks from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP); President Obama wants to spend that money to stimulate small-bank lending.

And he’d trim $45 billion out of Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program by letting them grow only enough to cover all who are eligible and to keep up with the general inflation rate. Instead of presuming Medicaid will cover everything, he calls for using this money and the states’ contributions to buy insurance policies for the eligible at a fixed price, flexing the government’s buying-power muscle to get a better deal.

“Overall, you have to say this is how much we have to spend, and no more,” he said, adding he rejects President Obama’s proposals to impose a fee on banks bailed out by TARP and to let the Bush Administration’s tax cuts for the rich expire. “I think that would be a mistake in the current economic circumstances.”

GOP Senate primary rival Carly Fiorina has blasted Campbell for having supported tax increases at times in the past. He said today that as a gubernatorial candidate last year he proposed $3 in spending cuts for every $1 he’d have raised through a temporary gas-tax increase, and had his plan been adopted, Californians would be better off.

But the state and federal budgets are like apples and oranges, he said; the state can’t print money, yet must maintain prisons, schools, roads and other programs without fail.

Asked about Fiorina’s now-notorious “demon sheep” Web video, Campbell said his only reply is “this news conference and the substantive work I’ve done on the budget, that returns the campaign to serious discourse.” (Of course, today’s high road aside, it was only a few days ago that his campaign had some choice words for Fiorina’s ad, and that Campbell himself touted it as a fundraising aid.)

He wouldn’t announce any fundraising numbers, although he said it’s going “exceptionally well” – many who weren’t supporting him for governor are now supporting him for the Senate. He’s contemplating doing fundraising events in New York and Washington, D.C., he said, but no dates have been set yet.

UPDATE @ 4:37 P.M.: Fiorina is irked by Campbell’s comments. From campaign spokeswoman Julie Soderlund:

“It’s encouraging to see that Tom Campbell has finally realized what a huge problem his well-documented and long-standing support for higher taxes is going to be in this campaign. What is also going to be a problem is his continued attempts to misrepresent his record and deceive voters. Unfortunately, facts are stubborn things, and the facts in this case are clear: Carly does not support higher taxes on the Internet or otherwise. Tom Campbell supports taxing the Internet – and has for a long time – and he also supports higher gas taxes, sales taxes, car taxes, and the list goes on.”

Actually, Campbell didn’t say his support of last year’s unsuccessful Proposition 1A – which would’ve coupled a spending cap and a rainy-day fund with one- or two-year extensions in sales, income and car tax hikes – was “a huge problem.” He called it a show of “pragmatism” in which he believed “the overall good is worth the short-term harm,” and he said he believes most Republican voters would agree.

As for Fiorina not supporting “higher taxes on the Internet or otherwise,” I’m not sure how that jibes with the report filed yesterday by KGO television’s Mark Matthews, which said Fiorina in June 2000 acknowledged “(i)t’s not realistic of our industry to stand and say this taxation should never be applied to e-commerce,” and urged states to “(b)ring our taxation system into the modern age so that we can tax in a fair way both on line and offline transactions.”

Posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Carly Fiorina, Tom Campbell, U.S. Senate | 1 Comment »

Rivals pounce on Fiorina’s bankruptcy remark

Everyone’s all up in Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina’s grill today about her comment that California should consider bankruptcy; actually, states can’t declare bankruptcy.

Here’s Fiorina, per the Riverside Press Enterprise yesterday:

Fiorina made a campaign stop at the CalPortland cement plant in Colton. There, she met with more than two dozen local business owners, many in the construction and transportation industries. She fielded questions from them on a host of issues.

One businessman asked her thoughts on whether the state should consider bankruptcy.

“I think it should always be considered,” Fiorina said. “Whether that is the right approach now, I don’t know. I think bankruptcy, as a possibility, at the very least focuses the mind on what has to be done to salvage a situation.”

She tried to walk it back today, talking with the Sac Bee’s Jack Chang:

When asked by The Bee on Wednesday whether she knew states couldn’t declare bankruptcy, Fiorina answered, “Sure, I knew, but what cold comfort is that to all these California voters who may not know that technicality but who are sitting here knowing that by any common-sense definition, this state can’t pay its bills.

“And in fact, the media has described California as bankrupt for months. So I find it interesting that the Democrats are saying legally, it’s not possible. Legally, it’s not possible. But the reality of where we are ought to be focusing people’s minds on what needs to be done.”

When asked what she meant to say the day before, Fiorina answered, “It’s a legal term. It’s also a common sense, everyday term that people use. Morally bankrupt, fiscally bankrupt. In every common sense definition of the word, this state is in serious trouble.”

Her rivals aren’t buying that. Are you?

From James Fisfis, spokesman for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Campbell:

“Carly Fiorina’s claim that bankruptcy ‘should always be considered’ as an option for California is even more bizarre than her ‘demon sheep’ ad. It’s absolutely not an option because it’s not permitted under federal law — which shows a disturbing lack of knowledge for a candidate running for a federal office.”

From Joshua Trevino, spokesman for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chuck DeVore:

“So, to recapitulate:

“1) Carly Fiorina’s mention of a legal impossibility is in fact a mention of a ‘technicality.’
“2) Carly Fiorina’s advocacy of considering an explicit course of action is meant to be understood as a description.
“3) Carly Fiorina says things she professes to have known were untrue when she said them.
“4) Carly Fiorina thinks that people who point out contrary facts are Democrats. (I’ll tell Chuck!)

“Leave aside the troubling nature of an aspirant to federal office dismissing a hypothetical illegality as a ‘technicality.’ Isn’t the bottom line really that Carly Fiorina has a low opinion of the public’s intelligence — and of the intelligence of the media that informs it?”

From California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton:

“Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina suggested that California should keep bankruptcy open as an option. Experts on all sides agree that a state does not have the option to declare bankruptcy.

“Not only does Fiorina’s statement display her ignorance of California and the issues our state faces, but it also sends a message to voters that she’s giving up on the people of California. In the same way that Fiorina thought it too much trouble to vote in the past, she’s now ready to throw in the towel on the state’s economic problems.

“The top of the Republican Senate primary is quickly shaping up to be a contest between a failed CEO looking for a hobby and a man who was the architect of the Schwarzenegger budget disasters that set California on its current course.”

Posted on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Carly Fiorina, Chuck DeVore, Tom Campbell, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

Fiorina, DeVore visit Beck; Campbell not invited

As I’d mentioned yesterday, U.S. Senate GOP primary candidates Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore were both on Fox News personality Glenn Beck’s show yesterday. If you missed it, here ya go:

James Fisfis, communications directror for the campaign of GOP primary frontrunner Tom Campbell, said Campbell wasn’t invited to be on Beck’s show. “If we do receive an invitation, we will accept it.”

Posted on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Carly Fiorina, Chuck DeVore, Tom Campbell, U.S. Senate | 1 Comment »

Carly Fiorina’s Demon Sheep: Day 2

Well, the somewhat unorthodox Web video that U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina launched yesterday to poke holes in rival Tom Campbell’s fiscal-conservatism bona fides has moved fully into the realm of the age-old question, “Are they laughing with her, or are they laughing at her?”

If it was all about attention-getting, then: mission accomplished. It’s getting national exposure through outlets including the New York Times, CBS News, ABC News, Politico, Wonkette and countless others.

But whether that coverage is more about Fiorina’s message (Campbell’s fiscal history) or the medium (a dude in a sheep suit with glowing red eyes)… well, read ‘em and see.

Fiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund says it’s all good. “Good morning to ewe (sorry, couldn’t resist),” she greeted reporters in an e-mail this morning. “If you didn’t get enough of the demon sheep yesterday, good news, you can buy your very own t-shirt to remember it all by. Check it out here: http://www.cafepress.com/exlg/7055772. Watch out Michael Stars, these are going to be all the rage – and for the low price of $15.99. (note: the campaign has nothing to do with the shirts being created…but we sure are amused by them!)”

“The bottom line is that the facts in the ad are true and the more people who see it (and a lot of people have seen it), no matter their reaction to the wolf in sheep’s clothing (otherwise known as the Demon Sheep – hat tip to Team Campbell again), the more voters will learn that Taxin’ Tom Campbell is a fiscal conservative in name only.”

But a third U.S. Senate candidate, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, snapped into action yesterday by launching his own site, www.demonsheep.org, ostensibly maintained by the SFTEODSFOPD – the Society for the Eradication of Demon Sheep from our Political Discourse.”

And this morning, DeVore spokesman Joshua Trevino is shopping around a story about who greenlit the ad, mocking the Fiorina campaign’s stance that so long as people are talking about the ad in any context, it’s all good.

“This line requires one to believe that the Fiorina campaign deliberately weighed the negatives (expenditure of c.$20,000, swift use by both rival campaigns, global mockery) against the positives (attention) and decided the latter outweighed the former,” Trevino wrote. “Suffice it to say that, first, they didn’t — and second, this is a crisis-communications strategy perfected back in 1985, viz.:”

Trevino then traces some Fiorina campaign staffing history to impute that Fiorina herself might’ve seen and approved the ad before its release. Personally, I’d like to think that candidates see and approve all their ads before they’re released; I’d think it more newsworthy if she hadn’t seen it than if she had.

Assuming any of this is newsworthy in the first place.

Posted on Thursday, February 4th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Carly Fiorina, Chuck DeVore, Tom Campbell, U.S. Senate | 3 Comments »

Today’s hot U.S. Senate campaign rhetoric

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, trailing newcomer Tom Campbell in the latest polls, today rolled out a Web site and video taking Campbell to task as a “FCINO” – a Fiscal Conservative in Name Only. (Note to Fiorina campaign staffers: “DINO” and “RINO” worked well as acronyms because they were easily pronounced. Also, the sheep with the glowing red eyes is freaking me out.)

The site and video attack Campbell’s record as state finance director under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Campbell’s support of temporary tax hikes rather than draconian cuts alone to close last year’s enormous budget deficit.

“California voters beware: Tom Campbell is a wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to his campaign rhetoric on taxes and government spending. He is a fiscal liberal masquerading as a ‘Fiscal Conservative In Name Only,’” Fiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund said in today’s news release. “The last thing California needs is another tax-hiking, big-spending senator – Barbara Boxer has done more than her fair share of that over the last 18 years. And given his record of support for higher taxes, more borrowing and increased government spending, there is no reason to believe Taxin’ Tom would be any different.”

Meanwhile, the California Democratic Party rolled out its CarlyFailorina.com site today, highlighting what it calls a failed business record for the former Hewlett-Packard CEO. The site also features an introductory video of Fiorina and invites visitors to submit their own “Carly Fail” stories.

“Carly Fiorina would be an unmitigated disaster for California,” said California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton. “But just don’t take our word for it. Talk to any of the 28,000 people she fired while she was busy sending jobs overseas and running Hewlett-Packard right into the ground.”

So Fiorina, who holds an enormous fundraising (that is, self-funding) advantage, is attacking the rival who’s leading in the polls, while the Democrats keep their sights trained on Fiorina. Who do you think Barbara Boxer would rather face this fall?

UPDATE @ 5:54 P.M.: Soderlund says FCINO is pronounced FAH-SEE-NO.

Pronunciation isn’t most people’s top issue with the site; rather, it seems to be the – ahem – surreal nature of its Web video. Perhaps Robert Cruickshank put it best in his post at Calitics.com, calling it “a cross between a bad church recruitment video, a Monty Python sketch, and a Pink Floyd album cover.”

But as Soderlund puts it, it’s “fine by us since the more people talk about it, the more people watch it, which of course is the whole point.”

And, she noted, although the Democratic site tries to cast the candidate as “Failorina,” it launched with an epic fail of its own.

“We take it as a compliment that Barbara Boxer continues to spend money to attack Carly,” Soderlund said of the California Democratic Party’s site. “She’s clearly the candidate Boxer would least like to face in the general election because she can, and will, beat her. Although, it would be nice if the Democrats could at least get their facts straight, Carly is running for Senate, not Governor – one minor detail.”

UPDATE @ 6:15 P.M.: Wanted to share one more description, this one from Wonkette: “It’s best at the beginning and end, especially the end, picking up steam at exactly 2:26. ’2:26′ is the absolute most terrifying second of video on YouTube since the most recently uploaded clip of Roger Ailes.”

UPDATE @ 7:47 P.M.: When life gives Carly Fiorina lemons, Chuck DeVore makes lemonade!

Posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, Tom Campbell, U.S. Senate | 6 Comments »

Spinning PPIC’s poll on the U.S. Senate race

The Public Policy Institute of California poll released yesterday shows U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., doesn’t have majority support against any of her Republican challengers but leads them all by varying margins.

Former Congressman, state finance director and Cal business school dean Tom Campbell fares best in a head-to-head match-up, with Boxer at 45 percent and Campbell at 41 percent among November’s likely voters. While 79 percent of Democratic likely voters favor Boxer, 84 percent of Republican likely voters favor Campbell; independents are more divided but favor Boxer over Campbell, 42 percent to 37 percent. Boxer has a 14-point lead among female likely voters (50 percent to 36 percent), and Campbell has a 6-point lead among men (46 percent to 40 percent).

Boxer has an eight-point lead over both former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (48 percent to 40 percent) and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine (47 percent to 39 percent).

Among likely voters in the GOP primary, Campbell leads at 27 percent, with Fiorina at 16 percent and DeVore at 8 percent. Campbell leads among likely voters with household incomes both below and above $80,000, and among both men and women. This survey of likely voters includes the 12 percent of independent voters who say they will choose to vote on a Republican ballot.

The margin of error for the 1,223 November likely voters is three percentage points, and the margin for the 425 Republican primary likely voters is five points.

Campbell’s camp says their man might be doing better than this poll indicates; they think PPIC’s methodology short-sells older voters, who seem to like Campbell more.

Fiorina’s camp said the poll “confirms yet again that Barbara Boxer is a highly vulnerable incumbent.”

“More and more Californians are disenchanted by her lackluster record and, despite having been in office for 18 years, she is still unable to break the 50 percent threshold in this poll against any Republican candidate. Carly will continue to hold Boxer accountable for her disappointing tenure in the U.S. Senate, and as voters get to know Carly better in the coming months, her name identification will rise – as will her poll numbers. Meanwhile, Tom Campbell’s performance in both the primary and the general election matchups shows his electoral weakness, despite the higher name recognition that comes with having run for office nine times before. Once voters learn about his record championing higher taxes and bigger government, his support will erode quickly.”

DeVore’s campaign manager, Leisa Brug Kline, said it’s “an interesting and welcome poll for several reasons.

“Though there’s a long way to go, Chuck DeVore’s support is quietly building on the enthusiasm and support of Republicans and conservatives across California – and across America,” she said. “It’s useful to note that this poll was conducted in the week before Scott Brown’s upset victory in the Massachusetts Senate race – an event that has generated tremendous interest in Chuck DeVore and his message of a winning conservatism in California.”

DeVore campaign communications director Joshua Treviño took the fight more directly to Fiorina:

“As Chuck DeVore’s support steadily grows, Carly Fiorina’s is steadily collapsing. The establishment that supported her is defecting to Campbell, and the conservatives who want the real deal are turning to Chuck. With the margin of error on the PPIC poll, and the identical results on the hypothetical general-election matchup, Fiorina and DeVore are in a de facto tie for second place. Even worse for Carly, Chuck DeVore is at dead parity with her in support from women, a demographic she thought was hers.”

“Carly Fiorina’s inevitability narrative died when Tom Campbell entered the race. Now her electability narrative dies as she can’t do better than Chuck DeVore either against Barbara Boxer, or in appeal to the women’s vote. If these trends continue, we’ll see this primary race end as a real choice between a real liberal in Tom Campbell, and a real conservative in Chuck DeVore.”

Posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, Chuck DeVore, polls, Tom Campbell, U.S. Senate | 1 Comment »

Reactions to the State of the Union address

California Republican Party chairman Ron Nehring said that after a year of President Obama trying to jam his agenda down Congressional Republicans’ throats, tonight’s speech sounded more like political positioning and rhetoric than substantive policy. “I saw an attempt to salvage the same health-care package. I saw largely repackaging more than the adoption of a more centrist policy agenda.”

“This unfortunate, constant blaming of his predecessor and his predecessor’s programs – that’s not taking responsibility, that’s not leadership,” Nehring said.

The President also engaged in “a bit of trying to rewrite history” by emphasizing the tax cuts included in the economic-stimulus legislation rather than its wasteful government spending, Nehring said, noting that despite President Obama’s promises to the contrary, the national unemployment rate now hovers around 10 percent and California’s around 12 percent.

And on foreign policy, he said, Obama’s resolute words don’t mask the fact that Iran’s nascent Iranian nuclear program and continued support of groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah still destabilizes the Middle East and stands in the way of regional peace efforts including a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, said he’s pleased that President Obama named as a stimulus success story the $535 million loan guarantee to Fremont-based Solyndra, which will build a plant to produce state-of-the-art solar panels. Alas, Stark said, he didn’t mention the imminent closure of the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) plant, which will cost the East Bay 4,000 to 5,000 jobs.

“He’s got the broad picture right but he was terribly short on specific programs,” Stark said, adding he wishes he’d heard more about money targeted toward communities for infrastructure improvement. “I’m willing to give him credit for trying … I thought it was inspirational, I thought it was a bit short on detail, that’s all.”

Stark, who chairs the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, also said the President’s health-care reform comments indicate he “seems to think more optimistically than I do that he can get it past the House and the Senate. I don’t think he can, I don’t think he can get the Senate to make the changes that are necessary.”

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez, embraced President Obama’s optimism and resoluteness on health-care reform.

“We’re going to continue to meet with the Senate to come to an agreement on what we can pass in the senate on a majority vote, which they can do,” Miller said shortly after the speech. “If you do nothing, people continue to lose their insurance, people continue to be devastated by medical bills … The status quo is crushing our companies and its crushing our families.”

Overall, Miller said, PResient Obama “did a hell of a job” with the speech, given declining polls, the GOP victory in the Massachusetts Senate election, and a tough battle behind and ahead on health care. “I thought it was inspirational, I think he was speaking directly to members of Congress and telling us we have an obligation to do the business of this nation.”

In particular, Miller said, “I think he took the senate to the woodshed” by noting the House has passed bills on jobs, financial reform, education and energy and climate change, and now it’s the Senate’s turn. “He was really telling them, you’ve gotta get this done.”

“If they don’t change, we’re not going to meet the needs of the country”

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, also appreciated that President Obama “put the Senate on the spot,” and also that he did the same to the U.S. Supreme Court over last week’s decision lifting long-standing restrictions on corporate and union spending on federal campaigns. “Very bold of him, but that was the right thing to do.”

Like Stark, Lee said she would’ve liked a few more specifics. “I think he gave us parameters for what he was talking about,” she said, “but I wanted to hear what kind of jobs bill he thinks the Senate should pass” as pertains to targeting the areas of highest need, retraining workers for green industries, creating summer jobs for youth, and so on. “I think we do need a direct government investment in creating jobs, but I think all and all it was a very profound speech, very inspirational, and gave a lot of hope to people.”

Although she said she’s glad he’s “staying the course” on issues such as health-care reform, climate change and issues, there are some things on which Lee flat-out disagreed with President Obama. Her opposition to the 30,000-troop increase for Afghanistan is already on the record, but she said she’s also dead-set against the discretionary spending freeze the President described tonight.

“In a time of despair, during an economic downturn and recession, you don’t freeze discretionary spending. You don’t hurt those who need help the most,” she said, adding she didn’t buy his argument that delaying the freeze until 2011 will alleviate its effect on the struggling economy. “For whatever reason, this is something he thinks has to be part of his economic policy at this time.”

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Posted on Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
Under: Barbara Boxer, Barbara Lee, Carly Fiorina, George Miller, John Garamendi, Obama presidency, Pete Stark, Tom Campbell, U.S. House, U.S. Senate | 7 Comments »