Associated Press photo
“We are confident that the Brown campaign is doing the things that need to be done and we’re in the position we want to be in,” Jerry Brown gubernatorial campaign spokesman Sterling Clifford has said of anxiety that Team Brown is doing too little too late against Repugnican billionaire Megalomaniac Whitman’s multi-million-dollar onslaught. (Brown is shown above in Los Angeles last month.) I’d love to take comfort in Sterling’s words of assurance, but then I recall the 2003 gubernatorial recall election and the gubernatorial election of 2006 – and how well the state’s Democratic “leaders” strategized in those…
You would think that California’s Democratic Party “leaders” would have learned their lesson by now.
First, the state’s party “leaders” underestimated the chances of the wooden and woefully uncharismatic Gov. Gray Davis losing the gubernatorial recall election of 2003.
To recap, Repugnicans were able to get enough signatures on petitions to make the recall election happen, in no small part because Repugnican U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, who had his own eye on the governor’s seat, gave $2 million of his own funds to the signature-collection effort – only to see Hollywood action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger become the Repugnican frontrunner in the gubernatorial recall race.
The state’s Democratic Party “leaders” either truly believed that the unpopular Davis would survive the recall election or they were in deep denial. Therefore, they refused to front a candidate for the recall election (and Davis was not allowed to run as a candidate in the election*), apparently believing that to do so would be to admit Davis’ defeat before the recall election even took place.
When then-Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, a Democrat, decided to run in the recall election (in which I voted for him), he was viewed by the calcified state Democratic Party “leaders” as a heretic, and the state party did not throw its support behind Bustamante, who therefore pretty much was on his own.
The top three vote-getters of the gubernatorial recall election were Schwarzenegger, with 48.6 percent of the vote, Bustamante, with 31.5 percent, and another Repugnican candidate, Tom McClintock, with 13 percent. (More than one individual from each of the two major parties was allowed to run in the recall race.)
Davis was the state’s first governor ever to be recalled and only the second governor to be recalled in the nation’s history. (Eighteen states, including California, allow for gubernatorial recall elections.)
Running against Schwarzenegger in the 2006 gubernatorial election was uber-geek Democrat Phil Angelides, then the state’s treasurer. Polls had shown consistently that the dynamic, youthful, John-Edwards-(before-his-mistress-came-to-light)-like Democrat Steve Westly, the state’s controller, could have defeated Schwarzenegger in November 2006 — and that Angelides could not – but in April 2006 the state’s Democratic Party “leaders” stupidly endorsed the charismatically challenged Angelides anyfuckingway, apparently not having learned a fucking thing from the Davis debacle just a few years before. The state party’s endorsement helped Angelides beat Westly in the June 2006 primary election, but by only 5 percent.
I knew that it was over for boner-shrinker Angelides when I was attending the annual Greek cultural festival here in Sacramento in August 2006, and Angelides, a Greek-American, made a surprise appearance at the festival — and no one there seemed to give a shit. If a Greek-American political candidate can’t wow ’em at a fucking Greek festival, he’s fucking toast. (Do the Greeks have their own kind of toast, I wonder?)
Anyway, in November 2006, Schwarzenegger trounced Angelides. True, it was the jock vs. the geek, and in such a matchup the geek almost never wins, but Angelides’ lackluster-at-best campaign didn’t fucking help things. Schwarzenegger won 56 percent of the vote to the Greek geekboy’s pathetic 39 percent.
Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor — it took me years to get used to that — could have been prevented had the state’s Democratic “leaders” fronted a strong candidate (Bustamante or someone else) in the 2003 gubernatorial recall election instead of petulantly acted as though Gray Davis, who is as exciting as is the shade of gray, couldn’t possibly have been recalled.
Schwarzenegger getting a sequel as governor of California in 2006 could have been prevented had the state’s clueless Democratic “leaders” gone with the more popular Westly instead of the nerdy Angelides, whom they apparently wanted to reward for his past years of work for the state party — even though polls showed that he couldn’t take out the “Terminator.”
So now it’s year 2010, and two-time California Gov. Jerry Brown is running for a third term. He has my support. I even have a campaign T-shirt already.
But Democrat Brown is running against billionaire Repugnican Megalomaniac Whitman, whose millions and millions of dollars of her own money (more than $90 million thus far) that she’s pumped into her campaign have allowed her to advertise ubiquitously.
Some pundits have surmised that Nutmeg’s advertising overkill actually will work against her, that it will turn off voters and send them to Brown’s camp. I hope that’s true, but we can’t fucking count on that being the case.
Polls have shown Brown’s lead over Nutmeg deteriorating to the point that the latest poll (a Field Poll) puts Brown at 44 percent and Nutmeg at 43 percent – with almost four full months of campaigning to go.
Yes, the majority of California’s voters should go with the frugal candidate who already knows how to do the state’s top job because he’s already done it.
But times have changed. The “independent” or “swing” vote — which I like to refer to as the “dumbfuck vote” — decides way too many elections these days, and the members of the dumbfuck voting bloc, by definition, don’t make their decisions based upon facts, but based upon their gut. And the gut’s main source of “information” is the tay-vay.
And it’s Megalomaniac who’s all over the tay-vay like stink all over dog shit.
Team Brown, on the other hand, truly appears to believe that Jerry Brown’s name recognition is enough. Brown’s name recognition is considerable, but Megalomaniac Whitman, come November, might just show us that everything has its price if one is only willing to pay it.
“If you’re going to run for governor, you have to do what it takes. You can’t tell yourself or tell everyone else there is some special way for you to do this that is completely outside the norms that apply to everyone else,” the Los Angeles Times has quoted veteran state Democratic strategist Garry South of having said recently of the Brown campaign. (South was a strategist for Westly in the 2006 gubernatorial race and he strategized for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s bid for the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nomination. [Newsom now is running for lieutenant governor instead.])
I have to agree with South, and although South probably would put it differently, I think that Team Brown woefully has misunderstimated (as former “President” George W. Bush might put it) the power of the dumbfuck vote that Team Nutmeg seemed to realize long ago: Yes, tell the easily duped dipshits the same lies enough, and they’ll believe them. This tactic of propaganda worked wonders for the unelected Bush regime (and the Hitler regime** before it…).
Memo to Team Brown:
Times have changed. We no longer live in the age of the statesman (or stateswoman). Intellectual ability is seen as a fault by as many voters who view it as a strength, it seems to me. (Hell, maybe even more voters view intelligence as a fault than as a strength.)
We live now in the age of Sarah Palin-Quayle – Twittering and on Facebook.
And billionaire Megalomaniac Whitman — to make up for that pony that she never got, or to make up for the fact that she never was made prom queen, perhaps – is dangerously close to purchasing for herself the most powerful post in the state government of the nation’s most populous state.
It’s past time to fight fire with fire.
*The recall-election ballot had two parts: First was the question as to whether Davis should remain in office or be removed from office. The second question on the ballot was who should replace Davis should he be removed. (Those who voted to retain Davis in office still were allowed to vote for a candidate to replace him as governor in case he was recalled.)
**Brown’s having called Team Nutmeg Nazi-like in its propaganda techniques is not wholly unfounded, and I wholly agree with sexy gay blogger Glenn Greenwald’s recent argument that we can’t make all references and comparisons to Nazis verboten, because sometimes these references and comparisons have some substance to them. (Not that Greenwald would agree with Brown’s having called Team Nutmeg Nazi-like. [But he might…])