Barbara Boxer

California Election Primer

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Cuz I just can't seem to get enough

Cupla notes about the Failed Golden State today:

* California is still a one-party state. Not necessarily Democrat (though it still leans heavily that way), but in terms of legislative districts–you either live in District Coke or District Pepsi; the minority party rarely competes, and schlubs win office by getting 4,905 votes in a primary election. Today's primary will likely determine scores of seats that won't even get written about in tomorrow's papers.

It ain't like anywhere else

* Wait, it gets worse! California voters, who are justifiably furious at how awful the economy (12.6 percent unemployment) and public policy ($19 billion budget deficit, with a bullet!) are going, nonetheless have almost no outlet for their frustrations in this election. This is in sharp contrast to May 2009, when a series of political establishment-backed ballot initiatives were routed in one of the biggest and most portentious electoral drubbings of our modern age. This time around, with the lifeless Democrats offering a bunch of stale political celebrities, and the Republicans likely choosing two ex-Silicon Valley CEOs for putative governor and senator who between them spent more than $75 million of their own money to win primaries that focused heavily on illegal immigration, about the only vessel for raw voter anger has been Proposition 14. Which, in grand California fashion, will likely exacerbate the problem it aims to fix, by replacing political-party primaries with open elections that graduate the top two vote-getters (from whatever party) to the November election, thereby kneecapping political competition still further.

* In the why-the-rest-of-us-have-to-care department, Reason Contributing Editor Carolyn Lochhead writes in the San Francisco Chronicle that our 50 failed states–led by you know who–are howling in protest at the inability of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to squirt another $24 billion their way:

California and most other states were counting on the money. California, facing a $19 billion budget hole, would get $1.9 billion, most of it to fund Medi-Cal. […]

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined 46 other governors in demanding that the Senate restore the funding when it takes up the legislation as early as today.

An additional $23 billion in federal aid to prevent teacher layoffs across the nation, pushed by the White House and Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, has been attached to an emergency war-spending bill that is exempt from "pay-as-you-go" budget rules. It also faces stiff opposition as worries about the growing national debt, which crossed the $13 trillion mark last week, have begun to trump concern about jobs.

* In case you were hopeful or worried about the California GOP morphing into something halfway effective, let alone non-crazy, consider this: Birther queen Orly Taitz has a non-trivial chance of winning the Republican primary for secretary of state.

* What impact is the Tea Party having? Mostly bupkus.

Some Reason.tv interviews with various candidates. First up, would be GOP senatorial candidate Chuck DeVore:

Next, gubernatorial candidate-turned DeVore/Carly Fiorina competitor Tom Campbell (just click on the link; embed is currently failing).

And finally, longshot Democratic primary challenger to Sen. Barbara Boxer, Mickey Kaus:

California readers, please share your pain in the comments.

NEXT: Test All the Evidence

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  1. the Republicans likely choosing two ex-Silicon Valley CEOs for putative governor and senator who between them spent more than $75 million of their own money

    Just saw on MSNBC an indignant Willie Brown, prodded on by a dimwitted Contessa Brewer, both of whom expressed outrage that the CEOs spent so much (of their own money) on their campaigns, rather than pour half of it down the California budget rat hole to bail out the poor, brave teachers.

    1. I am sure Contessa was so concerned about people spending their own money when Dave Corzine, Elliot Spitzer and Nanny Bloomburg were doing the same. What a fucking joke.

      1. The Contessa is astonishingly stupid, even for an MSNBC newsreader.

        1. She is totally the product of the casting couch.

        2. Didn’t Imus have something to say about her a few years ago?

          1. Yeah. She got her break being a newsreader for him. And then she said a bunch of nasty things about him to some media outlet. And of course, Imus being her boss and having a huge megaphone, absolutely destroyed her on national radio.

            The woman is not bright.

            1. Good thing she has straight hair.

              1. DYLAN RATIGAN: And did you call Jesse Jackson Al Sharpton the other day?

                CONTESSA BREWER: Not the other day, just yesterday.

                RATIGAN: Just yesterday. Can we talk about that later?

                BREWER: Yeah, of course, let’s-

                RATIGAN: Because that’s ? I feel kind of bad ? he’s just sitting there and-

                BREWER: I would love to talk about this.

                RATIGAN: But I think there’s some humor to be had in all this.

                BREWER: Well, let’s try-

                RATIGAN: And it was an honest mistake on your part, which I think is worth explaining.

                BREWER: Right. Let’s try to find the humor.

                RATIGAN: And I think we should find the humor.

                BREWER: Alright.

                RATIGAN: And maybe we’ll take some more of those dental drugs, we’ll feel, you know ? I’m kidding.

                BREWER: First calling him by the wrong name, then oral surgery. How’s that for a day?

                RATIGAN: Exactly.

                9:56AM SEGMENT:

                TOURE: One last thing. Contessa?

                CONTESSA BREWER: Yes?

                RATIGAN: Oh yeah.

                TOURE: I’m not Al Sharpton.

                RATIGAN: This is not Al Sharpton.

                TOURE: Just want to be clear on that.

                RATIGAN: You understand that?

                TOURE: I know you have that all black people look alike thing going on.

                BREWER: It wasn’t that. It’s ? you know what, Toure?

                TOURE (in female voice): It was the prompter.

                BREWER: Listen, thank you for clearing it up. I really appreciate that. Kind of you.

                RATIGAN: Yeah. I’m not Al Sharpton either, Contessa, just for the record. I know I kind of have a-

                TOURE: Not Giethner-

                RATIGAN: -slight resemblance.

                TOURE: Not Summers.

                RATIGAN: I’m not Tim Giethner.

                BREWER: It actually says Toure in the prompter.

                TOURE: Not Volker.

                RATIGAN: Yeah. I am not Paul Volker.

    2. What kind of trash calls their kid “Contessa?”

      1. The Disney-impaired kind?

      2. Pretentious and overindulgent trash, Mr. Cooper, the kind that wish to live vicariously through our spoiled little princess.

        1. That’s a solid A.

          1. I’d still hit it.

            1. It’s that jaw, isn’t it.

  2. California voters…have almost no outlet for their frustrations in this election.

    They could write in “Giant Douche” or “Turd Sandwich” (flip a coin). I would love to hear someone read that on the news.

    1. If Proposition 14 passes, nobody will be able to write in ANYTHING in November. “Top two” survivors from the primary ONLY, dontcha know.

      1. I guess the right people will be in charge, so problem solved anyway, right?

    2. I’m wishing I could find that Onion piece about write-ins during the 2000 elections which featured “My Big Black Ass” as one of the more popular ones…

  3. howling in protest at the inability of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to squirt

    Thanks for the visual.

  4. Wait, is his name really O RLY?

    1. It’s a her. And she looks as crazy as her name sounds. And when she talks she’s even crazier than that.

      If she wins, hopefully the San Andreas fault will finally finish the job. Only problem is that they’ll no longer be sequestered there.

      1. As a Democrat, she is the prime example of why I’m against prop 14. Arnie never would have won a Republican primary; he’s not fucking crazy enough. He was only elected due to the 2003 special election being a winner-take-all, no primary thing. If prop 14 passes, Republican moderates might actually make the November ballot, as opposed to the Orlys of the world, who always lose to a sane Democrat by 20 points. The Democrats almost never nominate complete whackjobs (if such run, they lose in the primary)-in California, the Republicans always do.

  5. Here’s the California election in a nutshell: the “gimme gimme” crowd will continue to vote itself more goodies from the tax revenue of future generations.

    1. Interestingly, there are no propositions on this election ballot that result in significantly higher government spending, which is rare.

      1. There is Prop E in Los Angeles. You see our schools are underfunded and if you don’t support a parcel tax for schools you hate children. So vote for this tax increase for schools. Again. It’s different than the tax increase for schools we had you vote for 6 months ago.

  6. OH wow, thats making a lot of sense dude. I mean seriously. Wow.

    Lou
    http://www.Anonymous-VPN.de.tc

    1. His Gestalt Aha moments always give me the shivers!

  7. I thought it was spelled bupkes.

    1. and here I’ve been thinking it was buttkiss all this time…

    2. BUPKUS and BUPKES are both legal Scrabble words in North America, according to the tournament word list.

      (You learn something new every day. I wouldn’t have known both were correct, although I don’t recall ever having the letters on my rack to play either of them.)

  8. Coke and Pepsi are too dissimilar. The California parties are more like gonorrhea you got from your sister and gonorrhea you got from your sister that she got from your dad.

    1. Your family reunions must be tense affairs.

      1. Not since antibiotics came to the hills.

  9. California Split is a good movie. Whatever happened George Seigel? He was quite a big star in his day. And he literally turned into a pumpkin right about the time the 70s ended.

    1. He mostly started doing TV work. He’s had about 70 credits since the end of the 70s.

      Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?
      I haven’t seen that in years. I do remember that someone was killed in a duck press.

      Segel was also the lead in Denzel Washington’s first feature film, Carbon Copy.

      1. Correct! Maybe you have the chops to be a short order cook after all!

      2. I remember that one. The Chefs were killed according to their famous recipe. I don’t remember a duck press. But I do remember a guy drowning in a lobster tank. And one of the characters is literally eating himself to death on gourmet food.

        It had Jackie Bisset in it, which is never a bad thing.

        1. Yeah and one of the guys was baked to death in an oven and the killer tried to put a bomb in Jacqueline Bisset’s mixer. Great movie.

          1. “the killer tried to put a bomb in Jacqueline Bisset’s mixer. ”

            Back in the 70’s, we all wanted to do that.

    2. Like the Bee Gees, Barry Manilow, Burt Reynolds, the Village People, and countless others, his career had to die for our sins of participating in the ’70s. I built an entire thrift-store record collection on 1980s shame of 1970s excesses….

      1. Sharky’s Machine came out in 1981, but was probably conceived and written in the 70’s.

      2. Burt still had the Cannon Ball Run movies left in him come the 1980s. He was a big deal until about 1985 or so.

      3. How quickly we have forgotten Segal’s magnum TV opus, Just Shoot Me, featuring the great David Spade and even greater from the neck down Laura San Giacomo.

        1. To this day, I don’t know what Laura San Giacomo looks like, bit I can recognize the sweater puppies as “that woman from Just Shoot Me.

      4. We weren’t excessive, Mr. Welch. Tacky and kitzchy, but not excessive.

        You have yet to explain the sins of your hair, stone thrower.

        1. Oh, I’m a ’70s defender, not hater. Sins are in the eye of the beholders, not me.

          And my hair, long lamented, was perfect.

          1. Your generation was the pioneers of fun fashion too!

            1. Up yours, bitch.

              1. There was nothing psychedelic about the 1920’s

                1. There was nothing psychedelic about the 1920’s

                  Says you.

                2. The great Max Eastman once attended a peyote party thrown by Mabel Dodge in Greenwich Village circa 1912. Pretty bad trip though: one participant flipped out and was institutionalized. Also, i recommend getting ripped and watching the 1930 film Madame Satan.

                  (OK, neither are precisely the ’20s, but still….)

              2. Small fry.

          2. And my hair, long lamented, was perfect.

            Your hair was lamented long, not long lamented.

          3. I have a collection of Avon aftershave bottles from the late 60s-early 70s, http://www.bodnarchuk.com/vint…..ANTERS.JPG and they still contain the original scents. By cracking open the screw tops you can experience what that era actually smelled like, and to those of us who were there, we really stunk, didn’t we?

        2. Fondue, mood rings, Farah’s hair, Suzanne’s nipples in primetime. Good times…

          1. Fondue, mood rings, Farah’s hair, Suzanne’s nipples in primetime. Good times…

            I edited out everything but the good stuff.

            1. Try to imagine them in HDTV!

              1. I do, several times a day…

          2. nipples on posters.

      5. The 70s was the best decade for film.

        1. That’s a film-school myth.

          1. No, it isn’t.

            1. Yeah, it is. But what hooked you: the “gritty realism” cliche?

              1. The fewer shitty movies clich

                1. Haha, you only think there were fewer shitty movies in the 70s because the bad ones were buried decades ago and are never shown.

                  1. Yes, yes, the bulk of any decade is crap. Just like with music. But more films were great during that period, which was more focused on storytelling than subsequent years have been.

  10. California readers, please share your pain in the comments.

    I’d rather not open up that can of worms. I need to be productive today.

  11. As a resident of Texas, let me just get on the record: HA HA! Not like our state politics isn’t a peculiar dysfunctional mess, but y’all got us beat.

    1. I think that because our legislature meets for 6 months every two years is the only thing saving us. If they were in session year round we would be hosed. Take the steroid testing as an example.

      1. Virginia has a pretty sweet deal too… only meets for 6 weeks per year. And we’ve been blessed by the fact that the governor and the two houses have had a party split for the last 20 years. They block each other on everything. Its awesome.

      2. Yes, making it unconstitutional to legislate in even numbered years and having a powerful Lt. governor are probably the two parts that work. God knows it isn’t the Railroad Commission.

    2. Yea but the ultimate “Ha Ha” will be on you, T, as your state and all others will have to bail us out. Thanks in advance!

  12. the minority party rarely competes, and schlubs win office by getting 4,905 votes in a primary election. Today’s primary will likely determine scores of seats that won’t even get written about in tomorrow’s papers … the only vessel for raw voter anger has been Proposition 14. Which, in grand California fashion, will likely exacerbate the problem it aims to fix, by replacing political-party primaries with open elections that graduate the top two vote-getters (from whatever party) to the November election, thereby kneecapping political competition still further.

    Hmmm … replacing thinly attended primaries which determine who wins the seat before most people are even thinking about elections, with fiercely contested general elections between viable candidates =/= “kneecapping political competition”

    Typing is not a substitute for thinking, Matt.

    1. you might want to read the proposition. There would be an open primary that would still be thinly attended. That primary would determine which two and only two candidates get to compete in the general election. Hmmm wonder which parties they will come from.

      1. Hmmm wonder which parties they will come from.

        Yes, that will reduce the percentage of third party candidates getting elected in CA from 0.0% to 0.0%.

        What it will do will be allow centrist candidates to compete, rather than having deeply partisan and unrepresentative candidates from whichever party controls that gerrymandered district to get elected based on votes from as little as single-digit percentages of the population (hint: partisan union members turn out disproportionately for primaries).

        The net result is likely to be less union control of a state being driven off a cliff by the deathgrip public sector unions have on the disposition of taxes.

        1. What it will do will be allow centrist candidates to compete…

          Three ways to accomplish this:

          1. Skip the primary and have an open election in November, require 50% to win, and runoff the top two in December.

          2. Use instant runoff voting to emulate 1.

          3. Kidnap the primary to determine the top two in June when only name recognition will matter.

          Which one did they choose? You got it: The one that most empowers the incumbents and disempowers alternative candidates.

          1. MikeP, all that is true. But, the question is, is this proposal better than the status quo, NOT every conceiveable alternative?

            I say it is an improvement on the status quo. If you can’t get even half a loaf, take a slice — and then press for more.

          2. Isn’t this basically the same thing as #1, minus the 50% to win aspect?

            1. And minus the continuing political conversation offered by more candidates and the continuing threat of defections to minor candidates all the way into November instead of only up to June.

        2. That’s what I’m thinking/hoping for.

          I voted for it today, it certainly can’t make shit any worse.

    2. Third party candidates are effectively hosed.

      1. they were hosed before anyway.

    3. It gets worse…

      The way minor parties generally qualify to put presidential candidates on the ballot is to cross a threshold in the general election for any statewide office.

      Now that Prop 14 makes the general election for all statewide offices between two mushy demoplicans, third parties will no longer be able to qualify their non-state candidates.

      1. damn hadn’t thought of that one

      2. Any attack made by the Rebels against this station would be a useless gesture, no matter what technical data they have obtained. This station is now the ultimate power in the universe. I suggest we use it.

    4. One of the unintended consequences of the initiative is that incumbents will now start running for re-election even sooner, since really the only election that matters is the primary. It is a typical CA initiative which has good intentions (open elections) then just adds one or two items to make it ridiculous (candidates hide political affiliation for the primary, only the top 2 vote getters compete in November without write-ins, etc).

      1. One of the unintended consequences of the initiative is that incumbents will now start running for re-election even sooner, since really the only election that matters is the primary.

        They ALREADY do. What you describe is the status quo. If this initiative passes, suddenly far-left or far-right incumbents will be facing a centrist candidate who has the ability to unseat them. So then both the primary and general election will matter, where now only the primary will matter.

        It will make it harder for polarized candidates to get re-elected, not easier.

        1. Not in my opinion. We will get far left Dems scooping up the Dem vote with far right Reps taking the Rep vote. If the party primaries go to the two more extreme candidate now, you will just have those same two extreme candidates pandering to their bases. Then they will face each other in the general election, just like now. The difference is that third parties will be excluded from the general election.

          1. So two extreme candidates, one from the left and one from the right, can always scoop up more votes in a primary than a centrist?

            Even in, say, a district like San Francisco that is 80% to 90% Democratic? Srsly?

            Take the recent congressional special election race in HI-1. One far-left union Democrat (Colleen Hanabusa), one not quite so extreme, not entirely sold out to the unions lefty Democrat (Ed Case), one centrist Republican (Charles Djou), a host of minor candidates.

            Winner — the centrist Republican with 40% of the vote, and the two Democrats both getting about 30%.

            Now, in the upcoming general election, the far-left union Democrat is by far the favorite to win, but under the California system she might get bumped off.

        2. “They ALREADY do. What you describe is the status quo. If this initiative passes, suddenly far-left or far-right incumbents will be facing a centrist candidate who has the ability to unseat them. So then both the primary and general election will matter, where now only the primary will matter.”

          I might entertain that argument, if we hadn’t already established the Prop 11 commission with the express charter to create fair, competitive districts. Prop. 14 might offer a “Plan B” if and when Prop. 11 redistricting fails. But before then, it is a premature intervention, which will have the effect of sweeping away third parties before we can see if the earlier-approved Prop. 11 can work.

  13. Throw the rock on the pedal and ghost ride this p*o*s of the cliff.

    (done with smart ass comment, quietly goes back to work to pay bloated Cali slug salaries)

  14. I would just like to give my California ex-neighbors a wholeheartedly “Good Riddance”, now that I don’t live there anymore and thus, spare myself and my family of seeing that awful place colapse unto itself.

    “GOOD RIDDANCE”, fools.

    1. Remember, this is where you sing out “It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right…”

      (Whether or not people realize the title to the song, it’s somehow coming to be universally recognized as a means of saying “The party’s over. Go away!”)

  15. nonetheless have almost no outlet for their frustrations

    When did they ban Starbucks?

  16. Before any gets to gleeful about our demise, it’s worth remember that California gets about 80 cents back for every dollar it sends to Washington. As dysfunctional as we are, we’ve still kind of been carrying the rest of you.

    1. Without states like California, there wouldn’t be so much money going in and out of the Federal Government in the first place. Not to mention product mandates that end up costing everybody just so something can be sold in California. So, no.

    2. Please keep it. Let the other parasites starve too.

    3. We have you to thank for the power-saver everything? Not much to brag about.

    4. Feel free to go your own way, anytime.

      Besides, I dunno about “we”. What would happen if we cut all the super-rich celebs and Silicon Valley capitalists out of the tax base?

  17. I left California for Nevada on April 1. The state is just as dysfunctional, but at least I don’t have to pay the 10% income tax.

    1. I’m thinking of doing the same and I don’t even make enough money to pay income tax.

  18. * What impact is the Tea Party having? Mostly bupkus.

    Told you.

  19. Well, fuck you, too!
    (Sorry, just being preemptive.)

  20. good…I hope california goes bankrupt big time…I’d hate to see someone come into office and put the breaks on right as they are driving off the cliff. Put the petal to the metal dudes!

    1. The other 49 states will bail us out.

      1. You mean the other 49 states will bail out the California Branch of the SEIU and the CTA. The taxpayers aren’t going to get shit. In fact, if GM is any example, Andy Stern will be in his new post as Tsar of California when it is all said and done.

  21. California readers, please share your pain in the comments.

    Move to Texas. If you want to stay then you should know it is only going to get worse.

  22. Carlyfornia (goddamn, I hate even typing that in a sarcastic sense) is likely to win the GOP Senate primary today, leaving Boxer and her 10 million dollars to tear her to pieces over her abysmal business record and habitual lying. Too bad her opponents didn’t have enough money to reveal her as the airhead that she is.

    Both the GOP Governor candidates suck sweaty donkey balls and I still have a few hours left to be subjected to both of their attack ads all over TV. I’ll still have to tolerate eMeg’s face every other commercial break for months.

    Prop 14 is probably going to pass, leaving me to choose between Tweedledee and Tweedledum every fucking November like I can’t tolerate a few extra names on a goddamn piece of paper.

    The state’s finances will continue to go down the toilet and Jerry Brown is going to be the next Governor.

    I fucking hate that it’s so nice here.

    1. I was too tired and unenthused to even vote today. Fiorina is no prize, but anybody would be pretty than Boxer. Jerry Brown actually didn’t do too badly as mayor of Oakland, but you never know with him. I’ll always remember the clip I saw on MTV circa 1980 (IIRC) in which he blamed the high cost of college on a racist conspiracy to keep out non-whites. Yeah, right.

      1. pretty -> better

      2. I’m so disgusted by the GOP primary winners today that I might actually vote dem for the first time in my life in November (Boxer was against both Iraq and the PATRIOT act was she not?)

        1. Don’t do it. Vote gridlock.

  23. i moved to california from texas 3 years ago.

    i learned my lesson and am leaving. california is hopeless.

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