Nathan Smith explains a lot about the roots of the recent middle-class angst in this important article.
Posted by dweintraub at 7:04 PM
Anthony York interviews Friend-of-Arnold and soon-to-be former senior adviser Bonnie Reiss as she exits her job. Funny that for all gnashing of teeth among Republican insiders when Schwarzenegger hired Susan Kennedy a year ago, there were relatively few complaints about the constant presence of Reiss for two years before that. A lifelong Democrat and west-LA liberal (via New York), Reiss was shocked at the influence she said she saw wielded by the unions, especially the public employee unions. Dismay, if not shock, at the public employees' power over the Legislature seems to be a common trait among Democrats who find themselves in top jobs in the executive branch.
Posted by dweintraub at 2:59 PM
Here is the transcript from today's Supreme Court hearing in Massachusetts v. USEPA, the global warming case.
Posted by dweintraub at 1:42 PM
From Doug Johnson at the Rose Institute:
Secretary of State Bruce McPherson predicted that turnout in the state's 2006 General Election would be 55 percent. On election night, it appeared that he was significantly off. As time passes and more ballots are counted, it turns out he was almost perfect: with a handful of ballots still being counted around the state, reported turnout has already reached 54 percent.
The secretary was considerably more accurate than the Field Poll, which projected 51.5 percent turnout.
Instead of the record-low turnout expected when the election-day numbers came in, it turns out 2006 turnout significantly exceeded 2002 turnout: 54.04 percent (so far) to 50.57 percent. It trailed, however, turnout in 1998, which was 57.59 percent. For comparison, turnout in 2004 (a presidential election year) was 76.04 percent; turnout in the 2003 recall was 61.20 percent; and turnout in the governor's 2005 special election was 50.14 percent.
Posted by dweintraub at 2:59 PM
Lance Izumi says Schwarzenegger can honor his mentor, Milton Friedman, by supporting vouchers for students in low-performing schools.
Posted by dweintraub at 2:16 PM
Over at Crossroads, our new site for open-source debate on public policy, Anthony Wright has kicked off a discussion about health care by saying he thinks Schwarzenegger's entry should signal the beginning of closure on the issue, not the beginning of the debate. Wright says legislators have been debating the issue for years, and passing policy change, only to see it blocked by the voters or vetoed by Schwarzenegger. Now, he says, it's time for action. Read the whole thing here, and join the conversation.
Posted by dweintraub at 12:48 PM
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Wednesday in Massachusetts v. EPA, a case that should decide whether the EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as "pollution." The case could have implications for California's tailpipe emissions law and AB 32, its new law to cap greenhouse gas emissions.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:13 AM
I got an e-mail over the weekend from someone blaming the "liberal media" for USC's rise to No. 2 in the college football rankings. According to this person, unbeaten Boise State is more deserving, and others might be as well, but the sports reporters who vote in one of the polls favor USC because it is from left-leaning California, is close to Hollywood and has well known film and journalism schools. As a native Californian, I've certainly heard of the East Coast media bias in the football polls. But never the liberal media bias. Learn something new every day.
Posted by dweintraub at 10:30 AM
The favorite parlor game among Capitol observers these days seems to be trying to guess “which Schwarzenegger” will appear in 2007. For guidance, I suggest going back to this Schwarzenegger quote, which happens to be my favorite. As it happens, he said this at his first press conference as a candidate for governor, outside the Burbank studio of Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, where he had just announced he was running. I’ve always thought it captured the yin and the yang of his governing philosophy better than anything he’s said since:
“The most important thing is that we bring business back to California. There are more businesses leaving California now than ever before. When businesses come back, revenue comes back. When revenue comes back, we can afford all kinds of different programs that are very important. We want to make sure that the children are not left with without any books. We want to make sure that our children have the books, that they have their place in the classroom. We want to make sure they have after school programs. We want to make sure the mothers have affordable day care. We want to make sure the older folks have their care that they need. That everything has to be provided for the people. We have such a great state, there's no reason why we are in the state we are in today.”
Now you can, and we have, disputed some of what he says here, particularly about businesses leaving the state. But the reason I like the quote is that it sums up his unique approach to governing: boost business in order to produce more tax revenue that you can spend on health, education and welfare programs. You hear Republicans talk all the time about growing the economy, but rarely do they cite as a reason for doing so their desire to spend tax revenue. And you hear Democrats talk all the time about the need for more tax revenue. But helping business so that more tax revenue comes into the state’s coffers? Not so much. That’s the essence of the Schwarzenegger way, and you can find it somewhere in most of his incarnations. What’s amazing to me is that he laid it out in his very first statement to the press as a candidate. And while emphaszing different sides of the equation at different times, he has pretty much followed that course ever since. Expect more of the same.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:17 PM
The government is spying on peace protestors in Sacramento and killing a 92-year-old woman in Atlanta after breaking down her door in a "no-knock raid" while looking for a drug dealer. Maybe it is time for the government to take a time-out.
Posted by dweintraub at 3:57 PM
Steve Maviglio, the Democrats' master spinner, takes a turn at defending the Capitol's Republican leadership with this piece detailing all the GOP achievements in this year's budget deal and the bond package.
There were no new taxes -- the bottom line of all Republican legislators. In addition, Republicans negotiated nearly $3 billion in debt pay down; got a larger reserve than the Governor proposed; held the line of fees; won full funding for transportation and a pay down of transportation loans; forced into law a different school funding formula that helped suburban, Republican districts as well as more local control; and received mandated reimbursements for local government.
Despite their rhetoric about spending and new programs being the problem, Republicans sought -- and received -- funding increases for Valley Fever programs and the new Central Valley Partnership. (Apparently Republicans are only against new spending and programs unless they are for them.)
The most public battle of the budget also was a Republican “victory” – the denial of funding for children’s health program expansion proposed by Governor.
On the bonds, Republicans also won the only specific transportation earmark -- $1 billion for Highway 99. In the education bond, Republicans won $1 billion for charter schools and career technical education (the largest amounts ever). Democrats also included dozens of other Republican demands.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:42 AM
Researchers asked 600 Northern Californians to help define what a "basic benefits package" would look like, what would be covered, and what would not be covered. You can read the Health Affairs article on the results if you go through this California Health Care Foundation link.
Posted by dweintraub at 10:23 AM
Catching up on some loose health care ends. The latest details -- or speculation -- about a possible Schwarzenegger health plan:
--Lots of emphasis on prevention, health education, fitness;
--Greater use of technology to improve care and reduce medical errors;
--Reexamination of the state mandates that require insurance companies to offer particular services to every consumer whether they want them or not.
For better or worse, this stuff will be widely seen as tinkering around the edges. He'll have to be bolder than that if he hopes to see 3 million more Californians gain access to affordable coverage.
Meanwhile, here is a proposal by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana to increase access to Medicaid and pay for it with a 25-cent increase in the tobacco tax.
Posted by dweintraub at 8:12 AM
Julia Rosen looks at voter turnout in California and asks why the Democrats can't do more to engage those who share their values but have tuned out politics.
Posted by dweintraub at 8:35 AM
This LA Times story looks at the measures companies are taking to reduce health care costs as employees push back against rising premiums.
Meanwhile, Stanford University is planning to rebuild and expand its hospital while converting most of its rooms to privates, which it says is the new standard in the industry. The rooms, the Mercury News reports, will be "large enough for a comfy couch for family visitors."
Posted by dweintraub at 8:09 AM
A judge has blocked implementation of Escondido's law requiring landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:12 AM
California employers added a net of 9,300 jobs in October, driving the state's unemployment rate down to 4.5 percent. That, according to the EDD, is the lowest rate recorded since 1976.
Posted by dweintraub at 10:10 AM
Bob Sillen gave the Little Hoover Commission an update on the prison health care mess today. I am fascinated by his project and eager to see what he can produce. But I think he might be going a little overboard. What he is trying to do via the federal court that appointed him is to make prison health care the number one priority of the state of California, giving it first call on resources until it has what he says it needs. He's right that we shouldn't be killing people by depriving them of health care while they're locked up. But we don't necessarily need to give them first class care while millions of law-abiding Californians are struggling to get any care at all.
Posted by dweintraub at 4:14 PM
Milton Friedman/Getty Images
With all the talk about the "New Arnold," people forget that his economics education began at the feet of Milton Friedman, who died today. And while his policies don't always show it, Schwarzenegger still claims to adhere to many of the free-market, libertarian-leaning ideas he learned from Friedman. Schwarzenegger's office issued this statement on the governor's behalf:
"Maria and I were so sad to hear about Milton Friedman's death. Milton and his wife Rose, I have said many times, were not only my dear friends. They have been heroes to me for much of my life.
"Milton was one of the great thinkers and economists of the 20th Century, and when I was first exposed to his powerful writings about money, free markets and individual freedom, it was like getting hit by a thunderbolt.
"I wound up giving copies of his books and 'Free to Choose' videos to hundreds of my friends and acquaintances, and later I was lucky enough to meet the Friedmans and we became fast friends.
"A much-beloved Nobel Prize winner and advisor to three presidents and leaders around the world, Milton was kind enough to serve on my Council of Economic Advisors. He was a constant source of inspiration and insight.
"The world has lost a true giant, a tireless advocate for freedom, and I have lost a great friend. Our thoughts and prayers go to Rose and the rest of the Friedman family."
Posted by dweintraub at 11:22 AM
The California Health Care Foundation offers three lessons for expanding access to health care for children:
1. "Simplify" means streamlining the application, enrollment, and renewal processes, as well as simplifying eligibility policies. The issue brief notes that more than 400,000 California children are eligible, but not enrolled in state programs, in part because their families find the application process too difficult to manage. In addition, the publication points out that outreach, assistance, and even the design of materials can increase enrollment.
2. "Automate" means using information technology to ensure that enrollment processes are efficient and effective. Computerized forms eliminate many of the common mistakes that are barriers to enrollment. Electronic applications and common databases can securely store each familiy's application data and supporting documents, making re-certification and other administrative actions easier. Building on technological solutions that help direct children to the appropriate coverage and services will boost the number of children with coverage.
3. "Follow the Leader" means building future state efforts on the successes of innovative coverage initiatives at the county and regional levels. These initiatives have been particularly effective at forming collaboratives with multiple stakeholders to understand and meet local children's coverage needs in creative and effective ways.
Posted by dweintraub at 8:39 AM
Richard Costigan is quitting as the governor's legislative secretary. He's going to open a Sacramento office for McKenna, Long and Aldridge, a national government affairs firm.
Posted by dweintraub at 4:02 PM
A little shake-up just went down in the press secretary ranks over in the Legislative leadership.
Dave Sebeck is leaving Don Perata's office and crossing the Capitol to work for Speaker Fabian Núñez in a communications capacity, including speechwriting.
Richard Stapler is moving from deputy communications director for Núñez to press secretary.
Press office manager Maria Aliferis-Gjerde is moving over to work for Assemblywoman Patty Berg.
Steve Maviglio remains with as Núñez's deputy chief of staff with responsibility for the communications portfolio.
As an aside, we hear that Margita Thompson is going to be leaving the Schwarzenegger shop and a leading candidate to suceed her is Matt David, who did the war-room response thing for the governor's re-election campaign.
Posted by dweintraub at 3:03 PM
My good buddy Chris Reed continues to rag on all of us who have described the 2006 legislative session as "productive." How could it be productive if there's still a budget deficit? Here's how: a Democratic legislature and a Republican governor passing legislation to put $37 billion in public works bonds on the ballot, raise the minimum wage, create a prescription drug discount program and begin an ambitious and risky program to combat global warming is productive. Being productive and solving every problem, or even the biggest problems, the state faces are not necessarily the same thing.
Posted by dweintraub at 2:30 PM
The California Democratic Party's political director takes a moment to gloat about the Dems' out-hustling the Republican GOTV machine.
Posted by dweintraub at 2:22 PM
Here is the LAO's fiscal forecast. Bottom line: a $5.5 billion operating shortfall projected for 07-08. A year end reserve of $3.1 billion reduces that gap by about half, assuming you still leave something in reserve. But that exhausts the rainy day fund and you've still got a structural shortfall to deal with. The good news is that the gap is projected to decline on its own toward the end of the decade, although it never disappears.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:23 AM
In a few minutes Liz Hill will release her annual five-year fiscal forecast for the state. The Department of Finance, meanwhile, reports here on October revenues. It appears that the bump might be mostly due to November sales tax payments coming in a few days early. For the year, revenues are up about $600 million above the forecast.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:03 AM
Posted by dweintraub at 7:28 AM
Following on a campaign in which his ads said things were getting "a little better" in California under his leadership, Schwarzenegger sets a goal of reducing the number of uninsured by half:
"We feel we shouldn't have 6 million people uninsured," he said. "We maybe cannot solve the whole problem, but we definitely can cut it in half and do something that really is impressive and show the rest of the nation that it can be done."
Still no details or even hints about how he thinks that could be done.
Anthony Wright of Health Access California estimates that insuring 3 million people would cost about $6 billion a year.
Posted by dweintraub at 7:13 AM
The health care industry has proposed a plan for expanding coverage nationally.
The insurers' outline calls for:
--Expanding the federally funded State Children's Health Insurance Program to cover all children in families with incomes up to twice the federal poverty level.
--Extending Medicaid eligibility to adults earning up to the federal poverty level, which is $9,800 for a single person.
--Creating a $200-per-child tax credit, or up to $500 per family, that would go to middle-class families who could show their children were covered.
--Creating universal health accounts to make it more affordable for the self-employed and those not covered by an employer to buy coverage on their own.
Later this month, I'll begin moderating an ongoing, online discussion here at SacBee.com on the future of health care in California. Watch this space for details.
Posted by dweintraub at 5:56 AM
If Rudy G. could get nominated, he'd be the only Republican with a prayer of carrying California in 08. And presumably he would be competitive in New York as well. Winning just one of the two would make him almost unbeatable. If he could get nominated.
Posted by dweintraub at 8:29 PM
A roundtable discussion on the 2006 California election.
Two days after the election, The Sacramento Bee hosted five campaign insiders to recap what happened and why. Joining us at the table were:
Steve Schmidt, campaign manager for the Schwarzenegger reelection campaign.
Bill Carrick, senior adviser to the Angelides for Governor campaign.
Gale Kaufman, consultant to the Alliance for a Better California, the Yes on 1D campaign, the No on 89 campaign, and Assembly Democratic candidates.
Rick Claussen, consultant to the No on 86 and No on 89 campaigns.
Andre Pineda, Democrat consultant, pollster.
The discussion was moderated by Bee columnist Daniel Weintraub. Also present and asking questions were Bee political editor Amy Chance, reporter Peter Hecht and editorial writers Pia Lopez and Stuart Leavenworth.
Here are extended excerpts of that conversation:
Q. Bill, you want to start us off? When did you guys know this was a lost cause?
Carrick: I don’t know about when we knew it was a lost cause. When I joined, and we did the first post-primary poll, I thought the most devastating single piece of information was that Angelides had a very high negative from the primary, higher negative than positive…He started out the general election real damaged from the primary. The $43 million that Westly spent, a big significant chunk of it on negative advertising, had defined Phil for the general election universe in a very very negative context. Then we followed that up with focus groups and it was very clear from the focus groups that people did not have a lot of information about Phil. They didn’t know who he was. They didn’t have a sense of what his personal history was, what his biographical history was, what his job resume was. They had no idea. So he started the general election in really very tough shape. The first poll we were down nine, and that quickly became over the course of a few weeks, that quickly became like a 12-point deficit as they went up on the air and basically stayed on the air…
One of the important things they did was, and this is a hard thing to do and an enormous challenge, they improved the mood of the electorate about California. The right direction, wrong direction. If you look at all these exit polls, and all of this should be taken with a grain of salt, but most of them suggest that the voters who felt California was going in the right direction voted overwhelmingly for the governor and the voters who thought the state was going in the wrong direction voted significantly for Phil Angelides. They had turned that number into a sizable majority for right direction over wrong direction…
Q. Was there a turning point?
Schmidt: We settled on whomever the opponent was going to be, and during the spring as we were attaching the race, we both, Matthew and I both believed Phil Angelides was going to be the nominee. Even when Westly had the big leads coming through. Fundamentally, no one knew really either one of them. Neither one of them was defined. A large portion of the state didn’t know anything about them. And Angelides had the institutional support of labor and the Democratic Party. And in a low turnout election we just always believed he would be nominee. But no matter who it was, we had made the decision on the first night we were in the state together on Feb. 1 that the construct of the race was going to be a choice between going forward or going backward. …Everyone was focused on that last year and not the totality of his tenure as governor. We knew we needed to have a successful year governing the state…but that first night we were here, we kind of decided forward versus backward no matter who the opponent was going to be was going to be what we were going to run on. Then we made the decision very early too that we would come right out of the primary at a time when these guys were not well defined and we believed we had a window til about July 4 to define the race. That was our most concentrated amount of advertising. I think we spent $14 million on TV in June through July 4. Then we were up with $4 million in July, $4 million in August and came back up on Labor Day. But we were never at more than $2.5 million a week through the fall campaign, but June was the, we always viewed June as the decisive month in the race. We believed if we did everything right over that post primary period that we could lock in this race, at least from a dynamics perspective by July 15. We could get through the rest of the summer and deep into the campaign in a pretty stable situation, and that’s the way that worked out.
Q. Doesn’t every incumbent run on moving things forward, they’ll move things back? How was your message different? You did this thing on we’ll make things a little bit better. How did you decide you were going to have this kid of understated line about just kind of nudging things forward?
Schmidt: The governor had some successes. The infrastructure bonds package had passed, was governing effectively. Certainly the mood of the state on right track wrong track. You can’t go out and make statements people are not willing to believe. You can’t go out and (say), you know, everything is great. You had a national dynamic, people in a bad mood nationally., California went against the tide a little bit. But it was a believable e statement. People were prepared to believe it was a little bit better than it was, but not taking a kind of giant leap into a place they weren’t ready to go. So we just thought that kind of gradual gradient there, that message, we started out on that.
Q. Gale, in 2005 the labor coalition took the governor down to his knees. This year they played but didn’t seem to have their hearts in it. What went on with that coalition this year and why did they not go all out the way they did in 2005?
Kaufman: Well two reasons. One, I don’t know that I agree with the fact that they didn’t go all out. In 2005 the governor came out very strongly, made big pronouncements, as opposed ...to incremental elements of his message in 2006, took the unions on very directly, very dramatically, and there was a special election that had voters very angry. It was certainly in the unions’ self interest to protect the issues that were on the table. They spent a tremendous amount of money as well as human resources to defeat everything the governor had put on the ballot. You can only do that so many times in so many ways. One of the, it seemed like, original premises behind the whole 2005 agenda was in fact to deplete the resources for 2006. To the degree that that was part of the strategy for the governor’s operation it certainly worked. That was never really actively discussed. But if you ever believed that in fact Phil Angelides was going to be the nominee, and he was going to be the nominee with the support of the unions, what occurred in 2005 became critically important in 2006.
The money was not nearly as, it’s nice to think you can raise and spend $80 million every year, but the fact we ever did it was just extraordinary and almost obscene. Money we now just talk about, $50, $80millon initiative campaigns, it’s just outrageous, from the standpoint you just say it now and it’s so. But for 2006 that was a very difficult thing.
Having said that, the other element of this, for 2006 for the unions to play in a significant role this was the first governor’s race where the whole funding element changed, and there were limits in terms of how you raised and spent money. If you were going to be part of the operation, it was going to have to be in an independent expenditure way. That in its very nature is complicated. Unions have a lot of volunteers and they want to have an active role in the actual campaign. So just establishing how to do an independent expenditure changes the dynamics and also by its nature you can’t communicate with the candidate. We said right off the tot from an Alliance point of view it was never our intention or our goal to try and run Phil Angelides’ campaign. That couldn’t be what we did. Either legally or from the standpoint that there already was a campaign and that needed to be the voice for the candidate. What we could do was either on the ground or through messaging, which we did do at different points along the way, with the limited amount of money that we had. And some of the stories that were discussed about what we had in the way of resources you’ll note I was never quoted in, because in fact they were inaccurate in terms of the kind of money that we had.
Q. How much did the alliance end up spending?
Kaufman: In the general we spent about, in the last run of ads, some were negative about the governor and some were positive for Phil, it was about 6 and a half to 7 million dollars. We spent somewhere in that range. It was under $10 million.
Q. Andre, exit polls are showing the governor got somewhere between 33 and 39 percent of the Latino vote. Do you think that’s accurate and if so what do you think it says about California ad his campaign and that growing piece of the electorate?
Pineda: I do think it’s accurate. I think that there’s always been some reservoir of good will toward Schwarzenegger with Latinos and we saw that with the recall, where according to exit polls he was getting 32 percent of Latinos there. In effect what happened is he rebounded from his poor performance in the special, some of the numbers we saw early in the year, in 2006, where he was down in the teens. The way that he did it, I thought was very interesting, in that he went up on the air, with a Spanish language commercial, and the Spanish language commercial had pictures of California with, in all its multi-ethnic glory. Latinos in there but lots of other people as well. It was just talking about his accomplishments, talking about the things the had done in his term as governor. Talking about the economy, crime, and education, and I noted at the time, they weren’t trying to hit a home run there. They were just saying we need to get back up to where he was in the recall. We need to get back up to about a third. If we do that we’ll be fine. What they needed to do was overcome any memory Latinos had of his comments with regard to the Minutemen the year before. The new team apparently just encouraged him to back track off of it in a huge way, which he did, and the Angelides campaign wasn’t able to, or chose not to drive home that memory of the Minutemen. Instead Schwarzenegger was able to sit there and say this is what I’ve done in California. It’s California issues. This is what everybody cares about. This is what Latinos care about. And as a result he was able to get himself back up to a third or even better.
One of the things that strikes me in the national context, is that so much of what is being talked about nationally, is the way that Republicans have lost all their momentum with Latinos there. Bush had gotten up to, some say 44 percent, others say 40 percent, in his last election, and then this time around, apparently only about 30 percent of Latinos were voting for Republican congressional candidates. It seems to me that what happened in California shows that there’s still, it’s still going to be in play, it’s still open. Once upon a time Bill Clinton was getting 72 percent of the Latino vote. It’s been sort of a pendulum there. It’s swinging back and forth. I definitely think that Democrats should be doing extraordinarily well with (Latinos) and it always surprises me that we do as poorly as we (do). We shouldn’t take from this last election that we’ve got it all figured out. And Schwarzenegger showed that by talking to Latinos on issues other than immigration and so forth, that you can have the success that you need to win.
Q. Steve was that an unusual tactic to run Spanish language ads essentially the same as your English language ads?
Schmidt: That was certainly our approach, that was to communicate the same message to Latinos that we were communicating to everyone else. The number one way you communicate to Latino voters is through English language television as well. You only outlet to communicate to Latino voters is not through Spanish language television, through Univision and everything else, so we had a very conscious decision. Matt Dowd has quite a bit of expertise in this particular area, communicating to Latino voters, always felt very strongly that we weren’t going to go up with the typical here’s our specific message for Latinos, here’s our specific message here, we never cut up our advertising, you know different messages regionally in the state. We had the same message broadcast, on television at least, everywhere in the state. That extended to Latinos too. We did a lot of outreach too in to the African American community and that appears exit poll wise to have paid off. We are some where between 27, 33 percent of the black vote which is a big big number for a Republican.
Carrick: The remarkable thing about exit polls is that Dick Mountjoy’s extensive outreach to the African American community got him 13 percent, Tom McClintock’s outreach to the African American community got him 19 percent of the African American vote. I don’t believe any of that. It’s not true. We’ll find…as the votes come in, and we look at African American precincts and look at Spanish surname precincts and we’ll find these numbers are really not true. We’ll find in both the Latino community and the African American community when we get to real votes we are going to find they are much lower than they are. Now I think the governor did do a lot of outreach in the African American community and I think it sends a message not only to African American voters, it also reinforces the notion that that he’s a different kind of Republican and more moderate, so its useful with Anglo voters as well. I think the same was true, toning down the rhetoric of the pre-Steve Schmidt Mathew Dowd era Arnold. It wasn’t jus the Minutemen, he said many things, when he had an addiction to going on John and Ken, these two guys in La, xenophobic dee-jays, I’m being charitable here, when he had an addiction to going on there he often got himself twisted in knots. They spared Arnold the danger of being on there, til the afternoon before the election –
Schmidt: Seemed like a good time..
Carrick…Steve went on occasionally, played ping pong with them, tried to stay out of trouble, but all of that, they toned all of that down, that not only was positive with the Latino community, it was a positive with all voters, because they wanted to see the governor who was not as divisive and polarizing.
Pineda: I will know how well, or I’ll have a good idea of how the exit polls are on Latinos. Because I am in the field now with a poll of 600 Latinos, not Hispanic surname, I am calling through the entire state and pulling out the Latinos, and part of what I want to see is who was reached by Spanish language television, English language television, all that sort of thing, and let us see how each campaign did in reaching them, and how Latinos say they voted.
Q. Rick, you were briefly involved with the bond campaigns. Do you think the bond campaign had any effect on the governor’s race?
Claussen: No. Honestly the governor probably did a lot to push those over the top. When we get through all the counting and look at where the votes came in and where they didn’t, in some ways the margin by which those passed was almost in spite of the campaign and to a large degree because of the governor’s participation. He campaigned for it pretty heavily those last few weeks and I think without that, without that kind of strange Democrat vote we seemed to get toward the end there, probably several would not have passed and there certainly would have een a much closer margin on all of them
Kaufman: This seemed to be an anomaly…Our pollster on 1D…said after the election this was the only time he’d ever seen bonds start in the 40s and went up. It’s very unusual for any initiative to start and go up. Normally that’s reversed. So there was a very different set of circumstances.
Claussen: Well we had that on 57 and 58 where we started lower and moved the numbers up.
Kaufman. Right. So it’s not never been done. But on bonds in particular where you had to explain to people and it was about money –
Claussen: --And again there was no opposition campaign.
Kaufman: Don’t tell that to the opposition, who thought they were particularly effective.
Q. So Gale, do you think it was because of the governor?
Kaufman: No, I actually think, to some degree yeah. But I think what really occurred on the bonds to a great degree was two things. The benefit for the governor of the bonds was when in fact they passed and they put them on the ballot, it gave him his first substantive, bipartisan event of 2006, something he said he would do at the beginning of the year and was incapable of doing for the primary but ultimately did. There were more good stories about the fact that he did that and it gave him credibility as an incumbent, it was the biggest thing before the budget that he was able to tout. After that there was very little communication other than we added to the ballot argument the fact that there was a bipartisan push, which we saw in all the focus groups on all the bonds was extremely important. That in the end when people started to focus again during the last couple of weeks of the election became incredibly important to passing all of them, the education one being the toughest from day one to pass and ultimately passed by a much larger margin than I think any of us would have expected when we first started to do the campaign.
Claussen: We started tracking almost immediately on a question that said we shouldn’t raise any taxes now period or we should think about raising taxes for critical programs. It’s sort of a bs kind of question. But the interesting thing is that one was always in the 15 to 20 point range and it very closely mirrored the governor’s numbers. All the way through that number stayed very consistent just as the governor’s numbers stayed very consistent. I think in some ways that overlaid anti tax message was to my way of thinking as far more important to the governor’s victory as some of the partisanship issues and the bipartisanship positioning that was undertaken.
Pineda: One thing that was helping him there, was this whole sort of really ugly partisan nastiness that was happening nationwide, that we were feeling in California too too, in effect it had a positive effect on the bond measures. These were so clearly bipartisan. It seems to me what we had here was an electorate that was sort of expressing that it was willing to pay, with credit, not with cash, it was willing to pay with credit for an active government that was focusing on meat and potatoes stuff like schools and roads and so forth. And of course if a Democrat was leading it that would be preferred but it definitely wasn’t required. The bond campaigns were able to take advantage of this, and Schwarzenegger as well. Here’s a bipartisan thing, we’re focusing on the state government equivalent of pot holes, and we’re going to make things better in the state. They managed to do what they are saying is very unusual to move a bond measure up.
Q. Steve…you want to talk about taxes?
Schmidt. Sure, I want to say too about the bonds, I think the education bond would not have passed if the teachers did not run advertising apart from the umbrella committee. I think that was an incredibly smart thing for them to do to pass the education bond. We tracked these bonds ourselves. In our tracking a couple weeks out we were still worried about a number of them on the bubble. I think Larry McCarthy’s television ads for the bonds were effective. They were good ads. Look at all the television packages that ran on local news every night. The governor focused relentlessly on the bonds during the final couple of weeks of the campaign. I do think that made a difference. It was certainly very helpful for getting that passed, certainly among declined to state and independent voters, I think he played a critical role on that. I think on the education bond, I think the teachers made a decision early on that was the right and smart decision and responsible for passing it.
Q. Were you surprised they passed by such a large margin?
Schmidt: I wasn’t surprised. I thought they would be a couple points under. About a week out I was started to feel good that they were all going to pass. I thought they were going to be a little bit closer to 50 than they turned out to be.
Q. Bill you inherited a client that already made a promise to raise taxes . Tell me how you assessed that going in and what did you do to try to address it.
Carrick: In our polling data we constantly asked whether they thought Arnold Schwarzenegger or Phil Angelides was more likely to tax the poll respondent. It was pretty much even. The tax issue in itself isolated I don’t think was necessarily the driving force. I think their ability, to keep move forward, and don’t want to go backward, it tapped into the ghost of Gray Davis message. I thought that was more powerful positioning for the governor. It raised questions among moderate and conservative Democrats about Phil but it wasn’t like a knock out blow in anything we had in terms of the polling. One thing we did address was, Phil obviously came out for a middle class tax cut, which, you know, it would have be better if he had done that in the primary and started to inoculate himself on that issue earlier.
Q. Did bill Clinton advise him to do that?
Carrick: Phil told the president, Clinton that he was going to do it and the president thought it was a good idea. The conversation wasn’t initiated by the president.
Q. Steve, did you prefer to run against Angelides?
Schmidt: When I watched those debates in the primary, they each had strengths, they each had deficits going in. Phil Angelides I thought conveyed toughness and conviction. We never took him for granted as an opponent. We never sized this up as the easy opponent versus the difficult opponent...We always believed that Phil Angelides was going to win that campaign. There was a very instructive lesson in my political career, sitting on my couch in Alexandria, Va., with my dog sitting next to me, surrounded by piles of Howard Dean research information, and I remember when Dean did his scream, I tossed one of my 4000 page books on the ground, the dog woke up barking, jumped up on the couch, and in the morning I said what do we have on John Kerry? You get who you get. You don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.
Carrick: I get a lot smarter after the election. One of the things it’s important to remember is that Democrats picked up six governorships nationwide Tuesday. Only one of them was a defeat of an incumbent governor…The other five seats wre open seats. It’s damn hard to beat an incumbent governor anywhere in the country. And history here is obviously…the last one who got beat was Pat Brown who was running for a third term, which is a different dynamic. ..Prior to that it was Culbert Olsen as everybody knows. It is very very hard to knock off an incumbent governor in this country. And it’s very hard here. The idea that Westly was going to be a stronger candidate than Phil was just laughable to me. First of all, he lost to Phil. That tells you something right there. Second of all he ran a miserable campaign that was reckless and destructive in the primary. They panicked and went negative when they didn’t have to. They were dominating the airwaves with positive advertising. They could have continued to dominate the airwaves with positive advertising for some weeks to come but they panicked and went negative and turned the primary into a total food fight. Westly had bad numbers coming out of the primary as well as Angelides. So it’s, I don’t think it’s really reasonable to assume he was rooting for somebody because he was looking at a big mess with one guy spending a lot of money trashing the other guy and the other guy having to fight back. It couldn’t have been a more delightful scenario for Steve Schmidt, or the dog.
Schmidt. That’s true.
Q. Why did the Angelides campaign try to attach Schwarzenegger to George Bush rather than going after all the missteps that Schwarzenegger had himself with the people of California?
Carrick: I think it was two things. Strategically, coming out of the primary I think there was a feeling that if you didn’t tap into the national political mood somehow in the general election, it wasn’t going to happen. You had to somehow tap into it. Second of all as everyone in this room knows we had these dreadful polling numbers which suggested that we were doing 60 percent or thereabouts among Democratic voters. So we were very focused on, particularly I was, I didn’t think...Phil spends three years raising 29 million which he spent in the primary. So he’s basically flat broke coming out of the primary. Then he’s got to go raise money in a much shorter period of time, a matter of a few months, under these constricted limits. I thought if we didn’t get our numbers up in the public polls very fast, Field and PPIC. These PPIC thing when you’re in our situation they’re like a nightmare because you know they’re coming at the end of the month. When I started doing campaigns you could go through a phase during a campaign that the public pollsters didn’t catch. You could have a down cycle and the public pollsters wouldn’t catch it because there were so, they were much less frequent. You add in Zogby and Rasmussen and Polimetrics, you’ve got a poll coming at you every three or four days. It was relentless. And unforgiving. And I thought we had to get our poll numbers up or we were not going to have the money to run the kind of media campaign we needed in the last couple of months. In some ways we were just trying to just jerk a knot in the electorate to see if we could get things focused more on the national dynamic and less on the dynamic they were trying to create which was a separate dynamic for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s own world that was separate from everything else that was going on in the country. That was a smart strategy on their part. But we were trying to pull it in to that.
The other thing, is, this surprised me, we actually did a lot of testing of this stuff. And focus groups, the Bush Schwarzenegger connection, people were interested in it, they were animated about it, that was sort of intriguing to the me. I didn’t think it knocked everybody dead. So I suggested why don’t we do this. Why don’t we take a positive ad, this is for the party, take a positive ad about he middle class tax cut, run it in Santa Barbara for a couple thousand points, and take this Bush Schwarzenegger ad and run it in Monterey for a couple thousand points. I’m thinking that the middle class tax cut ad is the strongest one and then we’ll run that one statewide. Of course the results come back and the other one was the strongest, the Bush Schwarzenegger ad had more impact. So that’s how it came to be that we actually ran it statewide. We actually tested the two rival things.
Remember, there were lots of arguments you could make against Arnold. The truth is, in the polling, and I’d be interested in Steves’s view, a lot of the arguments that worked in 05 just didn’t have the punch in 06 that they had in 05. I did the No on 77 redistricting thing, and looked at all kinds of polling, of course then we didn’t have this sort of firewall….in 05 everyone could talk to everybody so everybody had everybody’s polling. We knew what messages worked and they were very powerful. In this a lot of those older messages just didn’t have the punch. They did a good job of telling people they were funding the largest education budget in the history of the state. They knew we were going to say…he cut school funding. They had a lot of money, a lot more money than us, and they anticipated the arguments we were going to make. Most of those arguments, people say you got to do this, you got to do this, you got to do this, we were looking at a lot of message testing, suggested they weren’t anywhere near as powerful as they were. Broken promises, cut school funding, all those things, were just a lot less potent than before.
Kaufman: By the general election that was the case. In January of 2006, that was not the case. So you’re talking to Bill about the general election…My dismay over some of what occurred is coming out of 2005 with, I don’t know, a million dollars worth of testing at least, between the…focus groups…we spent fine tuning messages, talking to voters ad nauseum about what was working, what wasn’t, you come out of that with the governor in the weakest position you could possibly get an incredibly popular governor in, and you turn around and through the entire primary none of that is discussed by either campaign really. Phil had it to some degree. He had the credibility to talk about it during the primary…because he had in fact been articulating some of those messages in 2005. And for reasons that completely escaped me never discussed any of them in the primary. Some of that would probably be the case of what Westly was doing to him and choices he made about going negative. But I think we were all quite dismayed to see that that was not part of his primary campaign. Where he could have established himself in that way and draw the contrast effectively with the governor.
By the time general election came around…by the time we started testing for the Alliance in March or April, a lot of what had worked in 2005 was no longer relevant. Didn’t mean that some of those messages wouldn’t have worked in some context. But you had January through March. But voters while I think they’re very smart and thoughtful when they go into the ballot to actually vote, the second it’s over it’s over. So when you for instance, in 2005, people would say to me, (Proposition) 226, which was back in ‘98, and now you have paycheck protection again in 2005, this is what happened in that campaign, isn’t that relevant here? Nobody remembered that election at all, couldn’t tell you what paycheck protection was, and if you asked them right now they don’t remember what 75 was or anything else.
We’d go into focus groups in 2006 and say what did you vote on in 2005. They knew how much the election had cost. They knew they had defeated all these initiatives but they couldn’t tell you what was on the ballot. They had some vague sense it had something to do with education, some vague sense about reforms, but to a one they never mentioned unions and that it had anything to do with paycheck protection. So when you say why didn’t you go and do, you’re not dealing with the reality that you’re dealing with and the tactical decisions that get made.
Q. Why couldn’t Angelides say Schwarzenegger had to be sued to get education funding and I’d be a governor you wouldn’t have to sue?
Carrick: It didn’t test very well.
Kaufman. He did a budget that changed all that dynamic in 2006. So you’re reminding people of things that are over. That was so yesterday.
Pineda: The bond measures and the tax revenues to me just changed everything just so so dramatically. It made it so much more difficult to bring up 2005 when you had such easy to understand clear evident changes. Here was Schwarzenegger standing up there with Nunez and Perata. That’s a big change. Here’s Schwarzenegger sitting there and funding all the schools. That was so much of what the problem was in 2005, was exactly that. It wasn’t a problem anymore. So that made it really really hard to look back.
Carrick: Also, one thing you have to keep in mind in all of this, money was the biggest problem we had. We just didn’t have the money to do multiple messages. Every spot had to be a pyrotechnic explosion in order to get anything of value out of it. To do a layered sort of campaign, we didn’t have the dough for any of that. The big thing coming out of the primary was the problem, we had to tell people who Phil Angelides was, to make some sense of his life experience, personal background, job resume, before we could get to any of this other stuff. If somebody is relatively anonymous and you don’t know much about him, you’re sure as hell not going to say all these attacks are credible until they find out who he is. That was the biggest strategic dilemma, was getting enough money together to tell the Angeldies story. One thing Prop. 34 has given us. McCain Feingold got rid of issue ads federally, but we somehow still have them here. Issue ads you can’t talk about personal qualifications, you can’t talk about biographical information, you can’t talk about anything but ostensibly the issues. So even with the party money we were restricted form telling the kind of story about Phil Angelides that we needed to tell. It was a big hindrance.
The issue ads worked better for them because they were basically doing this mood alteration campaign and it worked better for them. They put in the doughnut in the middle: he’s going to raise taxes $18 billion..
Schmidt: I thought the Bush ads. I think Bill’s point about delivering a message to Democrats, I won’t judge whether that was a good decision or a bad decision or the right way to do it. But I think one of the things we watched with interest on is that that was an important message for Republican voters that allowed us to move to the middle, to the 50 yard line. Is that, when you had, we tested those ads, did a series of internet tests on ‘em, we tested those ads, Republicans who were inclined to be a little unsettled about the governor’s centrism said, remember, he still likes Bush and we love Bush, which is not a statistically insignificant group of Republicans here. So that ad was a wall, holding up our right flank…We never minded it. I think, also governors races, in 02, the president’s party picked up seats in the House and the Senate lost a bunch of governor’s races. Governors races are not typically influenced by national trends. They turn on the dynamics that are happening in that state. Oklahoma elected a Democratic governor in 2003, Bush had an approval rating of 65 percent plus in the state.
Q. I want to talk about your candidates, personally. Schwarzenegger was not perfect on the campaign trail. Hs been known to say things that throw his aides into a tizzy now and then…How did you deal with that?
Schmidt. I think he is a great political candidate. From a couple of different perspectives. First he is absolutely tireless. There is nothing you ask him to do in the course of a campaign from making phone calls, whether they be fundraising phone calls, whether they be political phone calls, that he wouldn’t do. He did what he needed to do and he had a single mindedness and a complete focus on the race. Allowed us to run the campaign really with very little interference at an operational level. He was just a dream to work for. The second thing is, he is a good guy. I really enjoyed getting to know him. He’s got a great love of the state. Whether you agree with him politically or not, great love of the state, great enthusiasm, and that came through. At the end of the day, real people, real voters, they don’t look at, we all sit around, whatever side you’re on, kind of like hawks waiting to pounce on the prey, when one side says this thing, the other side says this…he screwed up this sentence or that, real people don’t care about that stuff at the end of the day. They just don’t care. There are no people sitting around in a Starbucks talking about did you hear Phil Angelides said, made mistake, a verbal gaffe last night, or the governor did. It’s not how people process information and make decisions about politics. So you don’t get into a tizzy about that stuff…You don’t ever get distracted from the larger story you’re trying to tell in the course of the campaign.
Pineda: It is amazing how real people were really unhappy with the governor at the end of 2005. We did let him off the mat. …People we really unhappy and we let him off the mat.
Q. Didn’t the governor help himself by being contrite?
Pineda: He did play things very very well. The contrition did work. …But nonetheless, he had done so poorly in 2005, he had gotten all of these things wrong, there was perhaps some opportunity there for us. One of the things I sit there and think, where did Schwarzenegger’s money really help him? I don’t know how serious any Republicans were about taking him on. But back then in November 2005 you heard it. The right was so unhappy with him. Not only had he messed things up, and he was doing things like bringing on Susan Kennedy and so forth, but nonetheless his money and his celebrity kept any Republican from seriously thinking about jumping in. As a result he didn’t have to deal with protecting his flank…He didn’t really have to protect his flank. Meanwhile, we’re having our primary, we’re sitting there, and in this election cycle where running toward the middle was such an advantage here in California and elsewhere, we elected our candidate who, on a principled basis, ran to the left. There was where the money really sealed the deal. It kept him from having to be extreme where we had to be extreme on the left. We’re not sitting there pushing down Schwarzenegger when he’s down because we are fighting our own battles.
Q. Don’t verbal gaffes often times tell something about the character of a person? Why is it that Arnold seems to be invulnerable to those kinds of things?
Kaufman: He wasn’t invulnerable to that. You go back to 2005, any number of the things he said in fact seemed to reflect other dynamics that were going on at the same time. As good as the campaign that was run in 2006 was, the campaigns that were being run in 2005 were that bad. You can’t take one isolated thing and say, occasionally a gaffe can ruin someone’s career. But campaigns for governor are about choices between people. And in 2006 by the general election what’s already been discussed had brought you to a different place. He did say he was sorry which is something that not every politician on earth is willing to do. He at the end of 2005 showed that he really didn’t understand the job of governing. That to me was…the biggest dilemma they had for 2006. More than any single gaffe or thing about his quirkiness about his personality. That was it. They fixed that in 2006. They were much more focused. ..They didn’t get distracted off of little things that along the way in a campaign can take you off message. They were very disciplined. They were very focused. And for the first time he actually did some things as governor that made him appear to be able to do the job. I don’t think you should underestimate that simple reality. At the same time you had a contentious primary coming out of which you had Phil Angelides who had in fact not only not defined himself but was very negative to a lot of Democrats, right after the primary. He had to prove a lot of those things just to get even, and he never was able to do that. He had to prove he could govern better.
Carrick: There’s a character question, are they principled if they switch positions and go 180 degrees in a different direction? Is that the kind of principled political leader you want? I can make a damn good argument that its not. It is an incredible transition. An enormous transition. But for the voters it was an improvement. The bad Arnold was getting better. He was improving. And they liked, the transition was from positions they didn’t like to positions they did like. The voters, they didn’t get into the psycho-analysis of whether Arnold’s got principles or not or has a belief structure or is somebody who has got an ideology that is consistent or a view of how government should be. They didn’t get into that. They were grading him on the curve against the old Arnold. They were saying well he’s much better than he used to be.
Q. How about your own candidate’s adaptability? Was there any consideration given after the budget to saying I know I said we need a massive tax increase to solve this budget problem but the budget problem isn’t solved but it’s significantly better and I don’t think we need to raise taxes now?
Carrick: He didn’t think about it. He truly believes we’ve got a deficit problem that’s going to be around for a long time. The revenue spike that exists in this year is going to not be there in the near future and the deficit is going to go back up and if you don’t do something about revenue and do a fix you are still going to have to deal with that problem down the road. It was a principled position on his part. He really and truly believed it. This is a matter of reality., You are going to have serious budget cuts or you are going to have to raise revenues at some point. And it’s not going to be that far down the road. It’s going to confront us pretty quickly.
Pineda: I think it does make a difference that the voters do look at Angelides as a politician and with Schwarzenegger he doesn’t fit in that box as neatly as does Angelides. I also think it helps him do the about face without being perceived as just completely losing his values. I also think one thing that’s important to note in all of this is just, even though Schwarzenegger got reelected and reelected by a big margin, I would argue that the hope voters once had in (Schwarzenegger) the hope they had when he came in at first, during the recall, when he was talking about blowing up boxes, and changing everything, I think people really did expect the action hero to come in there and really change government. I think what’s happened since, is that voters, because of the experience of 2005, that voters have just (lost) that hope completely. They’re saying I just hope he does what he says he is going to do now. It’s a lower bar. But this will have to do. To me that will always be an opportunity lost.
Carrick: Not to give Steve too much of a big head here, these guys did a remarkable job. What they basically did was saw the total picture, which is what Gale talked about, for the governor to be successful politically he had to be successful as governor. He had to prove to voters that he could govern effectively. And govern in a bipartisan way. They were not going to throw Democrats out of the Legislature….They saw the governor governing effectively. And that was as powerful a dynamic as existed in the campaign in terms of what the governor did. And it was, to me it was not, their ads were great, they had a helluva lot of money, they clobbered us in spending, tons of dough, all those things they did all the blocking and tackling they did well, but think the biggest thing they did was they got the governor to feel like a governor to people.
Schmidt: I think Susan Kennedy did a remarkable job there as chief of staff in the governor’s office. One of the things we knew in January when we did a lot of testing and focus groups, people even after the special election defeat, they still liked the governor as a person and they wanted him to be succesful. One of the things that was done very purposefully, was no more driving around in a Hummer. No more events with Cartaxula, running around, with explosions and fireworks and all of that stuff. People like governors to wear suits and go to gubernatorial things. There was a very conscious effort and focus on that. A lot of the events were gone. He went to settings where he was serious and he was substantive. I think that one of the things that, I think we tried to run a campaign that allowed Arnold to be Arnold. One of the things that I think surprises people is that he does his homework, he is substantive person, he is someone who is interested, and I think increasingly interested certainly over the course of the year, in the policy, spends a lot of time reading it, he knows it. He likes that stuff. So it was a natural fit.
When the campaign began, we very consciously started the campaign in Eureka, because it was a counter intuitive place to go. He stood on a chair in the middle of a room. There were no lights. There was no mike. Surrounded by people. He could have been Harry Truman from 60 years ago. When we went places, we would seed it with some volunteers, but down in Fresno or Bakersfield when we were doing campaign stops at the malls walking around, because it was Arnold Schwarzenegger, a crowd would form organically. You could go places and people would assemble. We knew we didn’t have to announce there was going to be a big rally at such and such a date to invite a lot of protestors out in front of it. We knew we could be fast and mobile on that front. All of that worked. The images over the course of the year, whether it was the levees or education, were substantive and serious. That’s what people saw on the tv news. His free media narrative was a lot better just from an image perspective just on the news over the course of the year.
Kaufman: Don’t underestimate the effectiveness and the importance of that as this year progressed. A lot of people said to us, where did all the protestors go? Why aren’t you dogging the governor? 2005 was 2005. 2006 was a different animal. You could go out with protest signs, but they have to say something. You have to have something meaningful to say on those signs. And yeah we didn’t like a lot of thing that had occurred, and we still don’t like a lot, and we’re very worried about what may or not be the Arnold of 2007, but for the time we are talking about, that was the reality we were all dealing with. You can’t go backwards and say yeah but. You’re looking at a different guy. The earned media. Don’t underestimate that. He has a potential with that that very few people have.
Carrick: The most depressing part of the campaign for me. Now you get every story the state e-mailed to you twice a day. We were getting probably one Angelides story for every 6 or 7 television stories Arnold would get all the way through the middle of September. It got slightly better after the Legislature and bill signings were over. It was still a huge advantage the amount of attention Arnold Schwarzenegger gets on television coverage. Phil could be doing bus tours, going all over the place, criss-crossing, he never got anywhere near the kind of exposure they got. In an earned media sense.
Q. What about Angelides. What were his strengths and weaknesses as a candidate?
Carrick: He’s very smart. He really understands state government, public policy. He was never unsettled by it. He just kept plugging away every day. Dan’s first question about when did you know it was over. In the last month clearly it was a very bad situation. Phil was deeply committed to slugging it out right til the end. He was not going to get into one of these situations where the gubernatorial candidate was not rallying his troops…We were committed to trying, if we couldn’t win ourselves, to do everything we could to protect the downballot people by working hard to keep the interest level up, getting people involved. Sen. Feinstein, Sen. Boxer, bringing in Sen. Clinton, and Sen. Kerry’s unfortunate experience not withstanding, bringing in a lot of people like that. I thought he was really a gutsy candidate in a difficult situation. I’ve known him a long time. And I have more affection for him now than I had when I started this.
Claussen: Don’t you think that by the time you got out of the primary, the Phil Angelides that emerged from the primary was defined in such a way there was very little appeal to the general election voter? He was defined in terms that appealed to a Democrat primary voter which was very very different. I don’t think he ever really recovered about that. At one point when you were doing ABC ads, I said you can go out and say nasty things about the governor, but you’ve only got Phil Angelides on the other side. You can say all kinds of nasty things about the governor but that doesn’t move folks to Angelides. I just think he was a lacking candidate when you got out of the primary into the general. He never had that kind of appeal I don’t think to go out and make a run to the moderates, the decline to states, that I am your governor and here’s why. He was branded as the big tax guy.
Carrick: We didn’t have the money. You can fix anything, almost anything in politics if you’ve got dough. We didn’t have the dough. There were things that moderates and conservatives didn’t like about the governor’s record. They remembered the promises about we are going to straighten out the fiscal mess in Sacramento. They don’t think that’s been done. I think the money was the biggest, biggest problem.
Q. Is it simply a problem that you had candidate who was simply not likable enough?
Carrick: If I had to name my top 50 problems in the campaign, that would be way down the list. I don’t think it was the dynamic that drove the campaign. It was not about personality.
Claussen: But I don’t think there was anything in that personality that helped him overcome the lack of finance. I think his personality was sort of distant, standoffish, a little cold. I didn’t really sense…I never felt there was that kind of personal connection.
Carrick: I was out there with a him a lot when he was campaigning. He was connecting. I don’t think that was problem.
Kaufman: I got to say something because he (Carrick) won’t sayit. Phil is an old friend of mine….I really believed Phil could win this race. I believed it then, and I believe it now. I think he had from the standpoint of being treasurer and being very knowledgeable and thoughtful especially going against someone as charismatic as Schwarzenegger you need to draw a contrast. The problem for Phil …was that Phil, no disrespect, ran his own campaign. I said that to him and I’ll say it here. He ran this campaign, to me, like he ran his treasurer’s races on a much smaller level with less infrastructure, less real thought about what a governor faces than he should have. He never really had the kind of communications structure to thoughtfully go up against the governor. You can say that’s all about money or you can say it’s a decision he made from day one.
Schmidt: I would say this about Phil Angelides. I do think he faced structural disadvantages. But if you go look at a typical Phil Angelides speech. Go compare it to a John Edwards speech. Compare it to a Bill Clinton speech. Compare in the context of a competitive election, compare it in a context of offering a contrast. I don’t know him at a personal level. But in his public conveyance of what he believes there is shrillness to it and a nastiness to it and if you are going to engage Arnold Schwarzenegger at a political level, at minimum you have to view the world the way it is. And whether you like Arnold Schwarzenegger or not, the overwhelming majority of the people in California do, Republican, Democrat and decline to state voter. A much higher number of people like Arnold Schwarzenegger than agree with him on policy. If you were going to engage him at a political level you couldn’t do it on a personal level….The entire construction of the message to take down, or take out the governor, I think was approached from a fundamentally wrong perspective, because so much of what he said was personal, and we never engaged in it. By choice. I think the governor hardly ever mentioned his name on the campaign trail.
Posted by dweintraub at 4:23 PM
Katie Merrill on a big, overlooked factor that contributed to the Angelides defeat:
The second element that made the Angelides challenge all the more difficult was the role that earned media played in this campaign, particularly the TV news. It has been conventional wisdom in California politics that, unlike other states with fewer media markets and lesser population, earned media does not play a significant role in moving voter attitudes statewide. If you want California voters to hear your message, you buy television advertising. If you rely on newspaper coverage, your message will not get through. If you plan media events for TV news, it is unlikely they will get covered. This conventional wisdom was turned on its head when Arnold ran in the recall and again this election. His international celebrity and star power turned the California television news industry from politically disinterested to more politically engaged than it had been in 20 years.
During the general election, the Governor was covered statewide everyday in every media market, no matter where he was in the state. No other candidate for Governor in recent history has gotten that level of news coverage. In paid media parlance, this volume of coverage garnered him roughly the equivalent of up to 1500 points a week (in addition to the television ads he had on the air) in television coverage. Another way to look at the impact of that level of coverage is that it would cost a political campaign upwards of $4-$5 million a week to run 1500 points of television ads.
Posted by dweintraub at 12:16 PM
Here is a good primer from AP on the billionaires battling to buy the LA Times. It sounds as if the thing might end up being run by a nonprofit trust.
Posted by dweintraub at 5:29 AM
When it comes to internal Republican Party machinations, the first place I look for an explanation is usually Jon Fleischman. Here is his piece today on why Assembly Republicans threw their leader under the bus yesterday. I did find one thing to quibble about. He says Republican lawmakers were bothered that the old leader, George Plescia, went along too easily with the governor's habit of cutting deals with the Democrats and then coming to Republicans when he needed their votes for a two-thirds majority. But on the biggest issues that needed a two-thirds vote last year -- the bonds and the budget -- the Republicans actually played a pretty significant role. On the bonds, after the initial stalemate, the "Gang of Four" famously put the deal back together without the governor's participation. Sure, we all know the governor and his aides were plugged into those talks and contributing to the outcome. But that hardly seems to be a case where Schwarzenegger ran over the caucus.
UPDATE: Chris Reed says Plescia was doomed by Susan Kennedy's "startled deer" quote.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:33 AM
Michael Coleman has the most exhaustive round-up around on how all the local tax and bond measures on the ballot fared Tuesday.
Posted by dweintraub at 4:36 PM
I didn't make any pre-election predictions, so I can sit here safe from any snarky second-guessers. But that won't stop me from snarkily second guessing others:
Dan Schnur's nifty Schwarzenegger Coattail Index failed us. Dan said a 2 to 3 point win would bring along Poizner, but that was a no-brainer. He also said a 5 to 6 point edge for Schwarzenegger would elect McPherson, a 10-11 point win would help elect Strickland, and a 14-to-15 point landslide would bring in McClintock. Didn't happen. Also, McClintock got a higher percentage of the vote in his race than either McPherson or Strickland did in theirs.
Steve Maviglio and his crew at the California Majority Report also offered some picks on election eve. Of their ten choices, six were on target, based on results so far. They did great on the statewide races (we won't hold them to their point-spread predictions), but they slipped as they moved down the ballot. Democratic hopefuls did not beat the incumbents in the 78th and 80th Assembly Districts, and Lou Correa is losing a squeaker in the 34th Senate District. Finally, Charlie Brown did not beat John Doolittle.
Undaunted, Maviglio is back with opening odds on the 2010 governor's race. Antonio leads the pack at 4-1.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:27 AM
A federal judge has blocked implementation of Prop. 83, the law imposing new residency restrictions on sex offenders.
Posted by dweintraub at 2:54 PM
Nancy Pelosi did an interview today with Wolf Blitzer in which she talked about her relationship with Bush, about Rumsfeld's departure, being the first female speaker and the leadership races within her new majority caucus. Here is a transcript which you can download as a Word document.
Posted by dweintraub at 2:30 PM
Some interesting stuff in the exit poll:
Schwarzenegger made huge strides among minorities. He won 27 percent of the black vote, 39 percent of the Latino vote and 62 percent of the Asian vote.
The governor won among all education groups except high school drop-outs. Angelides prevailed among them by 49 percent to 46 percent.
Schwarzenegger won among all income groups except those below $30,000. And he actually did slightly better among the poorest voters than the working poor. He got 45 percent among those making less than $15,000 and 42 percent from those between $15,000 and $30,000.
The governor's approval rating: 66 percent approve, 34 percent disapprove.
Self-identified Republicans went with Schwarzenegger 93-4.
Democrats went with Angelides by 74-22.
Independents sided with Schwarzenegger by 59-33.
The electorate (self-identified) was 40 percent Democrat, 35 percent Republican and 25 percent independent.
One-third of those who disapprove of the way George Bush is handling his job voted for Schwarzenegger.
UPDATE: Here is a link to the poll.
Posted by dweintraub at 12:22 PM
Phil Angelides just completed a farewell press conference in which he vowed to remain “in the arena” and possibly run for public office, even governor, again.
He said what he fought for in this campaign “was right” and that he ends it “undaunted and unbowed.” He said he thinks he “drove the agenda” that led Schwarzenegger to sign legislation on the minimum wage, prescription drug discounts and global warming.
“I will stay in the arena,” Angelides said. “I’ll be in the center of things. I’ll be fighting for all those people who need a champion.”
He added: “I’m not going away…I think I have much to offer the people of California. I’m going to keep my options open.”
Angelides tried to stay clear of analyzing why his campaign failed to catch what he called “an enormous wave” for Democrats nationally. But he defended his staff and strategy and, while saying he wouldn’t whine or complain, he said he could not overcome what he estimated was more than $100 million spent against him by Steve Westly and then Schwarzenegger.
“We had a big mountain to climb,” he said. “That enormous avalanche of money thrown at me made the hill even steeper.”
The treasurer dismissed the idea that his campaign lacked a clear, consistent theme.
“We had a consistent message,” he said. “We stood up for fairness and opportunity …for the most vulnerable in a society where wealth and corporate influence are becoming more dominant.”
Posted by dweintraub at 11:47 AM
San Francisco voters approved an employer mandate to provide sick leave but rejected a new tax on parking.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:49 AM
Davis voters approved a measure to allow the city's first big-box store, an environmentally sensitive Target.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:46 AM
San Diego voters passed Mayor Jerry Sanders' two proposals to allow more outsourcing of city services and require voter approval for future increases in public employee pensions.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:44 AM
More than 68 percent of Orange County voters supported Measure M, to extend the county's half-cent sales tax increase for roads and transit.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:42 AM
San Bernardino voters approved a quarter-cent sales tax to expand the local police force.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:41 AM
Prop. R, which will give LA City Council members the right to win one more four-year term, was approved by the voters.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:40 AM
Santa Cruz voters rejected a minimum wage increased, passed a tax increase that is expected to go toward fixing roads, and approved a measure directing the police to go easy on pot smokers,
Posted by dweintraub at 9:36 AM
The only really competitive legislative race turned out to be really, really competitive. With 100 percent of the Election Day vote listed as counted in the 34th Senate District, here are the results:
Lou Correa (Dem) 38,666 49.9 %
Lynn Daucher (Rep) 38,679 50.1 %
Posted by dweintraub at 6:10 AM
With most of the returns counted, it looks as if Democrats will sweep the downballot races except for insurance commissioner, which went to Poizner.
Posted by dweintraub at 6:08 AM
Garamendi is widening his statewide lead and, more importantly, bellwether San Benito is 100 percent in, and they've gone for Garamendi by 48-46. This might be the race that tests the tiny county's prowess. We'll give them a pass if they chose wrong on McPherson, since he is a neighbor from the coast.
Posted by dweintraub at 12:31 AM
Doolittle wins another term.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:58 PM
There are still about 1.2 million votes to count in LA County. But there are also about 1.4 million to count in Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties combined. Garamendi is leading 55-40 in LA County. McClintock is leading with about 60 percent in each of those other SoCal counties. This one is going to go on for awhile.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:56 PM
Garamendi is now ahead of McClintock by 12000 votes -- 789,000 to 767,000.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:38 PM
They say the tobacco tax is going down. It sure looks that way.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:24 PM
In the Pombo race, the latest slug of returns from San Joaquin County showed a big burst for McNerney. That means big trouble for Pombo. That's the county he needs as the base to mount a comeback here, if there is going to be one.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:22 PM
Rebuild California is claiming victory on propositions 1A through 1E. At this point, 1D is the only one that's even close, at 53-47.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:14 PM
McNerney is leading by 1800 votes. If the county-by-county trends in this race continue to the end, Pombo will get about 7,500 more votes while McNerney would get about 7,000 more votes. Pombo will probably narrow this gap as the counting continues, but even with a big surge expected from San Joaquin, he will have to change the trend in one of the other counties in order to win.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:10 PM
Bustamante has conceded in the insurance commissioner's race.
Posted by dweintraub at 10:33 PM
With about a third of the vote counted, Jerry McNerney is leading Richard Pombo 51-49. This one is going to take a while. The county with the fewest votes counted so far is San Joaquin, which is the Pombo stronghold.
Posted by dweintraub at 10:32 PM
"This campaign comes to an end. But the struggle for fairness and opportunity, the struggle to give a hand up to the people who make this state great, that struggle goes on each and every day."
He's talking about the future, and about lifting people up, he's saying things now that I never saw him say in the ads through which he communicated with the voters...
He's talking about making education the "top priority" in this wealthy society, saying "we still believe in every young person...should be able to go to college if that's their dream," ..."we should stop bowing down to HMOs and health insurance companies," ..."we want to see a government...that's on the side of the hard-working people of this state."
He mentions that Democrats' national sweep. What an irony that here in the most Democrat of Democratic states, just the opposite is happening.
Posted by dweintraub at 10:23 PM
Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't waiting around for Angelides to concede defeat. He's already taken the stage, claimed victory and left to go party.
Posted by dweintraub at 10:16 PM
Tiny San Benito County, which has been a bellwether for state results in recent years, has counted more than half its votes. So far, the Schwarzenegger landslide is holding up, and McClintock, McPherson, Strickland and Poizner all are leading. So is Prop. 90.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:58 PM
Sacramento County voters are handing a big defeat to the idea of raising taxes to build a new arena for the NBA's Sacramento Kings.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:22 PM
We now have a good little chunk of the votes counted (about 14 percent) and Republicans are leading for governor (big time), lieutenant governor, secretary of state and insurance comissioner. Democrats are ahead for attorney general, treasurer and controller. We need to get up to the 30 percent to 40 percent range before any of these trends start to lock down with any level of confidence. They are still way too dependent on the geography of the early vote count.
Posted by dweintraub at 9:16 PM
Fox and CNN call the House for the Democrats.
Posted by dweintraub at 8:20 PM
McClintock's vote is running about 10 percentage points behind Schwarzenegger's tally in the early voting. That won't be good enough for him to pull it out.
Caveat: It will be enough if Schwarzenegger maintains his 63-33 edge. But that's not likely to happen.
Posted by dweintraub at 8:18 PM
In the first absentees, Props 1a through 84 are winning, and the rest are losing. There's a long way to go.
Posted by dweintraub at 8:15 PM
Michael Barone on Fox is saying that the exit poll organization has checked precinct results against its sample and found a "6 to 8 percent" Democratic bias in the exit poll. Barone said the network is not using the exit poll to make its projections. Still, the network has called the Senate races in Maryland and New Jersey for Democrats.
Fox has also called Pennsylvania for the Democrats.
CNN calls Rhode Island for the Dems.
Control of the Senate will come down to Virginia, Missouri and perhaps Montana.
Posted by dweintraub at 6:27 PM
The California Majority Report predicts the outcome in 9 state races and one ballot prop and surprise surprise, all of its picks are Democrats (plus No on 85). Garamendi, Bowen, Chiang, McNerney, Charlie Brown, etc. They're all going to win. Funny, they don't make a pick in either the insurance commissioner or governor's race. On Angelides, Steve Maviglio can only say: "Keep Hope Alive." If these picks pan out, more power to them. But if all of those congressional and legislaive hopefuls lose, CMR might have to go back to the drawing board if it hopes to maintain any credibility among nonpartisans.
Posted by dweintraub at 6:22 AM
The Field Poll sees turnout at 51.5 percent of registered voters, with the percentage of eligible voters dipping to 36 percent, even lower than the percentage who voted in the 2002 governor's race.
Posted by dweintraub at 6:06 AM
Maviglio reports on an alleged Republican dirty trick that is sending robo-calls purported to be from Democrats and waking people up in the middle of the night just to tick them off.
Posted by dweintraub at 4:18 PM
Brink Lindsey at Cato takes on the growing conventional wisdom that rising inquality is evidence that there is something wrong with the U.S. labor market:
"There is no good reason to think that high earnings for managers and professionals at the top of the pay scale are coming at the expense of everybody else. Firms need workers at various skill levels. Exactly the same incentives guide firms when they are hiring highly skilled workers and when they are hiring less skilled workers. On the one hand, competition will cause them to bid up the price of labor to attract workers away from other job openings; on the other hand, concern with profitability will deter them from overpaying. There isn’t some pot of money in the company safe that’s dedicated to wages and salaries, so that more for some means less for others. Hiring and pay decisions are made at the margin: does adding this worker at this price improve our bottom line? For every new hire, whatever the job description or skill level, firms face strong pressures against either underpaying or overpaying."
Of course you can be disappointed that more people aren’t doing better. In which case, you have a couple of options. Option one is to try to supplement the competitive market system. Let the system work, and accept that the prices it’s generating are offering reasonably accurate information about the economic value of different kinds of work. Then try to find policies that will (a) help people increase their value in the marketplace and (b) mitigate hardships for people with relatively low human capital.
Option two is to try to supplant the system by ignoring market signals and squelching competition. In other words, go against everything we know about how best to encourage innovation and wealth creation. Sure, a lucky minority may get windfalls, but everybody else will suffer from the reduction in economic growth.
Option one is egalitarian liberalism; option two is reactionary collectivism. As a libertarian, I am obliged to point out that perverse incentive effects and political dynamics make it very difficult for option one to work well. But option two is flat out doomed to make matters worse."
Posted by dweintraub at 11:20 AM
I generally agree with Joel Kotkin's take on the transportation bond. But I thought 1B implicitly contemplated the very kind of privately financed truck tollways that he says are urgently needed to move port traffic through and out of the state.
Posted by dweintraub at 7:35 AM
According to Steve Maviglio, permanent absentee voters are returning their ballots at a higher rate than other absentees, which maybe scuttles speculation that the overall low return numbers are due the rising share of permanent absentees in the voting population. His numbers:
Permanent absentee: 4 million requested, 1.4 million returned, 35 percent
regular absentee: 1.07 million requested, 298,000 returned, 28 percent
Posted by dweintraub at 3:55 PM
There's plenty of encouraging news in the latest report on the California High School Exit Exam, including this: students who started school speaking another language but were later reclassified as fluent in English are passing the test at a higher rate than students in general.
Approximately 79,000 tenth grade students had previously been English learners but were now reclassified as fluent in English. Students who had been reclassified passed both the (English-language arts) and mathematics tests at higher rates than students in general (78% passed both tests compared to 65% of all 10th grade students). Former English learners who were recently (in the past 3 years) reclassified as proficient in English had lower passing rates compared to students who had been reclassified as proficient for 4 or more years.
The report also noted that 90,000 10th grade students remained classified as English learners -- meaning they are not yet fluent -- and more than half of them have been registered in US schools for ten years or more.
Posted by dweintraub at 11:39 AM
Doug Johnson of the Rose Institute says hand-wringing over low rates of returned absentee ballots might be misplaced. He speculates that the return rate is going down as the number of pemanent absentees, which has now reached 3 million, goes up:
Voters who actively request an absentee ballot are highly likely to vote, because they have already taken a pro-active action to request their ballot for the current election. They tend to follow the traditional model for turnout among those requesting absentee ballots. In contrast, a permanent absentee voter has at some point taken a pro-active action to register as a permanent absentee, but has not necessarily taken any action related to the current election. Thus he or she is more likely to vote than the typical registered voter, but he or she is not as likely to vote as someone who actively requested an absentee ballot for this election. As more and more absentee voters are actually permanent absentees, it is perfectly normal that the percentage of absentee ballots returned goes down -- perhaps significantly. It is to be expected that the traditional turnout model needs to be adjusted to recognize the change among the absentee voting population from (high-turnout) by-request voters to (relatively lower turnout) permanent absentee voters.
Most California Counties do not separate "absentee ballots requested" from "permanent absentee ballots sent out." When you see the "requested" and "returned" figures from counties, many counties are combining the number of requested absentees and permanent absentees into one total.
Until the counties have the technology to report separately the rates of return between requested and permanent absentees, a better source of tracking information may be the campaigns and voter list companies that have records of who are permanent absentee voters and who track the lists of who returned their ballots each day -- if such sources are willing to provide such information without a partisan filter on the numbers.
Posted by dweintraub at 10:58 AM
Bruce McPherson is projecting a 55 percent voter turnout, which would be higher than 2002 but lower than 1998 and previous governor's elections. He says he expects 44 percent of the vote to be cast by absentee.
Posted by dweintraub at 10:46 AM
With the Field Poll showing the lieutenant governor's race a toss-up, it looks as if Tom McClintock is either going to win or lose narrowly -- again. If he loses by a hair, it would be the third time in 12 years that he failed to win statewide office by less than 3 percent of the vote.
I can't find the official 1994 returns on the Secretary of State's web site, but unofficial results from election night showed Kathleen Connell with 48.3 percent and McClintock with 46 percent.
In 2002, McClintock lost to Steve Westly for controller by fewer than 17,000 votes out of more than 7 million cast. The percentages were 45.4 to 45.1.
I wonder if anyone else has ever come this close three times and lost each time?
In the 2003 recall, he finished third, far behind Schwarzenegger and Cruz Bustamante.
Posted by dweintraub at 6:59 AM
Here's a link to that ad for the infrastructure bonds that features Schwarzenegger and Feinstein. In the ad, footage of the governor and the senator on the stump for the props is woven together in alternating soundbites. They don't actually appear in the same frame. That probably does not make any difference to viewers, but it will matter to insiders, especially Democratic insiders....One other point. That slogan the campaign is using about paying for the projects "over time" makes me think about paying "overtime" every time I hear it. And that makes me want to vote against the bonds. Just a language tic, I know. But it bugs me.
Posted by dweintraub at 4:58 PM
At an event at the Port of Oakland today promoting his infrastructure bonds, Schwarzenegger was asked what he thought of Tom McClintock's opposition. The goveror said he "appreciates" McClintock's point of view, but "he is totally wrong on that one. If you go with his way of thinking we would never rebuild California."
The problem with the pay-as-you-go approach supported by McClintock and others, Schwarzenegger said, is that there are always competing priorities that stake a claim on the state's operating budget. The only way to get significant money for infrastructure, in his view, is to borrow it and then force lawmakers to spend the money required to pay it back.
"The politicians would never put that money aside for infrastracture if we don't commit to these things," he said.
Posted by dweintraub at 3:42 PM
This op-ed in the Torrance Daily Breeze has some intriguing stuff about the CMA's switch from supporter to neutral on Prop. 86.
UPDATE: I should have noted when I posted this item that the CMA never formally withdrew its support position, but it has done nothing to support 86 since it got on the ballot and withdrew its name from the list of endorsements.
Posted by dweintraub at 3:20 PM
John Garamendi is recommending another 9.5 percent cut in the "pure premium" benchmark for workers comp insurance rates.
Posted by dweintraub at 2:40 PM
Richard Holober explains the issue behind Intuit's big play in the controller's race.
Posted by dweintraub at 1:32 PM
Schwarzenegger came out yesterday against Prop. 90, but he is not exactly broadcasting his position far and wide. In case you were wondering, he's laid out his reasoning here. If this initiative passes narrowly, a lot of folks are going to be holding the governor responsible for not pushing back sooner and harder against it.
Posted by dweintraub at 1:30 PM
A coalition of environmental and fishing groups has just fired off an angry letter to Schwarzenegger complaining about what they say is the suspension of the process of protecting the endangered Coho salmon from timber industry operations. The letter accuses Schwarzenegger of caving to timber interests and says his preference for a negotiated consensus ignores the state's clear obligation to protect the fish even if the lumber companies don't agree with the result. You can download and read the letter here.
Posted by dweintraub at 3:25 PM
...Call DiFi. Not that the infrastructure bonds are on the ropes, but they surely have not nailed down victory. So it's time for a Feinstein ad. Feinstein and Schwarzenegger, together again, coming to a television screen near you. To be unveiled Thursday. That's got to thrill Angelides.
Posted by dweintraub at 3:11 PM
Here's a nifty chart from Pollster.Com that shows the trend of all the public polls in the California governor's race since April.
Posted by dweintraub at 2:53 PM
The California Majority Report has a post saying that the Assembly's Republican Leader, George Plescia, is in danger of being dumped after the election by Mike Villines of Fresno.
Posted by dweintraub at 2:03 PM
Here is the link to the latest Field Poll, which shows Schwarzenegger leading by 16.
Posted by dweintraub at 8:38 AM