By Doug Porter
This weekend’s Republican statewide gathering in Anaheim was chock full of irony.
Across the street from the GOP convention, Disneyland was hosting “Gay Days” even as the party faithful vowed to fight recently enacted California laws protecting transgender rights.
The political party pitched the media on how this gathering would showcase the new bigger tent GOP chock full of fresh faces and ideas even as one of its approved vendors hawked anti-Hillary buttons promoting knuckle dragging sexism.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Four years ago during the California Republican Party convention, there were three big-name Republicans already revving up their gubernatorial campaigns – billionaire former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, millionaire state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poiznerand longtime South Bay Rep. Tom Campbell.
As the party gathers for this year’s convention, which begins Friday in Anaheim, the leading GOP gubernatorial candidate – former Lt. Gov.Abel Maldonado – has little cash on hand and just fired his top consultants. Down ticket from him is a slate of no-names and underfunded long shots running for statewide offices, of which Republicans currently hold none.
The state’s party acknowledges its bleak present in the title of its convention: “Rebuilding from the Ground Up.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry was the star attraction, delivering a sermon on the divide between Democrats and Republicans on economic issues, even as the GOP shutdown of Congress seemed to be steering the nation towards financial disaster.
The Financial Times reported over the weekend about one major U.S. bank stuffing its automatic teller machines with extra cash in preparation for a possible bank run from panicked depositors. The New York Times reports that another bank is weighing a plan to advance funds to customers who rely on Social Security and other government payments that could stop in the event of a default.
Party leaders may have hoped to showcase a “new(er) party” this weekend, but most of the noise came from the Tea Party faithful who flocked to Anaheim like hyenas stalking a wounded animal. The idea of recalling Gov. Jerry Brown actually had some currency (though it somehow got left off the ‘do list’) and the party moved forward towards step one of what one teahadist called a ‘progressive approach’ to disenfranchising voters.
Bad News for the GOP Nationally
California isn’t the only place where Republicans are having a hard time with the whole ‘we’re not so bad’ meme.
From the National Journal:
The Republican Party’s effort to rebrand itself with women since losing the 2012 presidential race and seats in Congress is falling short, a new United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll has found.
Only 14 percent of women said the Republican Party had moved closer to their perspective. More than twice as many women, 33 percent, said the party had drifted further from them. A plurality, 46 percent, saw no change.
The dangers for the GOP of losing women’s support are playing out in the Virginia gubernatorial race, where Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe has taken the lead over Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, almost entirely by opening up a lead among female voters.
In the new poll, the results for the GOP are even more ominous among young women. Only 11 percent of women younger than 50 said the party had moved closer to them. In contrast, 29 percent said the GOP had moved further away.
Republicans also appear to be losing support as the teahdists in House of Representatives continue to hold the country hostage over their demands. Dreams of big gains in the 2014 midterm elections appear to be fading:
From Huffington Post:
Shutting down the government may end up costing Republicans control of the House of Representatives.
A series of polls released Sunday show just how damaging the shutdown has been for the GOP. The liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling compiled two dozen surveys, commissioned and paid for by MoveOn.org Political Action, from House districts around the country, taken from Oct. 2 through Oct. 4. Sample sizes were between 600 and 700 voters in each district.
For Democrats to win a House majority, 17 seats would need to switch to their party’s favor. Results show that would be within reach, as Republican incumbents are behind in 17 of the districts analyzed: CA-31, CO-06, FL-02, FL-10, FL-13, IA-03, IA-04, IL-13, KY-06, MI-01, MI-07, MI-11, NY-19, OH-14, PA-07, PA-08, WI-07. In four districts, the incumbent Republican fell behind after respondents were told their representative supported the government shutdown: CA-10, NY-11, NY-23, VA-02. Three districts saw GOP incumbents maintain their hold over their Democratic challengers, even after hearing their elected officials’ views on the shutdown, including CA-21, NV-03 and OH-06.
The Shutdown Is No Accident
The New York Times led this weekend with an article delving into the months of planning by right wing activists leading into the current shutdown crisis.
Shortly after President Obama started his second term, a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.
Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” signed by Mr. Meese and leaders of more than three dozen conservative groups.
It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans — including their cautious leaders — into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.
Not surprisingly, much of the money for the array of groups according to the Times, came from the Koch Brothers who doled out $200 million last year to ‘nonprofit’ organizations (Tea Party Patriots, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, Club for Growth, Generation Opportunity and Young Americans for Liberty) involved in setting up the current shutdown.
A defunding “tool kit” created in early September included talking points for the question, “What happens when you shut down the government and you are blamed for it?”
The suggested answer was the one House Republicans give today: “We are simply calling to fund the entire government except for the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare.”
Issa Slapdown on the Shutdown
Congressman Darrel Issa’s reportedly had another churlish encounter with a federal judge after demanding that one of his nuisance lawsuits be exempted from the effects of the Federal shutdown.
From Think Progress:
Countless lawsuits where the United States is a party are now in limbo, thanks to the fact that the Justice Department lacks the resources to litigate them so long as the government is shut down. One of these lawsuits is a nearly two year old case brought by House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) seeking to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to turn over documents Issa believes will prove embarrassing to the Obama Administration.
Yet, unlike numerous other lawsuits that were stayed while the Justice Department waits for the shutdown to end, Issa believes that he should not have to live with one of the consequences of the shutdown he and his fellow House Republicans are responsible for — he filed a motion claiming that DOJ’s “Contingency Plan provides that Department employees may continue to work on matters necessary to the discharge of the President’s constitutional duties and powers,” and that his lawsuit qualifies.
Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson was not amused by this motion:
There are no exigent circumstances in this case that would justify an order of the Court forcing furloughed attorneys to return to their desks. Moreover, while the vast majority of litigants who now must endure a delay in the progress of their matters do so due to circumstances beyond their control, that cannot be said of the House of Representatives, which has played a role in the shutdown that prompted the stay motion.
Bad News for the Big Shiny Wannabe on the Bay
Once again it would appear that “everybody knows” is leading America’s Finest City towards a national embarrassment. The widespread boosterism about a convention center expansion has now taken on a feverish pitch, with UT-San Diego inviting proponents in for a warm and fuzzy meeting with its editorial board and a feature article about how all the mayoral candidates are feeling about the most.wonderful.thing.to ever.happen…
Along comes Attorney Cory Briggs today on KPBS to rain on their parade, pointing out just how shoddily put together the plans for expansion really are. They didn’t even use an architect to make drawings until the last minute, says Briggs. Yet somehow they “knew” what convention center expansion would cost.
Briggs said the plan underestimates the true cost by at least $33.5 million. Part of that comes from a $13.5 million increase in the price to buy land from a Port tenant called Fifth Avenue Landing. A November 2012 Independent Budget Analyst report mentions this price increase, but Briggs said the bump hasn’t been accounted for in the expansion plan’s projected cost.
The plan also doesn’t cover a new kitchen facility, which Briggs said could cost between $20 and $40 million.
“The estimates are based on guesses by the people at the city and the Port who really just want an expansion to help their political supporters, even though we’re at least $33.5 million over their own budget numbers,” Briggs said.
Gosh, no wonder the staff of the Coastal Commission has recommended a “denial” for the $520 million request to expand the San Diego Convention Center saying existing plans “do not contain sufficient detail” to determine if they meet requirements of the California Coastal Act.
Facts be damned. Why just one year ago The Wall Street Journal ran an article demonstrating how the convention center industry keeps expanding into a glut.
As Don Bauder noted in reporting on it last year:
Although leisure travel has recovered from the deep recession, convention business has not made similar gains, says the Journal. A chart tells the story: since the year 2000, convention center space has grown by 35.4% while attendance has dropped by 1.7%.
Short of a court decision declaring the city’s funding mechanism to be illegal, I doubt this juggernaught can be stopped, not with politicians yammering about “7000 jobs” and how much business the current setup is “turning away”.
Mayoral Campaign Update
Candidate Bruce Coons is withdrawing from the race. He’s throwing his support to City Councilman David Alvarez at a press conference this afternoon.
The Debate Not To Miss
Upstart community radio station KNSJ and the Cal Western, School of Law have announced final plans for a Thursday (6:30pm, California Western downtown campus at 350 Cedar Street, three blocks north of San Diego’s City Hall.) debate where representatives from local alternative media outlets and the community have been invited to ask questions.
The forum will be hosted by a KNSJ original show “Talk of the Town”, that routinely features liberals and conservatives debating current political issues, and will be broadcast live on 89.1 FM. A live video feed will also be broadcast atwww.knsj.org
Representatives from the San Diego Free Press, La Prensa, Voice of San Diego, and City Beat have been invited to ask questions of invited mayoral candidates David Alvarez, Kevin Faulconer, Nathan Fletcher and Mike Aguirre.
To get YOUR question answered you will want to either attend the debate in person, use social media to “LIKE” KNSJRadio on Facebook & “FOLLOW” @KNSJRadio on Twitter, and/or watch the live video feed at www.knsj.org.
KNSJ will field questions from at least one randomly chosen audience member, and from Twitter followers, Facebook fans and Livesteam video viewers. As a non-commercial media outlet KNSJ hopes to bring attention to issues and questions that the larger commercial media outlets often overlook or leave out.
Check Out the SDFree Press Calendar
Thanks to the efforts of Brent Beltrain, the San Diego Free Press now has an on-line calendar of events. You can see events in the arts, performances and political gatherings of every persuasion by clicking on the ‘Calendar’ Tab at the top of the page. To get your event listed, drop us a line: email@example.com
On This Day: 1954 – Marian Anderson became the first black singer to be hired by New York’s Metropolitan Opera Company. 1985 – The United States announced that it would no longer automatically comply with World Court decisions. 2003 – Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor in the recall election of Governor Gray Davis.
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@