By Doug Porter
Now that the “We Support the Chargers by Wearing a Bolo” meme has collapsed, there’s nothing standing the way of San Diego’s mayoral contest rising to the top of the daily news heap.
The reporting on sports and politics contests have much in common: a mix of subjective logic is mixed with euphoria or dejection as events progress. ‘Our team sucks’ can quickly become ‘Our team is invincible’ during the course of a contest.
On the political front there was lots of action over the past few days. The first wave of negative mailers from Kevin Faulconer’s corporate allies rolled into area mailboxes, with messages tailored towards party registration and residential location. Some people (including me) called it “Race Baiting”, (at least in my case) putting the ads in the context of the last 50 years of GOP campaigning. Others didn’t think so.
David Alvarez’s labor supporters rolled out TV advertising during both the Golden Globe Awards and the, um, sporting event in Colorado suggesting Faulconer was a tool of the corporations bankrolling his effort.
One local editor took to Twitter wondering if the best attack the labor council could come up with against Kevin Faulconer was the “long list of people who run companies support him?” I didn’t see that ad as an attack ad, but admit I could be biased in that regard.
I’d share that ad with you, or at least provide a link, but the “non-affiliated” supporters of Alvarez appear not to have their social media act together. (Ahem!)
And there was the rather strange robo-poll sponsored by UT-San Diego and 10News leaving internal pollsters from both campaigns scratching their heads. (Unfortunately the internal polling business is a secretive trade, and I must admit to only having one source on the GOP side of this contest.)
The SurveyUSA poll showed Faulconer with a commanding 16 point lead citywide, a statistical tie among Latino votes and a startling six percent of “likely” voters not knowing whether they lived north or south of Interstate 8.
From UT-San Diego:
The 16-point lead for Faulconer in the newest poll conducted for the news organizations by SurveyUSA is in stark contrast to a similar survey released Dec. 6. That poll had Faulconer and Alvarez in a virtual dead heat with 47 percent and 46 percent, respectively, in the first snapshot taken after the Nov. 19 special election.
The candidates didn’t campaign much during the time between the two polls because of the holiday season so it’s not clear how Faulconer gained ground and Alvarez receded. Just before the holiday break they did clash over two key issues — increasing the fee on commercial development for affordable housing and the Barrio Logan community plan opposed by the shipyards — which Alvarez supported and Faulconer opposed. Faulconer subsequently participated in signature drives to overturn both decisions.
The UT-San Diego ran an article about the business of campaign advertising on Saturday that gives a glimpse of what we’re likely to see in the coming weeks:
While not willing to reveal the shape of future ads to come, a likely theme [for the Alvarez campaign] will be identifying positions Faulconer has taken that don’t support “the image he’s creating of wanting to invest in neighborhoods.”
Faulconer campaign manager Stephen Puetz was equally coy about future advertising content but hinted that linking Alvarez in some way to Filner and the stands he took is a possibility.
Issa for President? Not So Fast
The local daily also ran with an article over the past few days raising questions about the importance of Congressman Darrell Issa’s appearance next month in New Hampshire at the Concord Republican City and Merrimack County Committee’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner.
“From Operation Fast & Furious to the IRS targeting scandal to the disastrous implementation of the president’s health care plan, Congressman Issa has been standing with the American people to protect their right to know what this government is doing and we are very excited that he is coming to New Hampshire to headline our annual event,” said Kerry Marsh, Concord GOP chairman. “Every year, this dinner gets bigger and has become one of New Hampshire’s signature political events.
While the New Hampshire event is considered a must-do appearance for presidential aspirants, the newspaper and at least one conservative blogger who echoed the report, couldn’t find anybody to go on the record about Issa’s ambitions.
An article in today’s The Hill newspaper suggests Issa may be looking for a way to extend his term-limited six year tenure as Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The GOP investigator says he’s looking for time to wrap up his inquiries into the IRS scandal, the deadly Benghazi attack and the Fast and Furious operation.
Issa sounded a cautionary note that the investigations might not conclude while he has the gavel.
“The administration wraps up investigations. We are done when we are done … there shouldn’t be any sort of effort to load in or unload” before his term limit of six years as the top Republican on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee ends in December.
The article also noted that it’s rare for such extensions to be granted by the GOP Steering Committee.
Monday Book Club, Starring Roger Ailes
A soon to be published book about Fox bossman Roger Ailes is in the news today.
“The Loudest Voice in the Room,” the unauthorized biography of the Fox News Chairman by Gabriel Sherman is apparently full of salacious stories about the paranoia, vindictiveness and sexism of Mr. Ailes.
A Media Matters account today details the ongoing campaign by the Fox News mogul to discredit his unauthorized biographer ahead of the publication of “Loudest Voice”.
Stories about Ailes’ treatment of female employees run throughout the book. In addition to the widely publicized anecdote about his alleged offer to increase a female producer’s salary in exchange for sex, there’s this quote, via Media Matters:
“Be more opinionated,” he told [former Fox host Catherine] Crier in one meeting. “The guests are there as a foil for you.” He also disagreed with her dress. “He had admiration for her legs,” a senior executive said. In one meeting, Ailes barked, “Tell Catherine I did not spend x-number of dollars on a glass desk for her to wear pant suits.” [The Loudest Voice in the Room, pg 238]
And then there’s David Carr’s story in the New York Times about the sometimes unintended consequences of Ails’ political ambitions.
But in the last election, Mr. Ailes conflated his two passions to damaging effect. He gave jobs to many Republican candidates, offered oodles of advice to them, and provided hundreds of hours of airtime for the cooking and serving of conservative red meat.
With an economy in shambles and a foreign policy that was all over the road, the incumbent seemed vulnerable. But that was before the conservative fringe, with a big assist from Fox News, all but kidnapped the Republican side of the argument.
In Mr. Sherman’s book, Mr. Ailes is quoted by fellow Fox News executives as saying, “I want to elect the next U.S. president.” It could be argued that he succeeded, although it wasn’t the candidate he wanted.
Also of interest to book lovers should be Steve Inskeep’s rather amazing NPR interview with former defense secretary Robert Gates. His explanations of the context for various parts of his recently published “Duty” that have been widely quoted (inspiring an anti-Obama UT editorial cartoon, even) are certainly food for thought, especially when it comes to understand how the mass media sometimes defines the narrative about DC politics. It won’t necessarily change anybody’s opinion about Gates, but the interview certainly sheds light on contemporary “spin.”
Democrats Are Not Always Your Friends
Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times posted this rather sad note over the weekend, reflective of just how far to the right the discourse about public policy has moved in this country:
It would take the pen of Jonathan Swift* to fully describe Congress‘ willingness to beat up on the least fortunate members of society to protect the richest. The latest example is a plan to pay for a one-year extension of unemployment insurance by cutting Social Security benefits for the disabled.
This flinthearted idea has been endorsed by Senate Democrats, of all people, who have written it into a proposal that could reach the floor as early as Monday. Its chief sponsor is Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) but it’s got the support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) too.
Advocates for Social Security and for disabled workers are in a fully justified uproar over this measure for two main reasons: It uniquely burdens the disabled among all workers, and it sets a terrible precedent of raiding Social Security to pay for other social programs. As a coalition of disabled advocacy groups put it in a letter to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, the measure would mean “worsening the economic security of workers with disabilities and their families at a time when the economy continues to struggle.”
I guess they just couldn’t be bothered to come with a tax loophole favoring the rich to plug.
On This Day: 1957 – Wham-O began producing “Pluto Platters.” This marked the true beginning of production of the flying disc we call Frisbees. 1979 – The Y.M.C.A. filed a lawsuit against the Village People over their song, “Y.M.C.A.” The suit was later dropped. 1990 – L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia, the nation’s first elected black governor, took the oath of office in Richmond.
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