Tag Archives: Xavier Becerra

What if Senator Feinstein Retired? (Fantasy Draft)

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(Cross-posted on DailyKos)

As many of you already know, a recent Field Poll survey was released showing Senator Dianne Feinstein slipping in her approval rating. 43% of California voters surveyed approve of Sen. Feinstein, while 39% disapprove– the highest disapproval rating she’s had since first being elected to office in 1992. While these numbers don’t necessarily spell trouble for California’s senior senator, they do indicate that people are starting to think of a changing of the guards in the Golden State. It most certainly has crossed her mind as well.

There are always politicians and prominent Californians waiting in the wings for political jockeying. With Feinstein reaching 80 years of age soon, more and more elected officials are prepping their resumes and spending extra time coddling donors in preparation for the inevitable.

So it begs the speculative question, who would be ready and able to run a statewide campaign for the United States Senate in the event of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s retirement? Who would make a great Senator? Who should make for a great race? Who would be an abysmal choice? In this “fantasy draft” diary, I’ve narrowed it down to the 13 most probable potential candidates who are at least thinking about a potential run from the Democratic side. All the apparent pros and cons will be listed, and your suggestions/comments are always welcome. And by all means, if you know of any Republicans that would seem likely, include those as well!


1. Lt.Gov. Gavin Newsom- Gavin Newsom is destined for something much bigger than the LG office he currently occupies. There are already rumors that he’s positioning himself to run for House, but being 1 of 435 doesn’t quite sound like what he wants out of life. Don’t get me wrong, Newsom would make a great United States Senator. He’s got the charisma and charm and policy ideas to help shape our country for many years to come. His negatives, however, remain elephants in the room. This IS the guy who slept with his campaign manager’s wife. This IS the guy who ignited a gay marriage firestorm in the height of the Bush era. He’s also the former mayor of San Francisco, the city hated most along the central valley and eastern portion of the state. It seems like a hard road to walk, but in the end he seems most likely to succeed and thrive.


2. Congressman John Garamendi- I will admit I’m a little biased in that I am a huge John Garamendi fan. As our Insurance Commissioner, he did a bang up job protecting consumers. As Lieutenant Governor, he made a statewide presence that seemed unprecedented. Now, as a member of the House of Representatives, Garamendi is fighting for a fairly progressive agenda, and I like that. However, Garamendi has made the appearance of running for every office short of dog catcher– and it’s possible he’s considered that job too at one point. It might also be hard to support an already “older” candidate: the 60’s might still be considered young to most, but in the world of politics that’s up there!


3. Congressman Xavier Becerra- Rep. Becerra is yet another in a long line of California politicians looking for the next step up. After running for LA mayor in 2001, Becerra was once considered to join the Obama Administration as US Trade Representative. He has a leg up in being vocal and policy-driven, and is a member of the House Democratic Leadership (meaning his national fundraising potential is greater than most). However, outside of his LA home base, very few people know who Xavier Becerra is. It will be a huge obstacle to overcome.


4. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez- A member of the Blue Dog Coalition and Representative of conservative Orange County might make it seem like Loretta Sanchez would fare well with conservatives, but she has been long-considered persona non grata with the Tea Party and is a constant target in her re-election bids. This could make her a great candidate, someone used to the salvos and moderate enough to win over right-leaning independents. This could also make her a highly unpopular candidate with traditional Democrats… you know, the people who she’d HAVE to have on her side to win.


5. Secretary of State Debra Bowen- After a rocky primary battle with LA City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, it seems unlikely that our amazing SoS Debra Bowen would think about putting herself through the rigors of a US Senate race. However, comparing her disappointing CA-36 campaign with a statewide race is highly unfair. Debra Bowen has proven herself to be an effective and popular Secretary of State. She’d have no problem being in the top tier of a potential senate match-up, if she goes with a different campaign team and trusts her instincts a little more.


6. Attorney General Kamala Harris- Perhaps one of the nation’s brightest rising stars in the Democratic Primary, Kamala Harris has the potential to run for governor or US Senate and be instantly considered one of the frontrunners. She’s sharp, bold, brave and charismatic. She is willing to fight, is young, and she’d have the unique potential distinction of being our country’s first Indian American Senator (as far as my recollection serves). The problem with Kamala Harris isn’t necessarily a problem though: Harris is actually on a short list of a different sort. The scuttlebutt in Washington DC is that Kamala Harris tops President Obama’s list for a possible replacement to current US Attorney General Eric Holder in a 2nd Obama administration.


7. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones- There aren’t any other people on this list more genuinely friendly than Dave Jones (with the exception of Debra Bowen). As a Sacramento City Councilman to state assemblyman and now as Insurance Commissioner, Jones has served us all exceptionally well. He’s brilliant and his heart is in the right place. The problem with Dave Jones is that he’s not built for the United States Senate. In my mind, Dave Jones belongs in the Governor’s Mansion. Trust me, I’d be happy to see this man representing our great state, but there’s a distinct difference in leadership style that Dave has that makes him my dream choice for governor one day.


8. State Senator Kevin De Leon- Sen. De Leon is a former teacher who knows what’s going on in America’s classrooms. He’s seen it all, and that experience is much-needed in the Senate. Much like Rep. Becerra and others down the list, name recognition is going to be a problem. However, Kevin De Leon is a shrewd politician, and his roots travel deep. He’d be an instant favorite with the education crowd, and environmental groups will be pleased with his record. He’d be a dark horse, but one worth wagering on.


9. State Senator Mark Leno- Sen. Leno is one of the few openly LGBT members of the California state legislature. Being a gay Jew might not work in Alabama, but in California it’s a non-issue (maybe even a plus). Leno has long been a champion for the environment, healthcare and equality, making him an instant hit with the grassroots activist folks. It would be hard to dismiss his hemp legalization efforts, but in a state that’s pretty evenly divided on the issue Leno wouldn’t have a hard time moving forward.


10. Assemblyman Isadore Hall- Hardly a household name, Isadore Hall could make the case that he has what it takes to serve us in the Senate. From serving as a community college trustee to serving on the Compton City Council before joining the Assembly, Hall has the potential to bring a distinct voice to Washington, one that speaks up for the urban residents of America that often get overlooked. Of course, many can say his relatively young age (39) and inexperience (joining the Assembly in 2008) might handicap Hall. I wouldn’t be surprised if this rising star ends up proving them all wrong.


11. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma- If ever there was a perfect example of a leader standing up for women & children. From authoring bills on toxic paints in toys to domestic violence, Ma has done a lot for California families. It’s really hard to tell, however, if Ma is genuine or not. Her ambition is slightly unsettling, but it may be just the kind of drive we need in the Senate.


12. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (Los Angeles)- Conventional wisdom would say that the former state assembly speaker and mayor of one of the world’s largest cities would be an instant leader in the race to succeed Dianne Feinstein, but unfortunately the candidate would be Antonio Villaraigosa. Mired in scandals over the years, Villaraisgosa represents the backroom politician scheming America loves to hate. Will he raise tons of cash? Yes. Will he campaign hard and for issues we probably will care about? Yes. But will he be a good senator?


13. Mayor Kevin Johnson (Sacramento)- Quite easily the least likely to succeed candidate on this list, Kevin Johnson was mostly just included so I could mention how terrible Kevin Johnson is. Far from being considered intelligent, thoughtful, or concerned about his constituency. The only thing going for Johnson is his ability to snake his way into the limelight to pontificate on whatever issue he thinks he can speak on. As a Sacramentan, I am thoroughly embarrassed of my mayor. BUT, having said that, Johnson has proven that he can raise a lot of money from big named supporters like Gavin Newsom, Charles Barkley, Kamala Harris and even has the attention of the White House. He’d be a contender, but you can bet I’d do all I can to let everyone know just what kind of Senator they’d be getting.

So what are your thoughts? Comments are, as always, welcome!

Wed Jun 22, 2011 at  8:21 AM PT: A POLL has been added… why didn’t I think of this earlier?!?!

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Elton Gallegly’s Anti-Immigration Strategy: Ruin California’s Economy

Rep. Elton Gallegly is the Chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration. He’s also one of the most egregiously anti-immigrant leaders in Congress, pushing a strategy to force a mass deportation, cleverly couched as “attrition through enforcement.”

Unfortunately, Gallegly’s zeal to get tough on immigrants would have profound consequences for California and the rest of the United States.

California’s agriculture and food production are the envy of the world.  The state’s farmers not only help feed the world, but keep prices low and jobs here in the United States.  Yet this great agricultural machine is under assault by one of California’s own members of Congress: Elton Gallegly.  Instead of embracing the business-labor compromise bill known as AgJOBS that would legalize farm workers and make changes to the H-2A guest worker program, Gallegly is trying to divide the business community from labor leaders and destabilize the agriculture industry in the process. 

Gallegly has already held hearings that tried to pit Latinos against African Americans. (His hometown paper, the Ventura County Star, reported on March 1, 2011 “Immigration hearing turns into racial battle”) and designed to create tension between native-born citizens and naturalized citizens, which Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA-31) blasted as “scapegoating on steroids.” 

Gallegly’s next hearing is titled, “The H-2A Visa Program – Meeting the Growing Needs of American Agriculture?”  His approach is to insist that the solution to our farm labor crisis is an employer-friendly guest worker program, instead of the thoughtful, realistic, bipartisan approach embodied by AgJOBS that includes stronger labor rights for workers, changes to the visa program desired by employers, and a way for undocumented farm workers to earn legal status if they have worked in the agriculture industry.

Gallegly knows that California’s agriculture industry is dependent on a foreign-born and mostly unauthorized workforce.  Yet, due to our broken immigration system, the foreign-born workers who comprise the overwhelming majority of our agricultural workers have few avenues to become legalized and, without them, farmers have few avenues to keep their farms operating at full capacity.  It’s already bad enough. But, Gallegly is intent upon making a bad situation worse.  Importing new workers through a revised H-2A program, and deporting the seasoned workers who have been here for years, is not the answer.  A reasonable approach, like the AgJOBS legislation, is.

But the impact of Gallegly’s policy prescriptions will not just hurt agriculture.

Not too far north of Gallegly’s district lies another of California’s economic crown jewels: Silicon Valley.  According to Tech Crunch, the U.S. immigration policies are having a devastating impact on entrepreneurship:

NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw visited Silicon Valley last month to meet immigrant entrepreneurs. At Microsoft’s Mountain View campus, he met with a dozen of them. More than half said that they might be forced to return to their home countries. That’s because they have the same visa issues that Kunal Bahl had. Unable to get a visa that would allow him to start a company after he graduated from Wharton in 2007, Kunal returned home to India. In February 2010, he started SnapDeal—India’s Groupon. Instead of creating hundreds of jobs in the U.S., Kunal ended up creating them in New Delhi.

At a time when our economy is stagnating, some American political leaders are working to keep the world’s best and brightest out. They mistakenly believe that skilled immigrants take American jobs away. The opposite is true: skilled immigrants start the majority of Silicon Valley startups; they create jobs.

Meanwhile, entrepreneurship is booming in countries that compete with us. And more than half a million doctors, scientists, researchers, and engineers in the U.S. are stuck in “immigration limbo”. They are on temporary work visas and are waiting for permanent-resident visas, which are in extremely short supply. These workers can’t start companies, justify buying houses, or grow deep roots in their communities. Once they get in line for a visa, they can’t even accept a promotion or change jobs. They could be required to leave the U.S. immediately—without notice—if their employer lays them off.  Rather than live in constant fear and stagnate in their careers, many are returning home.

Constant fear is what Gallegly is instilling in immigrants across the economic spectrum.

California’s economy, from Silicon Valley to the Central Valley and much of the rest of the state, relies on the labor of immigrants. And, it’s no secret that California’s economy is already in a precarious state.  A report from the Immigration Policy Center documented the positive economic effect immigrants have on the state:

A 2008 study by the California Immigrant Policy Center concludes that immigrants in California pay roughly $30 billion in federal taxes, $5.2 billion in state income taxes, and $4.6 billion in sales taxes each year. In California, “the average immigrant-headed household contributes a net $2,679 annually to Social Security, which is $539 more than the average US-born household. Additionally, “immigrants are among California’s most productive entrepreneurs and have created jobs for tens of thousands of Californians. By 2000, immigrant owners of Silicon Valley companies had created 72,829 jobs and generated more than $19.5 billion in sales.”

A report from the Congressional Budget Office, The Role of Immigrants in the U.S. Labor Market: An Update, noted the major role of immigrants in California:

The foreign-born labor force is disproportionately located in certain states, and in those states, its members make up a substantial share of the total labor force. In 2009, 6 million of the 24 million foreign-born members of the labor force resided in California alone, and another 9 million lived in just five additional states—New York, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, and Illinois. A third of the labor force in California was foreign born, as was over a fifth of the labor force in the other five states. By comparison, in the remaining 44 states, the foreign born made up less than 10 percent of the labor force.

Instead of creating jobs, Gallegly is scaring workers with the threat of deportation. Instead of bolstering his state’s economy, Gallegly’s obsession with deporting immigrants or hiring replacement workers through an employer-friendly guest worker program could seriously damage it.

Cross-Posted at America's Voice. 

CA-31: Becerra To Join Cabinet After All? [UPDATED] Or Not

I’m not really much for forcible identity politics, but some Latino leaders are making noises that a Hispanic ought to replace Bill Richardson (who withdrew his nomination) as the Secretary of Commerce, making the argument that the Latino population must maintain its representation in the Administration.  I’d prefer the best man or woman for the job, but this is a case where there already is a Hispanic who Obama considered for a separate cabinet appointment who may be able to be persuaded into accepting this one.  That would be Xavier Becerra.

An Obama transition team source said a veteran California congressman, Xavier Becerra, has emerged as the leading congressional candidate to replace Richardson, the Hispanic governor of New Mexico, as President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for a job that will include overseeing the 2010 U.S. Census.

“Even though he turned down the trade representative slot, Becerra is not only Hispanic, but he has the skill, talent and experience to do the Commerce job,” said the source, who was not authorized to speak for the president-elect.

“Xavier’s name has gone to the top of the list of potential replacements in part because he is a member of the House leadership, he is well liked, he has very good credentials, and, of course, he was an early Obama backer,” the source said.

It’s all speculative at the moment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this happened.  Becerra wanted a bigger role in the Administration than trade representative, and certainly the Commerce Department would give him a better opportunity to shape White House policy.

Obviously this would create another special election in an adjoining district to incoming Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’ CA-32.  Los Angeles County from Hollywood to points east would be ground zero for political wrangling this spring.

UPDATE: Becerra’s spokeswoman says he’s not interested.

Xavier Becerra is not considering an appointment to become Secretary of Commerce and will remain in the House, his spokeswoman told Politico.

“The Congressman has already expressed that he is staying in Congress and looks forward to working with the Obama Administration from his position as House Democratic Vice Chair,” said Fabiola Rodriguez.

CA-31: Becerra Out, Garcetti In?

Xavier Becerra, a Congressman from Hollywood, is at the least being strongly considered for the post of US Trade Representative and may have already accepted the job.  Becerra is in the House leadership as Vice President of the Democratic caucus, and while he voted for NAFTA he has since regretted doing so, and he led the fight against CAFTA and other trade agreements which he felt did not have the proper safeguards, or labor and environmental standards.  And channeling my inner David Sirota, the fact that pro-business conservatives are worried about the direction Becerra will take US trade policy confirms that he would be an excellent choice:

And now Business Week reports on some rumblings of opposition from the pro-business and free-trade camp:

Philip Levy, who’s now with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, told the mag that the choice is “troubling,” arguing that “to oppose Nafta is in many ways to lash out symbolically against trade.” A business lobbyist added to the mag that he and his colleagues are “pretty concerned.”

Well, I’m sold.

If Obama brushes off the concerns of the American Enterprise Institute (and really, everyone should) and Becerra gets the job, a very safe Democratic seat in the heart of Los Angeles would be up for grabs.  Considering the density of the city it’s actually a pretty large district (with lots of it in rapidly gentrifying Hollywood), and has a good deal of Latino voters.  However, this would be up for grabs in a special election, and the universe of special election voters is probably a smaller Hispanic universe than on a normal Election Day, so I wouldn’t say that only a Latino candidate could win here. In fact, LA City Council President Eric Garcetti represents a good portion of the district on the council.

Garcetti would be a progressive leader in the Congress and a major upgrade.  Becerra is a member of the Progressive Caucus and generally solid on the issues, but he’s not particularly outspoken, and as part of the leadership team, wouldn’t stray too much from the party line.  On the other hand, Garcetti is a smart, committed young leader, a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and a graduate of the London School of Economics who has led on so many progressive issues in the city it’s hard to even count them all.  It would be great to have someone in the Congress with the background of dealing with key urban issues from graffiti to housing to development, while at the same time having led on important national initiatives like clean money, the war in Iraq (the LA City Council was among the first to pass a resolution opposing it) and renewable energy.  Garcetti jumped aboard the Barack Obama campaign from almost the very beginning as a California chairperson, so he would be able to tap that network of organizers pretty easily.  He would make a fantastic member of Congress, among the best in the nation in my view. (and that’s not just because he appeared on Calitics Radio on primary election night!)

Rep. Becerra would get to set trade policy, and Los Angeles would experience no dropoff in leadership.  Everybody wins!

UPDATE: In this LA Times article, Sen. Gil Cedillo is also mentioned as a possible candidate.  I’m a fan of Cedillo’s as well, particularly his leadership on the DREAM Act and his advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform.  Garcetti is quoted in the article saying “it was premature to speculate on a possible run but did not rule it out.”

Spin Alley

You might as well call it “The Lying Lounge,” but I just spent a little bit of time there.  It’s quite surreal, all this attention paid to people who are saying the most obvious statements imaginable (“My candidate did well!”).  But I sought out some of our California legislators, and tried to ask them about some of the issues outside of the debate that we talk about a lot.

• Rep. Hilda Solis: It was great to see Rep. Solis here!  I wasn’t aware that she was a Clinton supporter (previously she had supported Bill Richardson), and I had to look up at her sign (every “spinner” has a sign) to recognize that after she started talking to me.  She said that Hillary had a good chance to explain her proposals in a lot of detail tonight, including on health care and “green jobs.”  I mention that she was barely given a chance to mention green jobs, and asked her what she thought about the fact that every CNN debate has been sponsored by the coal industry.  “I think that’s not right,” she said.  She went on to mention some environmental justice legislation she’s co-sponsored with Sen. Clinton, and I asked her to come to Calitics and tell us about it.

• Speaker Fabian Nuñez: I didn’t want to hijack the interview, but I really wanted to hear his views in the aftermath of the health care reform failure in the State Senate.  Fortunately, someone beat me to it, and wound the conversation around to that.  After saying that Sen. Clinton “understands the complexities of the health care crisis,” he was asked about the lessons of what took place in Sacramento this week.  “That was a question of our fiscal crisis.  The State Senate felt we couldn’t afford it, and I respect their perspective.  But at the federal level, there’s a way to do it in a much more flexible way and get it paid for.  For all the reasons we couldn’t accomplish it at the state level, you can at the federal level.”  I wasn’t able to add the question of what concrete proposals we could get through this year.  But I respect that answer, maybe because it’s what I’ve been saying for a long, long time.

• Rep. Xavier Becerra: The Hollywood Democrat is an Obama supporter, and he talked about how to get his message out to Latino voters.  He talked about how his life is an embodiment of the immigrant experience and how he has worked with those communities.  I asked him about the DTS voter issue, and how to get them educated that they have to opt in to get a Democratic primary ballot, and he basically said “Yeah, we have to do that.”  Wasn’t much of an answer there.  I think this is an under-the-radar issue in this primary.

• Secretary of State Debra Bowen: On E minus-5, she seemed calm.  Bowen, in her role as elections cop, is maintaining a position of neutrality in the primary.  “It’ll be harder in the general election,” she said.  I asked her, in the aftermath of John Edwards dropping out of the race, should California look into Instant Runoff Voting so that people who voted early aren’t disenfranchised by having their candidate drop out.  She said that’s something that the parties should look into (“The Green Party would probably do it immediately”), and that it would take a good deal of voter education, too.  There are studies about voters in San Francisco who didn’t understand IRV and ended up having their vote eventually not count because they only filled out one choice.

Well, I made the best of it and tried to get the least lies possible.

Endorsements A Go-Go

Just a quickie on a bunch of endorsements from over the weekend.  Xavier Becerra came out for Obama this weekend, which could combine with Ted Kennedy’s endorsement to provide a lot of support in the Latino community.  Apparently, Kennedy will be campaigning in California.  This is a counterweight to the United Farm Workers’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton last week.  But I was interested by Tom Hayden’s endorsement, not of Obama, but actually for the movement he has inspired.  From an email:

I have been devastated by too many tragedies and betrayals over the past 40 years to ever again deposit so much hope in any single individual, no matter how charismatic or brilliant. But today I see across the generational divide the spirit, excitement, energy and creativity of a new generation bidding to displace the old ways. Obama’s moment is their moment, and I pray that they succeed without the sufferings and betrayals my generation went through. There really is no comparison between the Obama generation and those who would come to power with Hillary Clinton, and I suspect she knows it. The people she would take into her administration may have been reformers and idealists in their youth, but they seem to seek now a return to their establishment positions of power. They are the sorts of people young Hillary Clinton herself would have scorned at Wellesley. If history is any guide, the new “best and brightest” of the Obama generation will unleash a new cycle of activism, reform and fresh thinking before they follow pragmatism to its dead end.

Many ordinary Americans will take a transformative step down the long road to the Rainbow Covenant if Obama wins. For at least a brief moment, people around the world — from the shantytowns to the sweatshops, even to the restless rich of the Sixties generation — will look up from the treadmills of their shrunken lives to the possibilities of what life still might be. Environmental justice and global economic hope would dawn as possibilities.

I’ve been saying for a while now that, regardless of the President, what will create this “change” that everyone’s been bandying about is we the people.  The coalition that Obama represents does offer an opportunity to build such a movement, at a level that Clinton does not appear to be attempting to build.  It’s certainly fragile, and may fracture once the Republicans prove resistant to a rhetoric of “post-partisanship” and working together.  But it’s our best hope.

California Democratic Primary – What are you seeing?

Via Newseum, here’s how Barack Obama’s victory over Hillary Clinton in South Carolina is playing above the fold in today’s California’s Sunday papers:

Bakersfield Californian: Obama routs Clinton in S.C.

North County Times (Escondido): Obama romps in South Carolina

LA Daily News: Obama defeats Clinton in rout in S. Carolina

LA Times: Obama easily captures strongest win yet in S.C.

Modesto Bee: Obama crushes Clinton in South Carolina primary

Sacramento Bee: Obama’s big win sets up next fight

San Diego Union-Tribune: Obama thrashes rivals in S.C.

San Francisco Chronicle: OBAMA WINS BIG IN S. CAROLINA

Orange County Register: Obama runs away with S.C.

Contra Costa Times: Obama nets huge win in S. Carolina

More after the flip and please use the comments to let us everyone know what you’re doing and seeing locally.

In a must-read, Frank Russo reminds everyone:

Message to all California Democrats-and independents (decline to state voters) who can vote in the California Democratic primary: Your vote matters. Delegates will be elected locally, so regardless of who is ahead or behind in the polls statewide, don’t become over confident or discouraged. Get out and vote-as if your vote will determine who the nominee and most probably the next President will be. This is an election where your vote counts, as much as any in recent memory, and I wouldn’t take anything for granted.

In the endorsement game, Obama scored the Chronicle endorsement, Caroline Kennedy, her Uncle Ted and Xavier Becerra. Meanwhile Clinton lost the CTA endorsement:

CTA’s elites apparently got a big wake up call when their effort to crown Hillary as the official choice of California’s teachers was upended by overwhelming resistance from rank and file Obama supporters. The vaunted pre Feb 5th CTA endorsement – which was widely expected to go Clinton’s way – appears to now be postponed to April (when we will all be on the edge of our seats, I am sure).

The Hillary repudiation at CTA is more than just inside baseball. This could portend an erosion of support among powerful constituencies that are supposed to be the bedrock of Clinton’s California operation. Add this development with Obama’s superior California ground game, and a big bounce coming out of South Carolina, and he may have enough steam to pull off a victory in the Golden state.

And who knows where things really stand in the CA right now, especially in light of South Carolina polls totally missing Obama’s support:

The polls had a bad day on Saturday in grossly underestimating the support for Barack Obama, though they nailed the Clinton and Edwards votes quite well. Not one poll came within the ten-ring, and the final poll of the primary understated Obama’s vote by nearly 15 points. Several polls flirted just inside the 20-ring, and one hapless example of the consequences of poor question wording, the Clemson University poll, understated Obama support by nearly 30 points. The Clemson poll allowed 36% to remain “undecided”, hopelessly biasing downward their estimates of candidate support, but especially so for Obama.

Speaking of which, the (cell-phone only) youth vote tripled turnout in South Carolina.

And Obama’s California campaign isn’t going to take any crap from Bill Clinton:

With little more than a week to go before the Feb. 5 primary here, the California campaign of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama campaign has officially put former President Bill Clinton — and by extension, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton — on notice that the kind of negative campaigning that went down in South Carolina will be met with force in the Golden State.

Camp Obama announced the formation of its ”Truth Squad” effort here Sunday, headed by the likes of Reps. George Miller, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Linda Sanchez and Adam Schiff, along with San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris and LA Federation of Labor Secretary-Treasurer Maria Elena Durazo; the team held a conference call with California reporters to herald the effort.

”We’re concerned here in California that we’re about to get inundated by the same kind of negative ads that we saw in South Carolina,” Miller told reporters.

So now, the aim of the California Obama effort is ”to get rid of the politics of the past” — and to mount an offensive effort against what he called ”weeks of misleading attacks, negative ads and negative attacks” by the Clinton camp against the Illinois Senator. ”Whatever they seek to use, we seek to counter,” Miller said.

Does Bill Clinton help or hurt in California? Seems everyone has an opinion on this one:

Asked about the role of President Clinton – who’s still highly popular in Democratic-leaning California, Miller suggested that ”there’s probably a major reassessment taking place inside the Clinton campaign” regarding the effectiveness of the former president’s role as surrogate-in-chief.

”There’s a pretty strong concensus that he was being used to undermine Barack Obama, to try and undermine his campaign – and it backfired,” Miller said. ”Seventy percent (of South Carolina voters) thought the Clinton campaign was negative, and they didn’t like it.”

Chris Lehane gives the Clinton surrogate stance:

“You don’t tug on Superman’s cape – and you don’t mess around with a popular Democratic president whose poll numbers are in the stratosphere among Democratic grassroots voters,” laughed Chris Lehane, the Democratic strategist who is supporting Clinton in the 2008 presidential race. “California has historically been Clinton country – and it will continue to be Clinton country.”

But pollster Phil Trounstine, who heads the San Jose State University Survey and Policy Research Institute, said the contentious lead-up to South Carolina’s primary could come back to haunt Clinton, her husband and the Democratic Party as well.

Take the poll and let us know what you’re seeing out there. Also, I know a lot of you have digital cameras, let’s see some pics!

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Progressive Punch: Jerry McNerney ranks 195th of 232

Woohoo! Jerry did it! Jerry McNerney has managed to become the most un-progressive Democrat of the entire California congressional delegation. For those keeping score at home, Jerry’s 82.45 was about a half point lower than the next CA Dem, Jim Costa, that progressive stalwart, at 82.97. And for all the talk of Harman changing her ways, she’s still worse than even Joe Baca, almost 7 points worse from a very safe Dem seat.

For all of you CA-45 fans, “moderate” Mary Bono came in with a stellar 4.42 Chips are Down score. So, for all the bluster of the SCHIP vote, she’s still dancing the same jig as the rest of her party.

On thing must be said, the Speaker has done an excellent job at preserving unity amongst the caucus. Whether that means she’s being too incremental and/or ineffective, or just laying down the law is the big question. The reason her approval rating, and the Congress in general, is down has a whole lot to do with the fact that little has changed on the Iraq front. So, would it be better to have a speaker who is more willing to take risks? Perhaps, but the impediment of the president always lingers over her head, veto pen in hand. So, whether the unity is really there, is an open question. Full data over the flip.

Rank Name 07-08 All-time ChipsAreDown Party State
1 Pelosi, Nancy 100.00 93.58 100.00 D CA
3 Sánchez, Linda T. 98.97 96.45 98.43 D CA
6 Lee, Barbara 98.45 96.99 97.18 D CA
9 Capps, Lois 98.28 88.95 97.49 D CA
13 Solis, Hilda L. 97.94 95.77 96.24 D CA
18 Richardson, Laura 97.83 97.83 96.43 D CA
23 Woolsey, Lynn C. 97.57 94.69 95.92 D CA
24 Filner, Bob 97.55 94.02 95.91 D CA
25 Matsui, Doris O. 97.42 94.46 95.30 D CA
26 Becerra, Xavier 97.33 92.41 95.19 D CA
37 Farr, Sam 96.72 90.66 94.98 D CA
39 Honda, Michael M. 96.63 94.39 94.67 D CA
51 Roybal-Allard, Lucille 96.39 92.79 94.03 D CA
55 Lofgren, Zoe 96.34 87.42 94.65 D CA
56 Tauscher, Ellen O. 96.23 83.14 93.10 D CA
58 Napolitano, Grace F. 96.17 90.68 93.42 D CA
63 Schiff, Adam B. 95.88 86.79 92.45 D CA
68 Waters, Maxine 95.77 93.38 93.31 D CA
71 Miller, George 95.72 93.67 93.20 D CA
73 Davis, Susan A. 95.70 87.53 93.10 D CA
77 Eshoo, Anna G. 95.64 88.63 93.38 D CA
82 Sherman, Brad 95.52 84.99 92.79 D CA
88 Berman, Howard L. 95.28 87.56 92.38 D CA
88 Watson, Diane E. 95.28 92.71 91.80 D CA
97 Thompson, Mike 95.01 85.33 93.42 D CA
102 Lantos, Tom 94.74 87.73 90.51 D CA
104 Sanchez, Loretta 94.49 84.58 90.19 D CA
114 Baca, Joe 94.16 82.91 90.28 D CA
127 Waxman, Henry A. 93.63 91.96 89.49 D CA
153 Stark, Fortney Pete 92.02 93.12 87.74 D CA
178 Cardoza, Dennis A. 90.09 77.80 84.86 D CA
179 Harman, Jane 89.82 76.91 83.86 D CA
187 Costa, Jim 89.22 78.46 82.97 D CA
195 McNerney, Jerry 87.63 87.63 82.45 D CA
274 Lewis, Jerry 18.40 10.68 4.73 R CA
283 Bono, Mary 16.01 11.32 4.42 R CA
295 Doolittle, John T. 12.72 4.44 1.57 R CA
313 Calvert, Ken 10.39 5.41 0.95 R CA
322 Hunter, Duncan 8.85 5.38 1.32 R CA
330 Gallegly, Elton 7.60 5.89 1.89 R CA
342 Rohrabacher, Dana 6.67 7.73 4.08 R CA
346 Dreier, David 6.38 5.19 2.51 R CA
352 Bilbray, Brian P. 6.07 13.85 3.77 R CA
356 McKeon, Howard P. “Buck” 5.91 3.87 1.27 R CA
370 Herger, Wally 4.92 3.30 0.95 R CA
373 Lungren, Daniel E. 4.81 4.43 1.25 R CA
376 Radanovich, George 4.60 3.65 1.27 R CA
378 Issa, Darrell E. 4.36 4.52 1.27 R CA
380 Miller, Gary G. 4.18 2.45 1.25 R CA
384 Nunes, Devin 4.01 3.30 0.31 R CA
385 McCarthy, Kevin 3.97 3.97 0.63 R CA
388 Royce, Edward R. 3.49 6.55 1.26 R CA
394 Campbell, John 3.12 3.77 2.85 R CA

Chips are down scorecard

(I was working on a similar post, but I’ll still post my own, with all CA data and some other miscellany. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

The problem with most scorecards is that they are written by lobbyists concerned with always getting the votes of potential supporters. Thus, there is an equal weighting while in the real world not all votes are equal. In fact, regardless of everything else, some votes are dealbreakers and when they show up on scorecards as one of 12 votes or something, it looks silly. However, Progressive Punch has a new “when the chips are down” scorecard. After the flip is the ratings of CA’s congressional delegation, in descending order.


92.86 Boxer, Barbara
90.45 Feinstein, Dianne


100.00 Pelosi, Nancy
98.43 Sánchez, Linda T.
97.49 Capps, Lois
97.18 Lee, Barbara
96.43 Richardson, Laura
96.24 Solis, Hilda L.
95.92 Woolsey, Lynn C.
95.91 Filner, Bob
95.30 Matsui, Doris O.
95.19 Becerra, Xavier
94.98 Farr, Sam
94.67 Honda, Michael M.
94.65 Lofgren, Zoe
94.03 Roybal-Allard, Lucille
93.42 Napolitano, Grace F.
93.42 Thompson, Mike
93.38 Eshoo, Anna G.
93.31 Waters, Maxine
93.20 Miller, George
93.10 Davis, Susan A.
93.10 Tauscher, Ellen O.
92.79 Sherman, Brad
92.45 Schiff, Adam B.
92.38 Berman, Howard L.
91.80 Watson, Diane E.
90.51 Lantos, Tom
90.28 Baca, Joe
90.19 Sanchez, Loretta
89.49 Waxman, Henry A.
87.74 Stark, Fortney Pete
84.86 Cardoza, Dennis A.
83.86 Harman, Jane
82.97 Costa, Jim
82.45 McNerney, Jerry

Vote to Condemn MoveOn Splits California’s DC Democrats in Half

I’m guessing that at tonight’s Calitics’ Actblue Celebrations there will be a lot of discussion about the votes to condemn MoveOn. The CA delegation split 50-50 in the senate and 16 yea and 17 nay in the house — wedged successfully by the GOP in half. After the flip is the scorecard.

Diane Feinstein

Barbara Boxer

Joe Baca (CA-43)
Dennis Cardoza (CA-18)
Jim Costa (CA-20)
Susan Davis (CA-53)
Anna Eshoo (CA-14)
Sam Farr (CA-17)
Jane Harman (CA-36)
Tom Lantos (CA-12)
Jerry McNerney (CA-11)
Grace Napolitano (CA-38)
Laura Richardson (CA-37)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34)
Loretta Sanchez (CA-47)
Adam Schiff (CA-29)
Ellen Tauscher (CA-10)
Mike Thompson (CA-1)

Xavier Becerra (CA-31)
Howard Berman (CA-28)
Lois Capps (CA-23)
Bob Filner (CA-51)
Mike Honda (CA-15)
Barbara Lee (CA-9)
Zoe Lofgren (CA-16)
Doris Matsui (CA-5)
George Miller (CA-7)
Linda Sanchez (CA-39)
Brad Sherman (CA-27)
Hilda Solis (CA-32)
Pete Stark (CA-13)
Maxine Waters (CA-35)
Diane Watson (CA-33)
Henry Waxman (CA-30)
Lynn Woolsey (CA-6)