Tag Archives: California Majority Report

California Matters, Etc.

First of all, Satan is an off-rhyme, at best, and really not a rhyme at all.

Second, why are Biden and Dodd dropping out when California is SO important and a whole month away?

Third, watch those tracking polls in California over the next week.  Will they differ by even a point from the national numbers?  Signs point to no.  That would kind of be the key.  A bunch of candidates spending money in a primary state when it grows closer is the lamest justification you could ever make for moving up the primary.  It’s Mr. Magoo-like in its myopia.  “Californians actually showed up for the primary, proving it was a good idea to have the primary!”

Fourth, you’d think someone looking dead in the face at lame-duck status in 33 days would have better things to do than care what some dude on the Internets has to say.

…I should also mention that we had fantastic turnout for our Calitics/Drinking Liberally caucus watch party in Santa Monica last night.  Well over 100 people, perhaps as much as 150, including Congressional candidate Hoyt Hilsman, LA County Democratic Party chief Eric Bauman, your favorite bloggers and more.  California Democrats are extremely excited and energized by this campaign season.  That’s completely besides the point of whether or not it was a good idea to create a Trojan-horse June primary, etc.  And telling me about all the wonderful events happening doesn’t change that.

Antonio Villaraigosa, by the way, traveled from Iowa to New Hampshire today.  Apparently Los Angeles can run itself.

Another Memorial Day and Insiders Still Don’t Get Iraq

The insiders are gratuitously behind the curve in understanding Iraq:

Congressman Jerry McNerney, who took a lot of heat from progressives for his last vote on Iraq, this time defied Democratic leadership and voted no on the bill to pass the federal budget.

In reality, last time McNerney voted against Speaker Pelosi and voted with the minority (59) of Democratic members who want to stay in Iraq. Thursday, he defied the President and joined the Speaker in voting with the majority (140) of Democrats against capitulating.

The other day, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a great acticle on Facebook activism. So take advantage of the potential. Sign up an account and join the group: Proud of Jerry McNerney. And be friends with Jerry McNerney. This is a great use of 5 minutes for some Memorial Day activism.

And, of course, join the group: Calitics. It is critical for those of us who do “get it” to become better networked.

Updated to add the kick-ass pic of our friend who crashed the gate.

Why The California Majority Report Should be Sold For Scrap

If you read Calitics you would know that, after much introspection, liberal House members from California – Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, Diane Watson and Maxine Waters – have relented and voiced their support for the Iraq appropriation which would set an end date for the conflict. 

Steve Maviglio reads Calitics but didn’t before he clicked send about twenty minutes ago and slathered the egg upon his face, especially considering that the California progressives’ shift to support of the bill was only the single biggest political story going on since this afternoon.  And the article is a doozy.  It shows a knee-jerk hatred of liberalism (and principles, for that matter), a defend-the-leadership-at-all-costs mentality, a thuddingly poor understanding of the fact that you might want to check Google News before you blog, and… wait for it… a hat tip to Ellen Tauscher for her work on helping whip the bill.

We all write things we’d rather take back, but I get the sense that this is the norm and not the exception over there.

I would say that the progressives’ move on this bill mirrored mine.  I think that too much enforcement has been stripped from this and too much of an argument given to the President to defy the resolution for my comfort.  I also can’t stand the fact that the House leadership larded it up with pork to buy votes, a disgraceful tactic that threatens to turn Democrats into an inverted fun-house mirror version of Republicans.  And yet, this is the first bill which actually attaches an end date to our disastrous occupation in Iraq.  The votes aren’t there for much more, and yet progressives were decisive in this debate, ensuring that the end date reached the final bill.  No war in American history has ended with one vote.  This is a way to continue to build public support while really trying to end the war.  And while progressives came around to understanding that and unifying the caucus, they showed their muscle to get the best bill that could possibly be done right now.

For some reason, Maviglio decides that any opinion other than that which has been given the imprimatur of the leadership is necessarily invalid.  That’s a positively Republican argument.

U.S. Reps. Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey, Diane Watson and Barbara Lee have announced they will vote against the carefully crafted compromise of the Iraq spending bill being pushed by Pelosi. More embarrassing: Waters and Woolsey are both part of Pelosi’s leadership team.

Why are these four Californians throwing Pelosi and the overwhelming majority of their fellow Democrats under the bus?

They’re not, but if they were, according to you, they would be doing so to stop 18 year-olds from dying.  I know, it’s really awful to rhetorically throw someone under a bus than do the equivalent of actually throwing hundreds of kids under a series of buses, causing them to die.

I don’t know if this entire post was an attempt to name-check Tauscher and call her a “smart Democrat” or what, but even if it wasn’t 100% wrong, it’d be embarrassing.

More on CMR…

The Flashers have a lot to learn about the lefty blogosphere, perhaps more than even the publishers of the California Majority Report.  They responded to well, one sentence from Kos.  The sentence: “This is the sort of atrocity when California’s Democratic consultant insiders decide they want to ‘blog.'”

First, perhaps they should ascertain the proper usage of the name of Daily Kos’ proprietor.  But, more importantly, they should understand who Kos is, and who he isn’t.  I’m not going to spend my time trying to explain that, he can do that for himself.  However, I’m just guessing that the author of that post hasn’t yet read Crashing the Gate.   Get on that Nicholas…

But the gist of his post is that “lefties” hate authority figures.  We all want to be outsiders so we can say we’re fighting “The Man”.  That us “lefty radical types” hate anybody with power or authority.  But it’s clear that it’s easier for Mr. Romero to read one sentence than a broader, more nuanced view of the left’s reaction to CMR.  Like, say, the one I wrote.

You see, my criticism wasn’t so much that they are insiders, so much as what the blog was.  In fact, I left it open that they might return as a better entity.

And by the way, I find the stereotyping of all who are “lefty”, quite cliché. I don’t have a pony tail, and I don’t say Peace. (Although I do say “yo” a lot)  In fact, I’m a rather poor radical.  My radical stances? Well, let’s just say Barry Goldwater would be proud: A balanced budget, religion out of the government (“I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D.  Just who do they think they are?  And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? “) and equal rights for all citizens (“You don’t need to be “straight” to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.”)

So if Barry Goldwater was a lefty radical, then so am I.

What is a progressive blog? And can insiders have one too?

(Cross-posted to MyDD, dKos and My Left Wing. – promoted by SFBrianCL)

With the recent launch of the California Majority Report, I returned to the idea of what the meaning of what it really means to have a blog, to write a blog, and to be part of a group blog.  What is a progressive blog? But more generally, what is a political blog?  To me a political blog has a purpose more than just to inform.  It has a goal in mind of moving political goals forward.  Some are focused on plain and simple electioneering, some on issues, but they have a purpose because they have a somewhat consistent message.  This is even true of the Daily Kos, where there are a wealth of different opinions.  dKos is attempting to further Dem politics by building and motivating grassroots activists. It’s a model that can be successful for a blog because there are so many grassroots activists out there that it can appeal to.  It’s the model that I based Calitics on precisely because I wanted to help develop progressive grassroots infrastructure in California.

But let’s digress into some of the specifics of this new site, the California Majority Report. First, the technical aspects.  First of all, it appears to be based off of a WordPress install.  However, somehow they managed to mangle WordPress so badly that it’s a ridiculous pain in the ass to leave a comment.  It took me about 7 hours to set my user name up.  What can a computer do in 7 hours that it can’t do in 7 minutes, or 7 seconds? Who knows, but that’s how long it took me because the email took that long to arrive.  And even when I got my password, the site seemed to have some problems logging me in.  Oops! Additionally, I don’t want to harp on the design itself, but I will point out the fact that it’s amongst the ugliest WordPress blogs that I’ve ever seen.  Oh wait, that’s harping isn’t it?  My Bad.

I ask the question that is in the title of this post because the “contributors” of the California Majority Report seem to be working at cross purposes.  To flesh this out let’s compare this site to several others on the Internet.  Follow me to the flip…

First, as the site seems to want to be compared to Jon Fleischman’s Flash Report, let’s do that.  First, I will note that by continually comparing themselves to Jon Fleischman they are giving this man some sense of credibility which he does not deserve.  His business model is only successful because Republican insider advertisers (with whom his readership is already familiar) have elected to pay him ridiculously high ad rates, as a sort of wingnut welfare.  (Ironically, Flash Report was for a long time also subsidized by Fleischman’s income from a taxpayer-funded job as the PR flack for the Orange County Sheriff.) Fleischman should be ignored as much as possible.  It’s hard enough trying to deal with conservatives like Schwarzenegger without dealing with Fleischman.  Currently, the man is in a state of mourning over the minimum wage deal.  (My God! You mean these poor peoople are going to make more money! And then they will spend it all! And it will pump more money back into the economy creating more jobs! ….Oops, I guess he didn’t really say that, that’s just me I suppose)  I suppose Jon never read Card and Kruger’s Myth and Measurement.

But back to the Flash Report, Fleischman has several contributors from around the state, some with slightly different perspectives.  But the one consistency from the Flash Report contributors is that they are all unapologetically conservative.  They occasionally have their disputes with the governor and other elected Republicans, but almost always from the Right.  In the CA-50 Special Election it was Fleischman championing Eric Roach to run.  And the message from the FlashReport was clear because of Fleischman’s iron grip on the site.  It’s his site, and everybody else is just allowed to play in his sandbox.

But as much as the publishers of this site seem to have wanted to copy the Flash Report, they only went halfway.  Their messages come from both the Left and the Right of the Democratic Party.  Would Garry South agree with Chris Lehane’s suggestion of taking a position on pulling the National Guard out of Iraq?  I tend to think no because of South’s vigilante war against all that is progressive in his Lieberman ’04 Presidential campaign and the Westly ’06 Gubenatorial campaign.  And there’s no Fleischman to give the site an overall direction in case of disputes.  The site seems to be insider for insider’s sake.  And while I’m sure that many insiders will read and appreciate that, I predict a lot of difficulty attracting more than a handful of readers outside the Sacto bubble.

And while I’m on the topic of Garry South, it appears that he once he bashes Phil Angelides once again. (This song and dance is getting tired.).  He’s also joined this time by Jude Barry, who throws in some Ned Lamont bashing in for good measure.

If California voters forgive Schwarzenegger, like Connecticut voters seem to be forgiving Lieberman, for the sin of supporting an unpopular president and a disastrous war, it will result in the re-election of an incumbent and prove that voters, like moviegoers, love sequels. (CA Majority Report 8/23/06)

This is the stuff of a man who doesn’t really know Connecticut and hasn’t been really following the Lamont race.  I don’t blame him for that, but if he was, then he’d have known about Lamont drawing within the margin of error in the most recent polls.  But that’s all secondary when you can give the man who defeated you a good push towards the cliff.

Now, I’m inclined to cut Barry some slack, mostly because of his Howard Dean work in 2004.  South, on the other hand gets no slack at all.  He’s had his time and he’s shown his true colors with the Davis campaigns (can you triangulate any harder than those campaigns? ), the Lieberman ’04 campaign (Oh, yes, it seems you can triangulate harder)  and then with the ridiculously jaded no negative campaign pledge that he pushed Westly to issue even as South was lashing out with attacks on Angelides through press releases, press conferences and interviews.

Another site that is worthy of comparison to this site is Frank Russo’s excellent California Progress Report.  Frank writes an informative site that dishes out a perspective that is consistently progressive, but in the voice of a number of different speakers.  His editorial control on the site makes him an excellent progressive website.  The site actually drifts more towards hard journalism than most blogs and would probably best be described as a California progressive news site with the inclusion of a comment feature.  Frank’s consistency in perspective and his knowledgeable policy analysis make it a valuable resource for California public policy that is accessible to all.

But the California Majority Report is clearly not a policy analysis site.  It features little analysis on policy at all.  The closest it comes is an interesting post by Bart Broome, a Mark Leno staffer, about the universal health care bill SB 840.  Other than that bill, everything else seems to be insider-ish to a whole new level.  A level which I previously thought impossible.  And that could be valuable, if it wasn’t merely for its own sake. The question which was featured on the page, “How can Phil Angelides win” was taken by Barry and South as to be just another opportunity to bash Phil without actually answering the question.  And while John Whitehurst makes some good suggestions for the campaign, not one of the contributors offers something that can be accomplished by somebody other than an insider.  If this site is directed only at insiders, why not just put up a newsletter in the capitol building?

That is not to say that all of the posts are of poor quality.  Some of them are very interesting precisely because they are from insiders.  Some are well written.  One example of both is a post by Steve Maviglio, one of the main publishers of the site, entitled “Some Notes From the War Room.”  It’s actually an interesting recap of the media bias towards Schwarzenegger as we approach the election.  One salient example from Steve’s post:

The New York Times ran a lengthy editorial praising Schwarzenegger’s faux support of greenhouse gas emissions, noting that he had signed legislation in 2002 authored by Democratic Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, putting on the books the nation’s first greenhouse emissions law. The Grey Lady refused to run several letters-to-the-editor that were submitted that noted the law was actually signed by Governor Gray Davis, not Schwarzenegger. Only days letter did it bury a correction of the facts.

That’s a good blog post.  It gives us some concrete examples of the issue i n an enlightening and conversational manner. Plus it bashes the media, always a common enemy of blogs.  I like it, but ultimately there’s not enough at the site to make it worth it for more than few dedicated California politicos. 

What could help this site become a blog?  Well, there are many ways to go, some of which directly contradict others.  First, exercise more editorial control.  Who’s site is this?  Is it Salazar’s? Maviglio’s? Or is it their hired hand’s site? I don’t know, as it’s hard to tell from a reading of the site.  The lack of editorial control leads to a lack of editorial direction.  I don’t know if this site is supposed to be helping Democrats get elected or if it’s just supposed to be an entertainment site, something like a defamer for Sacto pols.

The other suggestion I would give is to reach out to the grassroots and netroots.  With the exception of a few limited contact, the founders of this site made little effort to market this to what I expect is their target audience.  Oh sure, they did a great job if they were going to start up a rival to the Capitol Weekly, what with the press availability and the fancy insider party.  But if you want Internet readers, perhaps you should attempt to have an Internet outreach and Internet campaign to publicize the site (maybe even the most basic step of a blogroll so that you participate in the liberal blogosphere’s link economy).  Not to be unpleasant, but when political professionals fail to reach out to the single constituency that they say they’re trying to reach, it causes one to doubt their skill set generally.  Especially when the people that make up that constituency are among the easiest people on the planet to find and contact.  At any rate, that didn’t happen and they elected to use only traditional media for their launch campaign.  Oh, and Fleischman.  So, CA Majority Report, get to work on doing some serious connecting with the ‘roots.

So, back to my original question.  What is a progressive blog?  Well, this certainly is far from progressive, and it could use some help on the blog side too.  Perhaps it could benefit from a few less voices, especially some of the voices that have proven to be toxic to the Democratic Party. But, I’ll reserve judgment before heaping scorn upon the actual concept.  It needs some work, but perhaps it could become a resource.