Tag Archives: debates

Lincoln expert reveals thoughts on Obama and Romney debates

Most pundits, left and right, think Romney won the first round.  Even the President has conceded that he had a bad night.  

But Gene Griessman, author of the new book Lincoln and Obama believes Romney hurt himself in the first debate.  Griessman says Romney made mistakes that will linger after people quit talking about who was the most effective debater.

Griessman’s book examines parallels and similarities between the 16th and 44th presidents. (www.lincolnandobama.com)

Griessman sees a parallel between the Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858 and the 2012 debates between Obama and Romney.

Here are Griessman’s comments:

A lot of people thought Douglas won the debates with Lincoln.   We want to believe that Lincoln demolished Douglas. But that was not the perception at the time.  

Douglas was a formidable debater–confident and powerful. Even when Douglas misstated facts or when an opponent landed a blow on him, Douglas didn’t show it.  

But Douglas made some statements in those debates that upset many voters, and hurt him badly in his presidential race.

Romney, during the debate, was concise and self-confident. Obama was almost deferential.  Many said the same thing about the way Lincoln spoke to Douglas.

But Obama said nothing that will cost him votes, and Romney did.

For example, Romney attacked PBS and Big Bird.  That will certainly cost him  votes, maybe quite a few votes.

Millions of Americans love public television and public radio.  In fact, on November 3rd, PBS supporters will rally together for the Million Muppet March.

Romney’s comments reminded them that he and the Tea Party are the enemy of public television and public radio.

That is a problem for Romney, who already is in a world of trouble with Latinos, blacks, and women.

Douglas and Lincoln parallel Romney and Obama.  This next debate will reveal more similarities to explore.

Gene Griessman is a sociologist and creator of a one-man play “Lincoln Live.” An excerpt from the book and additional similarities are at www.lincolnandobama.com.

Debates? Bring It!

Gavin Newsom did what people commonly expect someone behind in the polls in a campaign to do – challenge the front-runner to a series of debates.  From his press release:

“Our state is in need of real reform-we have a broken system that must be fixed,” said Newsom. “And now that there are two candidates for governor, we owe the Democratic voters of California an opportunity to compare our visions and platforms side-by-side.”

Mayor Newsom faxed a letter to the Brown campaign with a list of suggested ground rules. The memo suggests 11 debates in total-one in each media market in California. Ten debates would focus on one specific issue each, while the final debate would be open to all relevant issues. Newsom for California also made the following format suggestions:

• 90 minutes in length

• Opening and closing statements

• Moderated, town hall-style debates with direct audience participation

• Segments with moderator questions, public questions, and candidate-to-candidate questions

• An opportunity for candidates to respond directly to any assertions made about their record

I’m sure the hard-bitten cynics in the dwindling press corps will see this as a transparent ploy for attention from a trailing candidate.  Nevertheless, my immediate reaction was: “A series of debates.  Wouldn’t that be nice?”

Phil Angelides and Steve Westly held a series of joint appearances and debates in the 2006 primary, and while that primary was in no way a model, it did help to clarify the positions of the candidates on various issues.  The same for the nearly endless series of debates around the 2008 Presidential primary.  I wouldn’t call them all helpful, depending on the peccadilloes of the moderators and the laziness of the questioning.  But in a large state predicated on TV ads and soundbites, 90-minute forums can at least offer a glimpse into the thinking of Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown.

By contrast, our recent statewide gubernatorial elections have been characterized by almost no debates between the major candidates.  In 2006, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Phil Angelides held only one debate.  During the recall, Arnold deigned to attend one debate during the recall, despite the other candidates holding several, and he neglected to debate Gray Davis, who asked for debates in the final weeks.  One could hardly sympathize with Davis, as he only held one debate with Bill Simon during their general election in 2002.  As California’s political media has shrunk, so have the opportunities for gubernatorial candidates to offer an unfiltered perspective on their plans for the state.

So while there are political reasons behind this, why not?  I know I have some curiosity about how Brown and Newsom see their roles and what kind of leadership they can offer, and so should everyone.  Fortunately, Brown has responded favorably if enigmatically to this request: “If Attorney General Brown decides to declare his candidacy for Governor, I’m sure he would support the notion of holding debates under terms to be mutually agreed upon by the candidates.”

Strickland-Jackson Debates Now Available for Viewing

There were two major debates held this month between Independent Green Republican Tony Strickland and Hannah-Beth Jackson: the first was put on by the right-wing Ventura County Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 3rd at Ventura College, and the second by the significantly more friendly Ventura County League of Women Voters on Oct. 10th at Cal Lutheran in Oxnard.

Both debates were supposed to have been shown live on local CAPS-TV here in Ventura County (and I was going to liveblog them), but were for technical reasons not broadcast or streamed live at the time.  The debates have finally been put in the can to air repeatedly here in Ventura County regularly until election day.  Fortunately, we live in the Internet age, and CAPS-TV has done us the service (finally!) of putting the debates on their website.

They’ve been encoded as WMV files, and thus cannot be embedded here.  If you’re interested in watching, please click on the following links:

Ventura Chamber of Commerce, Oct. 3rd

Ventura County League of Women Voters, Oct. 10th

I haven’t heard anything earth-shattering so far in listening to the debates, but I highly recommend that anyone interested in the race listen and highlight anything newsworthy they may see now that the debates are finally available to all.

In the meantime, I’ll have a photodiary up within a few days about canvassing this last Sunday for Hannah-Beth in Thousand Oaks.  Pretty good results, and there’s good reason to feel confident about this race.

CA-04: Debate And D-Trip Drops An Ad

The 4th District had a debate as well last night, the fifth and final of the campaign, and it was spirited.

Every scathing remark and harsh charge that’s gone back and forth in the congressional race between Republican Tom McClintock and Democrat Charlie Brown got one more airing Tuesday night.

Speaking at a forum sponsored by the South Nevada County Chamber of Commerce south of Grass Valley, McClintock was painted as a do-nothing career politician and Brown as a tax-loving big-government advocate.

And there was also some talk about issues, mixed in with the shots, though sometimes each answer was equal parts both.

It was the usual nonsense: McClintock wants to drill here and drill now.  McClintock wants no taxes and no government.  McClintock wants to privatize Social Security (yes, even now).  McClintock thinks Keebler elves can build the roads and bridges and a thimble-full of oil can power a Lexus.  He’s a magical thinker.  But I have to say that this was my favorite part, and not just because McClintock doesn’t know the meaning of the word “liquidity.”

McClintock also roundly criticized the recently passed Wall Street bailout package, saying the better route was to put liquidity into the market.

Brown countered that he supported the plan because something needed to be done, then made reference to recent Federal Election Commission reports that showed McClintock’s campaign in debt.

“You can’t even run your own campaign on a balanced budget, so I don’t trust you to run our nation’s budget,” Brown said.

Brown also hit McClintock over spending the past two years in Sacramento without getting one piece of legislation passed.

Brown took aim at McClintock’s record as a state legislator, making reference to a recent Sacramento Bee story that reported McClintock had a perfect record of getting no legislation passed in the last two years.

“This is about actual results, and not talking about what you want to do unless you propose something else you can get passed,” Brown said.

The debate is not going to have a major viewing audience.  But the airwaves will, and the DCCC has just dropped a long-awaited ad in the district.  It’s good.

That’s quite a lot for 30 seconds, but they pretty much cover California’s Alan Keyes and make him out to be the punchline that he is.

The question is whether or not McClintock has 10 cents to respond to this.

CA-46: Debate Fireworks and Ratf*#!kers for Rohrabacher

So Debbie Cook and Dana Rohrabacher debated yesterday afternoon.  I could write 1000 words about it, but I could also just provide you with this picture, which says it all:

As in, “I can’t believe I actually have to run for my seat.”

But if you want to know about the substance, Todd Beeton, who was there, has a writeup.

But even though crazy Dana is always likely to say some crazy shit, and he did, what I took away from the debate most of all was how unabashedly progressive Debbie Cook is and how lucky we would be to have her in Congress. This is a fairly red (albeit getting bluer every day) district, one where you might expect the Democratic challenger to moderate her views for the electorate. Nope, not Debbie. I’ll write about the debate more later, hopefully with video, but here are just three of the issues where Debbie shined today:

• On global warming, Cook, who is an energy expert, in response to Rohrabacher’s global warming denier nonsense, asserted “The debate is over. I can’t get into a discussion over climate change, to me it’s just a fact, we need to move on to solving our oil depletion problems.”

• On Proposition 8: “I strongly oppose Proposition 8, I am in favor of full marriage equality.”

• And on healthcare reform, Cook advocated for a single-payer Medicare for all model. “Health care is a right every American should enjoy.”

Yes, Crazy Dana denied global warming.  Again.  Not sure if he attributed it to dinosaur flatulence this time.  But here’s the actual discussion:

Rohrabacher went on to accuse those “who claim that humankind is changing the climate,” including Cook and his other opponents, of fear mongering.

“[They are] trying to stampede us into policies that will take us towards technologies that just deal with carbon dioxide and have nothing to do with personal health,” Rohrabacher said.

Cook, who led Huntington Beach in joining the U.S. Mayor’s Agreement on Global Warming, dismissed Rohrabacher’s claims, stating that the scientific debate over climate change had ended.

“Debating climate change is just a distraction from the real work that we all need to do,” Cook said. “Humans are overtaking the ability of the planet to sustain itself. Now, we need to move toward a green future because that’s the only thing that can save us.”

Apparently, Rohrabacher’s plan was to relate everything back to illegal immigration and the Wall Street bailout package, which he would have replaced with capital gains tax cuts and more deregulation, so I’m not seeing Mr. Populism in there.

Cook stayed on message and did not take the bait.  Here was her explanation.

After the debate, Cook explained why she refused to go after the incumbent.

“It’s not my style,” she said. “You don’t want to make the same mistake that the Republicans have made with McCain in going negative, negative, negative. I think it’s quite apparent that he’s done nothing for this district in 20 years. And if people don’t understand that, me telling them isn’t going to change anything.”

“He’s an a**,” Cook continued. “I can’t respond to him. He’s a liar.”

Meanwhile, I noticed something very interesting in Rohrabacher’s latest fundraising report:

Donald Segretti





Yes, that Donald Segretti.  The head of the “dirty tricks” division of the Nixon campaign, the guy who stole stationery from Ed Muskie and wrote all kinds of lies about possible Nixon opponents in 1972, alleging Scoop Jackson had an illegitimate child and Hubert Humphrey was guilty of sexual misconduct and Muskie had insulted Franch-Canadians.  By the way, Segretti was a co-chair of John McCain’s Presidential campaign in 2000.  And he was Karl Rove’s mentor in ratfucking.

Donald Segretti offered J. Timothy Gratz $100.00 per month, plus expenses, to co-ordinate these projects. Gratz agreed to work on the project and he was given an advance payment of $50.00. Gratz later told Anthony Ulasewicz that “although the whole incident seemed strange” he agreed to help “as most of the ideas he suggested seemed like they were worth doing anyway”. However, Gratz claimed he told Karl Rove, Chairman of the College Republican National Committee, about this dirty tricks campaign. We now know that Rove himself was part of Segretti’s campaign. In fact, he probably played a leading role in this dirty tricks operation. Rove had become friends with CIA asset, Robert F. Bennett in 1968. According to one report, Bennett became a “mentor of Rove’s”.

In 1970, Karl Rove used a false identity to enter the campaign office of Democrat Alan J. Dixon, who was running for Illinois State Treasurer, and stole 1000 sheets of paper with campaign letterhead. Rove then printed fake campaign rally fliers promising “free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing,” and distributed them at rock concerts and homeless shelters, with the effect of disrupting Dixon’s rally.

Nice company that Rohrabacher attracts.

Donate to Debbie Cook: Having the money to get her message out is all that stands between her and victory.

Campaign Update: CA-03, CA-04, CA-11, CA-45, CA-46

A lot to cover today:

General: I suspended the monthly ratings because it was ridiculously time-consuming and better to get the information out more timely, but in case you’re wondering, here is my impression of the top targets in California for the Congressional races as we stand with 22 days out.  My considered opinion is that no incumbent Democrat is in trouble, including Jerry McNerney.  As for the Republican-held seats:

1) CA-04: Lean Dem. Charlie Brown has been ahead in multiple polls and actually has a ground game, unlike Tom McClintock.

2) CA-03: Tilt Repub. Bill Durston’s poll showing the race as a dead heat raised a lot of eyebrows.  Unfortunately people discovered this race too late, but by Election Day I’ll bet that the registration numbers are virtually tied and there will not be an immediate call.  The smart money for progressives wanting to impact a race should go to Dr. Durston against Dan Lungren.

3) CA-46: Tilt Repub.  Debbie Cook is replicating the Loretta Sanchez strategy of ground mobilization that she used to defeat B-1 Bob Dornan.  We’ll see if she can pull it off against Crazy Dana Rohrabacher.

4) CA-26: Tilt Repub. Russ Warner has been doing a decent enough job and there’s a bit of outside support, but David Dreier has a wall of money.

5) CA-45: Lean Repub. This race has also been under the radar, but the district is either #1 or #2 in the COUNTRY for foreclosures, and affordable housing expert Julie Bornstein can stand to benefit from movement toward Democratic solutions on the economy in her race against Mary Bono Mack.

6) CA-50: Lean Repub. This is the permanent tease district in California, and despite Nick Leibham’s efforts to shake up the race, I’m not seeing Brian Bilbray taken down right now, especially because he’s likely to whip up populist support in his base with his vote against the bailout.

7) CA-52: Likely Repub. It was always going to be an uphill battle for Mike Lumpkin in his race against Duncan Hunter’s son running for Duncan Hunter’s old seat.  I’d like to see better signs here, but I’m coming up empty.

I rate everything else as Safe Republican at the moment.  I’ll do a legislative targeting in the next campaign update.  Now, to the news (on the flip):

• CA-03: Faced with a tie race, Dan Lungren’s campaign has decided that the smart thing to do is name calling.

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren’s (R-Gold River) congressional campaign said Bill Durston was mischaracterizing Lungren’s absence from a candidate forum last weekend.

On top of that, he referred to Durston, a Democrat from Gold River, as a “knucklehead.”

They actually don’t believe Durston’s viable.  Hilariously, Lungren gave out a bunch of tickets to a Bonnie Raitt concert in the district, and during the show Raitt endorsed Durston and urged people to vote.

This would be such a delicious upset, and the contours of it remind me exactly of Carol Shea-Porter’s improbable victory in New Hampshire in 2006.

• CA-04: The competitors actually showed up at a 4th District debate last week, and Charlie Brown got off a great line:

In the heavily Republican district, where he narrowly lost to Doolittle two years ago, Brown faced an audience question over whether he would “stand up to Nancy Pelosi” and her “liberal positions.” […]

While Brown said he disagreed with the Democratic house speaker from San Francisco on rights of gun owners, McClintock went after him.

“This issue of marching in lockstep with her on every major issue in the campaign speaks to the fact that she has targeted your congressional district as one of those seats they want to cement a permanent Democratic majority,” McClintock said. “And I think they’re counting on your vote, Charlie.”

Brown, a district resident in Roseville, answered back with a poke at McClintock for running in a district 400 miles north of his Senate seat in Thousand Oaks.

“Tom, if you want to run against Nancy Pelosi (in San Francisco),” Brown said, “that district is actually closer than this one to your home.”

• CA-45: Julie Bornstein, on the other hand, debated an empty chair recently in Rancho Mirage.  Mary Bono Mack has refused any effort to get her to debate Bornstein.  Perhaps she’s busy with her husband in Florida.

Bornstein came prepared. When she was given the opportunity to address the absentee incumbent in her closing remarks, Bornstein came out firing.

“This is a job interview,” she said, asking Bono Mack, “How is it that you feel that you do not need to meet with your constituents?”

“There is no sense of entitlement here,” Bornstein told voters, “that somehow your vote is already predetermined, that you owe it to a party or a person. One of the first lessons I learned when I became a working person is that you have to show up. You have to be here. And my question to my opponent is, where are you?”

They tracked Bono Mack down at a party during the forum.  Bornstein, who this weekend welcomed Barbara Boxer in for a fundraiser, parried a Republican attempt to protest that event in much the same way, by saying that she “welcomed debate.”  Often these debate-baiting tactics aren’t that successful, but I don’t think this is a good year to be an absentee incumbent.

• CA-11: Another duo got together for a little chat this weekend, Dean Andal and Jerry McNerney.  There’s some interesting stuff in there – Andal apparently thinks it’s “immoral” to support a safe and responsible withdrawal of troops from Iraq.  But what’s more interesting is that Andal finally, two weeks after the bailout, came up with an opinion on it.  He was opposed, in case you were wondering.  Talk about political cowardice, waiting that long to express an opinion.

• CA-46: Debbie Cook has a new ad.

I have to say that I kind of like it.  The “asteroids” thing is kind of tacked on, but the rest of it is sufficiently hard-hitting and affixes Dana Rohrabacher to the problems created by 8 long years of Republican failure.  The Cook campaign has Jim Dean from DFA coming into the district for a fundraising breakfast and precinct walk this Sunday.  More information here.

Debate Thread

We haven’t written much about the Presidential race here lately because California is largely out of reach – the FiveThirtyEight composite projects a 16-point win for Obama, and even the Stockton Record is endorsing Obama for President.  Nevertheless, Vets for Freedom and Pete Wilson are wasting $2.2 million dollars on an ad campaign trumpeting the success of the surge.  Way to gauge the public mood, guys.  By the way, the California Nurses Association is firing back with a vicious ad about John McCain, and they have the sense to run it in swing states where it might matter.

Which brings us to tonight’s VP debate.  I wrote a little debate preview over at my site.  My take – watch out for the hissy fit!  Watch out for Drudge running with some manufactured slight and all the networks going into 24-hour “Biden disrespected Palin” mode and Lynne Cheney walking out and saying “This is a baaaad man!”

Anyway, I’ll be trying to sort all of this out tonight with Brad Friedman of BradBlog, who’s guest-hosting a special “VP Debate” edition of the Mike Malloy Show immediately following the Biden-Palin matchup.  Also appearing:

MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel


PAMELA LEAVEY of The Democratic Daily, and;

PATRICK FREY of Patterico

Check your local listings for radio stations in your area.  You can also find a live stream here.

Campaign Update: CA-04, CA-11, CA-46, AD-26, AD-30

Here are some things happening around the state:

• CA-04: The most important debate evah is tonight!  No, not that Biden-Palin thing, it’s Calitics Match candidate Charlie Brown and Tom McClintock in Oroville.    Meanwhile, the air war has begun in earnest.  Brown is up with a 60-second ad featuring a local family as a third-party endorser, explaining their struggles to stay ahead in this economy and how Brown is the right choice.  I think it’ll play well (Brown has an American Jobs Plan which includes investments in infrastructure and green jobs, which is key to the needed reindustrialization of society).  On the other hand, Tom McClintock has decided to use Grandpa Fred.

“The financial crisis our nation faces is complicated, and I don’t think anybody’s got all the answers,” Thompson, a well-known actor and former U.S. senator from Tennessee, says in the commercial. “But I’ll tell you one thing. I’ll feel a lot more confident with Tom McClintock working on it, rather than some amateur.”

Shorter Grandpa Fred: “All this book-learnin’ and financializin’ is hard to figger.  Pick the guy who’s never voted Yes on a budget in his entire career.”

• CA-11: If you want to know why Dean Andal isn’t getting any traction in his race against Rep. Jerry McNerney, this quote says it all:

Elected in 2006, McNerney is in a better position for reelection than many expected. But he sits in a district that gave President Bush 54 percent of the vote in 2004, a sure sign that the freshman Democrat ought to be looking over his shoulder.

His Republican opponent, former state Assemblyman Dean Andal, may not be in a position to capitalize, though. The Lodi News-Sentinel reported that an Andal spokesman took the curious position that “it would be inappropriate of Andal to comment on the bailout bill, because he is not in office.”

Yes, it would be terrible to actually give your viewpoints on national issues during a political campaign.

• CA-46: You know that Calitics Match candidate Debbie Cook is gaining traction in her race against nutjob Dana Rohrabacher by this – Rohrabacher has gone negative.  He’s sent an attack mailer that takes a Cook comment about gas prices out of context and really goes to great lengths to greenwash himself.  He mentions his sponsorship of a bill to completely eliminate environmental review for solar projects, which is irresponsible but which he is trying to cynically use as proof of his green energy bona fides.  It also calls Cook an extremist liberal who opposes drilling.

What’s hysterical is that Rohrabacher sent the mailer to everyone in the district but Democrats, meaning that Greens got it.  And I’m told by the Cook campaign that they received numerous calls from Green Party members saying that they were voting for Debbie BECAUSE of the mailer!

In other news, Rohrabacher is certifiably crazy.

According to a September 25, 2008, Pasadena Weekly article by Carl Kozlowski, Rohrabacher believes that the Los Angeles Police Department has for 40 years hidden the fact that Sirhan Sirhan, the lone man convicted of shooting Kennedy, worked as part of a “real conspiracy” of Arabs […]

In early 2007–39 years after the killing and right around the time that he blamed global warming on dinosaur flatulence, Rohrabacher decided to solve his murder mystery for “the Kennedy family.”

Anyone familiar with Rohrabacher knows this story is now headed for unadulterated, wacky bliss.

At some point, Sirhan sent Summer Reese, one of his lawyers, a letter telling her that “a Diana was coming to see him.”

Reese told Kozlowski, “Sirhan didn’t know it was the congressman because his visitor was presented as a woman.”

Rohrabacher. Undercover. In drag. Using the name Diana?

Perhaps this sheds light on why ex-Congressman Bob Dornan (R-Garden Grove) liked to call Rohrabacher “a fruitcake.”

I actually know Carl, maybe I’ll track him down and interview him about this.

• AD-26: I’ve noticed a lot of Republicans afraid to debate this year.  Here’s another example.

Stretching from Turlock to Stocton, the 26th Assembly District is fairly even in voter registration and is a target on both party’s lists. So why would one candidate take a pass on a critical opportunity to face his opponent and make his case to voters? That is the question being asked by Democratic candidate John Eisenhut who was at a League of Women Voters debate in Modesto Friday night. His Republican opponent, Bill Berryhill, had a “scheduling conflict.”

In a conversation with Eisenhut the night after the debate he said that Berryhill didn’t want to debate him. This in spite of Berryhill being quoted by the Modesto Bee saying,

“People deserve some dialogue and to know where we both stand.”

• AD-30: Fran Florez runs against Sacramento  in this solid new ad.  Is she also running against her own son, State Sen. Dean Florez?

Campaign Update: CA-11, AD-80, SD-19, AD-15, AD-30, LA Board of Supes

Here’s what’s happening on the campaign trail.

• CA-11: Apparently trying to win some kind of award for the worst attack website in history, Jon Fleischman of the Flash Report (a terribly designed website in its own right) has put together One Term Is Enough, in all of its way-too-large masthead, ridiculously-spare with no action items or columns, design out of Quark X-Press glory.  Man, that’s ugly.  And I think the focus on Jerry McNerney’s earmarks, given the summer of scandal that Dean Andal has lived through which is entirely about a construction contract with a community college (if he was in Congress, that would be, basically, an earmark), is kind of silly.  Meanwhile, McNerney is up with his first ad of the cycle, focusing on his work on behalf of troops and veterans.

• AD-80: As soyinkafan noted, Manuel Perez and Gary Jeandron had a debate where Jeandron stated his support for a tax increase in Imperial County.  That’s not likely to help him with the conservative base, but clearly Jeandron understands that he has to move to left if he has any chance to win this seat.  The Palm Springs Desert Sun has a debate report here.

• SD-19: Tony Strickland’s latest endorsement is Erin Brockovich, of all people.  However, this could be less of a reach across the aisle as it appears.

Ventura County Star columnist Timm Herdt got Strickland’s Democratic opponent Hannah-Beth Jackson on the phone, who said she was “a little surprised” by Brockovich backing her opponent.

While Brockovich says she is a Democrat in the ad, she writes on her blog that she’s ready to leave the party and become an independent.

“I am ready to turn because both parties are acting foolish and judgmental and attacking,” she writes.

She also has kind words for GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

“I am proud to be a member of the same Strong Woman’s Club that Sarah Palin is in.” Brockovich writes.

• AD-15: As has been noted, Joan Buchanan released her first campaign ad of the cycle.  Her opponent Abram Wilson responded with his own ad, also biographical in nature, and his campaign has questioned the Buchanan spot and her commitment to fiscal responsibility.  I suppose signing a “no-tax” pledge is the height of responsibility, then.

• AD-30: We were all expecting it, and now Nicole Parra has officially endorsed Republican Danny Gilmore in the election to replace her.  This is a family fight moved into the political sphere – the Parra-Florez feud is well-known.  

Parra’s support of Danny Gilmore angered Democratic Party leaders, but comes as no surprise because she has been praising Gilmore for months.

“I will endorse Danny Gilmore in the near future and I will campaign for him and do commercials,” Parra said in an interview. Gilmore, a retired California Highway Patrol officer from Hanford, is running against Democrat Fran Florez, mother of state Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, a longtime Parra rival.

• LA Board of Supes: Turns out that not only is Bernard Parks turning to Republicans to help him get elected over progressive State Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas, but for ten years he was a member of the American Independent Party (!).

According to voter registration forms certified by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder:

Bernard Parks left the Democratic Party and registered as an American Independent on February 12, 1992 – just in time to miss the opportunity to vote for President Bill Clinton.

He registered again as an American Independent on August 9, 1996.

President George Bush was elected in November 2000 – but Parks still wouldn’t become a Democrat for nearly a year and a half.

Parks was fired as Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department on April 9, 2002. Shortly thereafter, he began to prepare to run for Los Angeles City Council, and re-registered as a Democrat on May 30, 2002. Less than a year later, he was elected to the City Council.

That is very strange, especially for an African-American to sign up with a party which is the legacy of George Wallace.

Odds and Sods 4-23

Post-Pennsylvania and… well, nothing much different actually.  But next time, for sure!  Meanwhile, here are some California-centric notes:

• The California School Employees Association made their endorsements for the June primary.  In addition to Migden, they strike of an aversion to go out on a limb.  They only endorsed one Congressional candidate in a Republican-held seat (Charlie Brown), and they opted out of a lot of contested primaries in the legislative seats as well.  Manuel Perez did get the endorsement in the 80th AD, however (he is a school board member, so not a big shock).

• We don’t get into a lot of rural issues on the site, probably because of the bias toward writers here in urban environments.  But this salmon fishing ban is a big deal along the Mendocino coast.  This actually goes back to the Klamath fish kill in the beginning of the decade and Darth Cheney’s efforts to ensure that.  I think there are going to be a lot of angry fishermen wanting answers this fall.

• I keep forgetting to write about the State Senate primary in my own backyard of SD-23, between Fran Pavley  and Lloyd Levine.  Here’s some background on the race to succeed Sheila Kuehl.  I actually attended an environmental forum with these two last week and found them both to be really solid, with different strengths.  While Pavley is an astonishingly effective lawmaker – she probably has her name on more far-reaching climate change legislation than anyone in the entire country – Levine really seems to understand the nature of the fight in Sacramento and how best to bring about sweeping change.  I’m not going to be disappointed on June 3, regardless of the winner.  We’re hoping to get both Pavley and Levine on a future Calitics Radio show.

• Here’s a user-created video of our debate protest at ABC last week.  We have our own video set for release as well.

• Adam Liptak in The New York Times today: “The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.”

Yet we must remain “tough on crime,” even though rises and falls in the crime rate are not correlative to imprisoning people (Canada’s rate goes up and down roughly at the same time ours does, without a corresponding increase in the prison population).

• John Yoo won’t talk to the House Judiciary Committee but it’s really not his fault, you see:

In a letter, Yoo’s lawyer told Conyers he was “not authorized” by DOJ to discuss internal deliberations.

“We have been expressly advised by the Office of Legal Counsel of the United States Department of Justice that Professor Yoo is not authorized to discuss before your Committee any specific deliberative communications, including the substance of comments on opinions or policy questions, or the confidential predecisional advice, recommendations or other positions taken by individuals or entities of the Executive Branch,” Yoo’s lawyer, John C. Millian, wrote in a letter to Conyers.

As we all know, the executive branch can ignore subpoenas and prevent Congressional oversight.  Why, Yoo wrote it in a memo!  But he can’t discuss it.  Because the executive branch follows the law.  That he wrote.

Round and round we go…