Bizarre Political Ads, Part IV

When considering who to vote for as Governor, shouldn’t you consider the size of a man’s testicles? Or how sexy his (unseen) wife is as compared to María Conchita Alonso? Well, I defy you to watch this three-minute campaign spot and not suffer a moment of slackjawed astonishment.

…I mean…  Wow. This man holds elective office. In California. And given that former Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado announced today that he is not going to run at all, this guy is the only Republican in the race right now. Tim Donnelly is (surprise!) a favorite of the Tea Party crowd out here in the Golden State after having appeared on the Colbert Report to sing the national anthem in English, build four hundred yards of fence on the Mexican border, and proclaim “It’s a good day to be a vigilante.”

Assemblyman Donnelly might get some primary competition from able-to-be-taken-seriously-on-an-intellectual-level-but-come-on-who-the-hell-has-ever-heard-of-him Neel Kashkari, whose credentials include having overseen the TARP program for a grand total of eight admittedly stressful months at the very end of the Bush Administration and very beginning of the Obama Administration. Actually, on at least the more prominent of the social issues, I rather like Mr. Kashkari and I’m confident that he’s a fearsomely intelligent technocrat. Still, he’s never held elective office at all and accordingly it’s hard to imagine the majority leaders in the Legislature taking him any more seriously than they did Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But that’s all quite academic. Truly, we have become a one-party state, which is absolutely a phenomenal state of affairs for a Democratic incumbent with name recognition who seeks re-election. No Republican prospect has even yet been identified for any other statewide office except Secretary of State.

So, if I were keeping score, I’d give Governor Jerry Brown an IBB for 2014 after he is re-elected.

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50 thoughts on “Bizarre Political Ads, Part IV

  1. Postscript: I showed this ad to my friend who is a big ol’ Tea Partier. He said the word “unbelievable,” shook his head in dismay, and walked out of my office muttering something about the price of acreage in Nevada.

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  2. Can I just say how excited I am that we’re about to get into Bad Political Ad Season? It really has become my favorite part of national politics.

    The total sum of bad ads for 2013 was just that one guy who walked out of a lake and promised not to go to strip clubs. (Which was, I have to admit, pretty fishing awesome.) But it was really just a vast dessert of nothing after that.

    Thank you so much for posting this, Burt.

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  3. I’ve heard (Cali people correct me if I’m wrong) that since the Dems have taken full control things are being put mostly back in order in California. The budget is sorted out, the economy is recovering etc.. If that is the case perhaps the most viable GOP candidates are laying low waiting for a better opportunity or are trying to sort out what exactly they stand for and thus ceding the ground to the kooks?

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    • You are largely right about California improving but I suspect Republicans would see the matter differently.

      If you want my opinion, I think that the Republicans have largely become a party of kooks. Neel Kashkarri is getting coverage in the Chronicle but I don’t think the GOP will nominate him.

      The GOP is the Tea Party regardless of the state.

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      • The Colorado Republican Party has its own set of problems. Four years ago the Tea Party wing did indeed get their candidate for governor on the ballot; Tom Tancredo then ran as a third-party candidate and the combination had them within a couple of percentage points of losing their major-party status. In the 2012 legislative session when they held a one-set majority in the state House, the Speaker refused to let a same-sex civil unions bill come to floor (where it would have passed) despite several members of his caucus telling him that not letting it come to a vote would cost them their seats in November (and it did).

        This year the Governor’s Office and a US Senate seat are on the ballot. My perception is that the party is establishing an implicit “must favor rural interests” litmus test for candidates for those state-wide elections. That may not be straight out of the Tea Party, but it certainly draws from Tea Party darlings like Sarah Palin, whose “real America” seems to exclude anyone living in a town with more than 25,000 or so people.

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    • I’d say “since Jerry Brown is in charge”. As popular and competent as he is, there’s probably no percentage in losing to him and being branded a loser, as opposed to waiting until a open race in 2018.

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  4. I am starting to think that the regionalization of parties is dead. This has been a long time thought actually. You mentioned it as well in your post on the death of the Californian Republican Party IIRC.

    It used to be that Californians had more in common with other Calfornians despite political affiliation. Now Democratic people from California have more in common with Nebraska Democratic people than they do with Californian Republicans. Nebraska was picked as a random example. I think I can generally count on Ben Nelson more than I can count on the most liberal Republican. Lincoln Chaffee famously lost his Senate bid when the people of Rhode Island said we like you but not the R next to your name. He ditched the R and became their governor and eventually switched his I with a D.

    Armchair Fruedianism: Maybe this my East Coast blood but I see a lot of fake-macho posteuring in Republican politics especially in the West. The guy looks like any other nerdy and somewhat out of shape middle-aged office worker/IT guy but the black Stenson makes me think he feels bad about this and wants to be a cowboy in the days of the Wild West.

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    • On the fake macho stuff, yeah, it seems that way to me.

      Not that I find “real macho” stuff any better. But whatever. He looks soft, but without thriving in his softness, who covers it in pretense instead of turning it into strength.

      Add to that the “I arrived with {smallish number} dollars in my pocket” cliché, which is almost certainly false in detail. And then the big-balls gestures. Really? Seriously? I see guys like him on the subway all the time. They get real quiet and nervous.

      I gave up shortly after the balls part. The video was cringe inducing, literally embarrassing.

      In short, he’s a windbag who would shrivel and die if he had to face even half the scraps I’ve faced.

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    • Californian Republicans have always been a special breed. They’ve never really been much like Northeast Republicans despite the fact they are Republicans in a liberal state. Part of it is the fact that CA is a border state and CA has a much larger agricultural influence than MA or the tri-state area.

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      • Yeah, remember, Richard Nixon made his bones by redbaiting his opponent in a Senate race. Outside of Earl Warren, the California GOP has always been pretty conservative. The difference between the fact that the GOP could win races in California in the 90’s and now they can’t is pretty simple – Latino’s moved decisively against them after Prop 187, Asian’s moved decisively against the national GOP in the past decade or so, and the defense industry downsized in the state. As a result, the GOP lost many suburban and exurban seats, so the only people left in the state GOP in a position of power were the people from the Oklahoma parts of California. So, the state GOP began looking like the Oklahoma GOP.

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      • Southern California including LA used to be a very conservative place. When LA really started to grow in the early 20th century, it was mainly populated by migrants from the mid-West. Not exactly a liberal bunch. During the 1920s, it was a hotbed of Evangelical Christianity to. JBS and the impeach Warren movements were active in southern California.

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      • I wonder if you could do a study that compared the political attitudes of Republicans from Pacific Heights to the right-wing political attitudes of the agricultural barons of the Central Valley and Los Angeles. Perhaps the Bay Area had the Rockefeller Republicans of California.

        San Francisco was a Republican town until about the 1960s.

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    • I think it’s worth making an important distinction: California Republican citizens are more like California Democrats than Nebraska Republicans. It’s just the people at the helm that are acting like Nebraska Republicans. Plenty of my peers are (or were) republicans–and mostly vote for the democrats or stay at home on election day.

      I suspect the real reason is the open primary. There are a lot of registered independent in CA. they were allowed to vote in the democratic primaries, but not the republican primaries.–So the conservative-centrist voice wasn’t being catered to in the offering of republican candidates, but the liberal-centrist voice was being catered to by the democrats. Now that the primary system has changed so drastically, I suspect we’ll see a big shift in the sorts of republicans that run for office in most of the state.

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