Senator becomes highest-profile endorsement of measure to fix broken malpractice system
by Brian Leubitz
In a perfect world, we certainly wouldn't be discussing medical malpractice reform. However, California's law on the subject is far from the perfect world. For many victims of medical malpractice, it is cost prohibitive to seek justice. The costs of trial become too expensive to pursue the case, and many victims find it difficult to find an attorney that can handle the case. There are a litany of other reasons MICRA is broken, but you can read more about MICRA in my previous post on the subject http://www.calitics.com/diary/...
The short story being that the $250,000 cap on non-economic damages hasn't been adjusted for inflation for over 35 years, and that cap means that many victims won't be able to get the justice that they need. Specifically, cases that are brought by people unable to show a steady stream of income are punished by this hard cap. So, children, senior citizens and the disabled are put in a real position of danger.
Now, to be clear, there are some good organizations on the other side of this issue. Planned Parenthood drew fire on its decision to oppose MICRA reform. Their logic on their position sounds good but the facts just don't back up the position. Essentially, Planned Parenthood argues that changing the hard caps on malpractice damages will reduce doctor supply and vastly increase malpractice insurance. But the real data show that neither of these suppositions to be correct. Again, I point you to my previous writing or to the LA Times' Michael Hiltzik on the subject:
Over the last 22 years, California malpractice insurers have paid out in claims an average of only 36 cents of every premium dollar they've collected, according to Insurance Department statistics. For comparison's sake, for all property and casualty insurance lines the figure is 62 cents; for passenger auto insurers alone it's more than 60 cents.(LA Times / Michael Hiltzik)
So, yeah, the reason that malpractice insurance premiums are rising? That would be a massive profit level for the insurance companies. But I digress.
The supporters of the Troy and Alana Pack Act recently submitted nearly 850,000 signatures to get their bill on the November ballot. Essentially the measure would adjust for inflation since the date of the 250,000 cap and permanently index the cap to inflation. It was something that was originally included in the MICRA legislation, but cut later in the legislative process. The Pack Act now has a big name supporter: Senator Barbara Boxer.
"I will never forget meeting a child who was severely disfigured and forever confined to a wheelchair because of medical malpractice," Senator Boxer stated. "I was stunned to learn how unfair California law is in terms of compensating these patients and their families, and I committed to helping the victims of these tragedies. That is why I am proud to support the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act, which will reform our judicial system to hold accountable those responsible for so much pain and suffering and ensure that patients and their families get the justice they deserve."
Seven year old Alana Pack and ten year old Troy Pack were killed on a roadside by a doctor-shopping drug addict who ran them over after being overprescribed thousands of narcotics at Kaiser and falling asleep at the wheel. Their father Bob Pack authored the Pack Act to increase accountability for medical negligence and substance abuse.
As you have probably heard by now, HR 1837, the "Salmon Extinction Bill" sponsored by Congress Devin Nunes (R-CA), has passed the House of Representatives. And while we know that both Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer are opposed to the bill, we have heard that Congressman Jeff Denham is trying to negotiate a compromise with Senator Feinstein.
"This bill would allow for full pumping of water exports at the Delta pumps, strip away water rights from Delta area landowners, and dismember the San Joaquin River Restoration Act - a component of Delta restoration," according to Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta.
The bill is backed by the corporate welfare/big government Republicans and Democrats who want to steal northern California water and send it to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley that have become rich off years of feeding off the federal trough of subsidized water and agricultural subsidies.
This is a move by the wealthy 1% to take water from the 99%, including Delta residents, family farmers, fishermen, Tribal members and mom-and-pop businesses, as well as from recovering Central Valley salmon and imperiled Delta fish populations. This water grab amounts to a bailout for corporate welfare bums at great expense to fish, the environment and the people of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
Restore the Delta is asking you to sign on by noon on Monday to their letter expressing our appreciation to the Senators for their continued opposition to this bill. Within this letter we also reaffirm why we are against this legislation.
If you have already signed on to this draft, you do not need to resend your information.
"To sign to this effort, please send your name, title, and organization/business name (if applicable) to Jessica [at] restorethedelta.org. We will then add your name as a signature to the letter," Barrigan Parrilla urged.
The House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday approved H.R. 1837, a bill that would eliminate environmental protections for the Delta and Central Valley rivers, secure more water for corporate agribusiness on the San Joaquin Valley's west side and upend water rights in California.
Congressional Republicans and agribusiness interests celebrated the Committee's passage of the legislation as a "historic North-South compromise that will protect all users," while Northern California Congressional Democrats, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Delta advocates slammed the bill as a "job killer" and "water grab."
The bill's author, Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-21), claimed in a statement that the legislation, the "Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act," "will restore the flow of water to farms and rural communities, while protecting the property rights of all Californians. It will also make unnecessary the construction of a $12 billion peripheral canal to bypass the Bay-Delta."
"I commend the hard work of Chairman Doc Hastings, Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock, and Rep. Jeff Denham. Their efforts are greatly appreciated by the people who have suffered under government-imposed water shortages," said Nunes.
"This action sends a strong message to the people of California that House Republicans are fighting to deliver water, jobs, and security to their communities. Our work today comes after years of negligence by Democratic super-majorities and is the first step in keeping our promise to Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley residents," Nunes contended.
"This bill is a remarkable North-South compromise that will protect all water users. Those who continue to obstruct the bill are being exposed for their extreme views. This is particularly true of California's Senators who have yet to offer any alternatives to H.R. 1837. Feinstein and her allies can kill H.R. 1837, they can write their own bill and pass it or they can continue to do nothing. Whatever they choose, they will have to defend their position to the people of California. There will be no more hiding," Nunes concluded.
Following the markup of HR 1837 in the House Natural Resources Committee, Congressman John Garamendi (CA-10), a former Deputy Secretary of the Interior, blasted the bill's passage in a statement.
"HR 1837 turns upside down 150 years of California water law and the allocation of water," said Garamendi. "The bill removes all environmental protections for the Delta and Central Valley rivers while allowing destructive exports of water from the Delta to San Joaquin Valley water districts."
However, he noted that "one section of the bill, Title 4, has merit in that it affirms existing water rights and area of origin rights in Northern California. Unfortunately, this section was combined with too much bad policy for the bill to receive my support."
"The Committee refused to accept my amendment that would have authorized an expedited process to construct Sites Reservoir, a critical off-stream reservoir. Instead, a substitute amendment prohibits the Bureau of Reclamation from working with the Sites Project Joint Powers Authority, a regional consortium of local water agencies and counties united to develop the project.
"I will continue working with my colleagues at the federal, state, and local levels to craft a water policy that carries out the twin goals of California law, water reliability and ecosystem restoration," he concluded.
In a letter to the Committee on Natural Resources prior to the vote, Garamendi and Representatives Mike Thompson (CA-1), George Miller (CA-7), Doris Matsui (CA-5), Jerry McNerney (CA-11), Jackie Speier (CA-12), Mike Honda (CA-15) and Lynn Woolsey (CA-6) wrote that the bill "grossly dismisses the best available science, would cause job losses, repeals environmental protections, damages local tourism, hurts fishers and farmers, and should be rejected."
"This legislation is nothing more than an attempt by well-funded south-of-Delta water contractors to steal water from the North with no regard for the fishers, farmers, families and businesses who depend on the Delta for their livelihoods" said Thompson. "This bill puts politics ahead of a half-century of established science, guts environmental protections and kills local jobs. It should be rejected, and solutions to California's water challenges should be based on sound science so that our Delta communities, wildlife and environment are not harmed."
"Last summer, we said that this bill would do serious damage to California's water future," said Miller. "Republicans took their extreme bill behind closed doors for the rest of the year, tinkered with it, and emerged with an equally radical and damaging bill. Their bill undermines water policy throughout the west, including state policy, federal policy, and court approved settlements."
Delta advocates were outraged by the passage of the bill through the Committee. ""Congressman Devin Nunes and Congressman Jeff Denham will not be happy until they have grabbed each and every last drop of water from the Delta for their 1% corporate agribusiness masters," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. For more information, go to: http://www.restorethedelta.org.
The bill will next go to the Full House for a floor vote. If the House approves it, it will then will go to the Senate where it would face strong opposition, since both of California's Senators are opposed to the bill.
The legislation was passed as the Brown and Obama administrations are fast-tracking the construction of the peripheral canal through the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). The peripheral canal or tunnel is designed to facilitate increased exports of water from the Delta to corporate agribusiness and southern California.
The canal is likely to lead to the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, Sacramento splittail, green sturgeon and southern resident killer whales, which feed on the salmon.
According to a report published by the AFL-CIO, online piracy costs content providers (mostly TV networks and movie studios) a lot of money. Around $20 billion annually. That, in turn, costs a staggering number of industry-related jobs - over 140,000 by some estimates.
As a freelance film editor, this scares the hell out of me. If the networks and studios I work for don't make money, sooner or later I'm out of a job. And if I'm out of a job long enough, I lose my union health benefits, my pension, the whole ball of wax.
I know it scares the hell out of my union, IATSE, judging by numerous emails warning how my livelihood is in grave danger from "foreign rogue sites" dedicated to wholesale theft of the intellectual property of my employers.
On the flip side, there were petitions filing my inbox from internet watchdog groups urging me to tell Congress to "preserve free speech", and that if I didn't, the "internet as we know it" would cease to exist.
Now, if you don't know what they're talking about, you're not not alone. Until I started getting these emails, I too was blissfully ignorant about the alphabet-soup of anti-piracy legislation currently grinding it's way through the bowels of Congress - the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate.
But as I researched the bills and clawed my way though mountains of evidence on both sides predicting internet Armageddon, I quickly realized online piracy (and the solutions being put forth to curb it) is something we don't have the luxury to ignore. Because what happens in the next month could profoundly affect many aspect of our lives, not just how we interact online.
So I'll make you a deal: If you'll stick around to read this, I'll spare you the hyperbole and techno-speak and explain what I've learned in plain English.
Barbara Boxer won by about nine points, but that's not for lack of trying of the right-wing interests to boot her out. Over at California Watch, Chase Davis takes a look at the IEs against Boxer:
The Supreme Court's landmark Citizens United ruling earlier this year helped major corporations and other interest groups spend more than $5 million on California's Senate race without disclosing their contributors, according to independent spending reports analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Ten months ago, when the high court handed down Citizens United, effectively allowing businesses and trade groups to contribute unlimited sums to federal elections, the punditocracy was eager to predict an unprecedented flood of secret interest-group cash that would soon flow into competitive elections nationwide.
Many of those predictions have come true. In the months since, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has emerged as exhibit A in the ruling's predicted consequences, contributing millions of dollars to primarily Republican candidates while taking advantage of new legal covers to keep the sources of its contributions secret. (CalWatch)
In all, there was about eleven million dollars of these direct campaign ads lobbed up against Boxer. You can be the judge on effectiveness, perhaps they did move the needle a little bit. But in the end, I guess it is just as well that this money was spent in California, rather than other races. The Chamber's five million bucks in secret money are the most egregious, and there should be disclosure rules, but the money isn't going to slow without some sort of constitutional amendment to bring our democracy back to, you know, democracy rather than plutocracy.
But in California we have essentially had the Citizens United Scheme for years now. While we have a more robust disclosure system than the federal government now has, we have allowed essentially unlimited independent expenditures in state races. This is of course the reason that you see many races where IEs outspend both major candidates. It is why we have been stuck with a legislature dominated by one interest group or another dating back to Hiram Johnson's era.
It hasn't worked particularly well in California, and Citizens United only added to the inordinate power of the wealthy. With the DISCLOSE act flailing in Congress, don't expect any major changes anytime soon.
AKA California's Good Senator. Boxer is a reliable liberal in a senate full of utterly useless corporate centrists, and quite unafraid to make waves in the service of doing the right thing. In a career that has mostly been dominated by Republican control of the senate, Boxer has distinguished herself by pushing back against a decade of wingnuttery. By contrast, I knew about Fiorina's awful reputation in silicon valley a decade before she decided to make a vanity run for senate, just from techies I knew heaping scorn upon the CEO who drove HP into the ground and then walked away with millions. Thank goodness Boxer's a formidable campaigner, and Fiorina appears to be headed for the dusty place where all the gazillionaire right wing vanity candidates go after they lose, right next to Michael Huffington.
House of Representatives
CA-01 - Mike Thompson
Mike's generally a pretty good guy, and there have been no groaners like the credit card/bankruptcy bill. this time around. Mike's candidate-for-life in that district, but he does a good job representing his people, and I respect that.
CA-02 - Jim Reed
This district is so gerrymandered for Republicans it isn't funny, but I have to applaud Reed for making a serious hard run at the execrable Wally Herger, who isn't even bothering to campaign this time around, much less debate Reed.
CA-03 - Ami Bera
I am thrilled to see Democrats finally start to compete east of the Carquinez, and Bera is certainly giving Lungren a run for his money. As a once and possibly future denizen of the 3rd CD, I really hope Bera knocks off that right wing SoCal carpetbagger. The 80 corridor has changed, and deserves a good congressman.
With even Meg Whitman endorsing Jerry Brown for Governor, the Senate race is the most important race in the State we must focus on. Come out today to meet Boxer at 2pm at Plummer Park and make some calls to friends and family urging them to vote for Barbara Boxer today!
This is the last part of a series of posts analyzing competitive Senate elections in blue states. It is the second section of two posts focusing on the greatest state in the union (otherwise known as California). The first part of the series can be found here.
Southern California (SoCal, in short) is where the battle for California will be won or lost. Ms. Fiorina must accomplish two tasks in the region.
First, she must clean the clock in the suburban counties outside Los Angeles.
Incumbents are in boldface. In the case of open seats, the party of the retiring incumbent is listed without boldface.
AI: American Independent
PF: Peace and Freedom
SW: Socialist Workers
Senator:: Barbara Boxer (D) vs. ex-HP CEO Carly Fiorina (R), Duane Roberts (G), Gail Lightfoot (L), Edward Noonan (AI), Marsha Feinland (PF), James Harris (SW-W/I)
Even after Arnold decided against running, and long before "Coakley" became a verb, I expected Boxer to be in a tough fight in 2010. Fortunately, she is no slacker and knows how to run a tough campaign, hitting her opponent where it hurts (in this case, on attacking Fiorina's praise of outsourcing and using former HP employees). She is polarizing, but fortunately the Democratic base in California is big enough for her to win even if she loses independent voters by single to low-double digits.
Outlook: Lean Boxer
U.S. HOUSE (Composition: 34 Democrats, 19 Republicans)
CA-03 (Sacramento suburbs): Dan Lungren (R) vs. Dr. Ami Bera (D), Art Tuma (L), Lerry Leidecker (AI), Mike Roskey (PF)
Registration: 40.31% GOP, 37.55% DEM, 17.72% DTS, 4.42% other
Profile: This is one of the Democrats' best chances of picking off a GOP-held seat in the House. This suburban Sacramento seat was strongly Republican early in the decade before rapidly swinging left to become an Obama-voting district in 2008, also nearly catching Lungren off-guard. Bera has outraised Lungren every quarter this cycle, and don't be surprised to see this as one of the closest races in a GOP-held seat.
10/23/2010 Outlook: Toss-up/tilt Lungren
CA-11 (San Joaquin County and parts of East Bay): Jerry McNerney (D) vs. attorney David Harmer (R), David Christensen (AI)
Registration: 39.45% DEM, 39.00% GOP, 17.54% DTS, 4.01% Other
Profile: This was expected since the end of the last cycle to be another challenging race for McNerney, especially after Harmer won the primary. Harmer, as you may remember, made the 2009 special in the more Democratic CA-10 a 10-point race against Garamendi. Fortunately for Harmer, the 11th is much less Democratic and he now has more name recognition. Unfortunately for Harmer, the race in CA-11 will be in a general election rather than an off-year special, so turnout is guaranteed to be higher. Also, the trends in registration are more in McNerney's favor, flipping to a Dem advantage in registration for the first time, mirroring the trend to the Dems statewide in registration.
10/23/2010 Outlook: Lean McNerney
CA-18 (Upper Central Valley): Dennis Cardoza (D) vs. agribusinessman Mike Berryhill (R)
CA-20 (Fresno, part of Bakersfield): Jim Costa (D) vs. farmer Andy Vidak (R)
CA-18 Registration: 49.85% DEM, 31.81% GOP, 14.32% DTS, 4.02% Other
CA-20 Registration: 51.45% DEM, 31.02% GOP, 12.64% DTS, 4.89% Other
Profile: Not on anybody's radar screens until about a month ago, the Central Valley is now the source of two more competitive races, with water a hot issue here and the Republicans harping the issue nonstop. The 18th is less Democratic than the 20th, owing to the lack of a major urban center, having gone for Bush narrowly in 2004, but Cardoza is taking his tougher-than-expected reelection more seriously, so I expect Costa to have a slightly tougher reelection than Cardoza.
CA-18 10/23/2010 Outlook: Likely Cardoza
CA-20 10/23/2010 Outlook: Lean to Likely Costa
CA-44 (Riverside, Corona, San Clemente): Ken Calvert (R) vs. educator Bill Hedrick (D)
Registration: 43.11% GOP, 33.87% DEM, 18.38% DTS, 4.64% Other
Profile: One of the out-of-nowhere near-upsets of 2008, Hedrick is back for a rematch. Calvert is trying to avoid being caught asleep at the wheel again, and Hedrick is surprisingly lacking in the money department despite coming very close last time, so I don't like his chances this time.
10/23/2010 Outlook: Lean to Likely Calvert
CA-45 (Most of Riverside County): Mary Bono Mack (R) vs. Palm Springs mayor Steve Pougnet (D), Bill Lussenheide (AI)
Registration: 41.29% GOP, 38.31% DEM, 16.17% DTS, 4.23% Other
Profile: Democrats got a top-tier recruit here in the openly gay mayor of Palm Springs. Bono Mack has taken heat for her vote against repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, even though her district has the highest proportion of gays of any Republican-held district, and Lussenheide is challenging her from the right, on some of her "insufficiently conservative" votes such as cap-and-trade. I expect Pougnet to perform better than Bornstein last time, though still come up short.
10/23/2010 Outlook: Likely Bono Mack
CA-47 (Anaheim, Santa Ana): Loretta Sanchez (D) vs. Assemblyman Van Tran (R), Ceci Iglesias (I), Gary Schank (I)
Registration: 46.90% DEM, 30.90% GOP, 18.67% DTS, 3.53% Other
Profile: Like the Central Valley Dem districts, the Orange County Dem district, which also voted for Bush like CA-18, is now a hot race after being off most radar screens until about a month ago. Sanchez didn't help herself by the gaffe "The Vietnamese are after my seat", which I thought was really boneheaded, considering all that she had done for them in the past. I still expect Sanchez to win, though by less than against Tan Nguyen from 2006.
10/23/2010 Outlook: Lean to Likely Sanchez
CA-48 (Central Orange County, including Irvine): John Campbell (R) vs. Irvine Councilwoman Beth Krom (D), Mike Binkley (L)
Registration: 44.41% GOP, 28.99% DEM, 22.45% DTS, 4.15% Other
Profile: Once expected to be a top-tier race, this district fell off the radar screen as the touted former mayor of Irvine Beth Krom has lagged on the money front.
10/23/2010 Outlook:Likely Campbell
CA-01 (North Coast): Mike Thompson (D) CA-02 (Northern Sacramento Valley): Wally Herger (R) CA-04 (Northeast, including Tahoe): Tom McClintock (R) CA-05 (Sacramento): Doris Matsui (D) CA-06 (Northern SF Bay): Lynn Woolsey (D) CA-07 (Northeast SF Bay): George Miller (D) CA-08 (San Francisco): Nancy Pelosi (D) CA-09 (Berkeley, Oakland): Barbara Lee (D) CA-10 (Inner East SF Bay): John Garamendi (D) CA-12 (Lower SF Peninsula): Jackie Speier (D) CA-13 (Southern East Bay): Pete Stark (D) CA-14 (Silicon Valley): Anna Eshoo (D) CA-15 (Santa Clara, Cupertino): Mike Honda (D) CA-16 (San Jose): Zoe Lofgren (D) CA-17 (Northern Central Coast): Sam Farr (D) CA-19 (Yosemite, part of Fresno): Jeff Denham (R) - vacated by George Radanovich (R) CA-21 (Tulare): Devin Nunes (R) CA-22 (Bakersfield): Kevin McCarthy (R) CA-23 (Southern Central Coast): Lois Capps (D) CA-24 (Inner Santa Barbara/Ventura): Elton Gallegly (R) CA-25 (Palmdale, Big Empty): Buck McKeon (R) CA-26 (Northeastern L.A. suburbs): David Dreier (R) CA-27 (Western San Fernando Valley): Brad Sherman (D) CA-28 (Eastern San Fernando Valley): Howard Berman (D) CA-29 (Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena): Adam Schiff (D) CA-30 (Malibu, Beverly Hills): Henry Waxman (D) CA-31 (Hollywood): Xavier Becerra (D) CA-32 (Covina, Baldwin Park): Judy Chu (D) CA-33 (Culver City): Karen Bass (D) - vacated by Diane Watson (D) CA-34 (Downtown L.A.): Lucille Roybal-Allard (D) CA-35 (South Central): Maxine Waters (D) CA-36 (Beach Cities): Jane Harman (D) CA-37 (South Central, Long Beach): Laura Richardson (D) CA-38 (Southeastern L.A. suburbs): Grace Napolitano (D) CA-39 (Southeastern L.A. County): Linda Sánchez (D) CA-40 (Northern Orange County): Ed Royce (R) CA-41 (Most of San Bernardino County): Jerry Lewis (R) CA-42 (Chino, Brea): Gary Miller (R) CA-43 (Ontario, San Bernardino): Joe Baca (D) CA-46 (Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Palos Verdes): Dana Rohrabacher (R) CA-49 (Temecula, Oceanside): Darrell Issa (R) CA-50 (Northern San Diego suburbs): Brian Bilbray (R) CA-51 (Imperial County, southern SD suburbs): Bob Filner (D) CA-52 (Eastern San Diego suburbs): Duncan D. Hunter (R) CA-53 (San Diego): Susan Davis (D)
This is the part of a series of posts analyzing competitive Senate elections in blue states. It will focus on California. Because California is such a big and complicated state, it will have two sections - of which this is the first. The second part can be found here.
California, Section 1
In the greatest state of the union, a fierce senatorial battle is brewing. Former HP executive Carly Fiorina is mounting a tough challenge to incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer. In an anti-Democratic national environment, polls show the race close and competitive. This post will examine the obstacles Ms. Fiorina will face as she seeks to overcome California's formidable Democratic geography.
As America's most populous state, California contains a number of distinct regions. This post, and the one following, will examine each.
Fasten your seatbelts: EMILY's List is going all out in these last two weeks before the election for Sen. Barbara Boxer, one of our strongest progressive advocates. Our WOMEN VOTE! project in California is hitting the airwaves and reaching out to women voters to spread the truth about Carly Fiorina: she'd be disastrous for women and for California.
This race is a dead heat for one reason and one reason alone: women voters don't have the information they need about Carly Fiorina. From her courtship of the Tea Party and Sarah Palin to her catastrophic tenure at HP - and her unwillingness to make job creation a priority - Carly Fiorina's real agenda would be devastating to women and their families in California and throughout the country.
Team EMILY, our new volunteer program, will have over 400 women making calls to potential drop-off women voters throughout California. Why? Our research makes it clear: these women voters need trusted information and explanation of why their votes matter. They need to know about Carly's extreme agenda: repealing health care reform and taking away women's rights to make their own health care choices.
Our effort, talking to voters and getting on TV, highlights Carly's long record of failure: axing 33,000 jobs while at HP; shipping nearly 10,000 jobs overseas; and floating away with a $42 million golden parachute after getting fired and leaving her company in tatters. "Opera," our hard-hitting ad that shows voters Carly's true colors, will be airing largely in LA, including shows like Good Morning America, Access Hollywood, Judge Judy, Dancing With the Stars, Dr. Phil, Letterman, and evening news programs. Watch our spot for yourself:
Today was the second Boxer-Fiorina debate, and though they weren't in the same room, it was still rather lively. Shane Goldmacher has a good recap of the issues discussed.
Once again, Carly Fiorina had very little of substance for the people. Oh, but she does want to end the right of women to control their own health decisions and apparently Sen. Boxer is in the pocket of "Big Enviro" b/c there is such a thing. Who knew? It's almost like there are multiple big environmental organizations making billions of dollars trying to maintain the status quo...oh, wait, that's Big Oil. It's hard to keep track.
A bit of news on the horse race front today. A new poll from CNN has good numbers for Brown and Boxer:
According to a CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday, 52 percent of likely voters in the Golden State say they support Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, with 43 percent backing Republican challenger Carly Fiorina. ...
In the fight for governor, the poll indicates that 52 percent of likely voters back California Attorney General and former Gov. Jerry Brown, the Democratic nominee, with 43 percent supporting former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, the GOP nominee.
The interesting thing to note here is that both candidates are now over that magical 50% figure. The last week has been kind to Democratic candidates across the nation, as Democrats are beginning to wake up from their slumber and realize that there is an election about to happen. Here in California, Boxer and Brown have both fairly well consolidated their bases, and the big push now is to get them to the polls.
With Meg Whitman having a lovefest with Texas on the debate last night, and Carly Fiorina hanging out with the Tea party at every conceivable chance, the question is how the two Republicans plan on getting the middle. They simply cannot win with the base alone in California. They are each rapidly turning off California's middle.
First, as you would expect, both candidates are doing similarly well within their own party, hovering in the upper 70s. But while nonpartisans are split at the Governor level, Boxer holds a 6 point lead here, 46-40.
But what is worth noting is that while Carly Fiorina hasn't really inspired anybody, Sen. Boxer gets people moving one way or the other. 2/3 of her supporters are voting for her, for her. Meanwhile, over 60% of Carly's supporters are motivated by their dislike for the incumbent. In California, Boxer has been an occasional lightening rod, but one thing that you can say for her is that she has the support of the grassroots base. What is expected and nurtured in the Republican party, is typically shunned within the Democratic Party. But Senator Boxer embraces the grassroots. She supports marriage equality, and has worked passionately for years on the climate crisis. She is giving Democrats something to fight for.
Meanwhile, Carly Fiorina's unfavorables continue to rise. Since July she has hovered at 34% positive, but her unfavorables have grown from 29 to 38. There is still a lot of room for growth with 28% undecided, but California voters have not liked what they have heard about the failed CEO of Hewlett-Packard.
While Meg Whitman was hobnobbing with Condi, Carly Fiorina is getting ready to do a big fundraiser in DC tomorrow. It's being headlined by that Tremendous Trio of Senators McConnell, Cornyn and Kyl. What a bunch. But the more interesting message comes on that left hand column, where just near the bottom comes "Koch Industries PAC." More from Talking Points Memo:
Republican Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina will attend a high-dollar fundraiser Thursday night that includes Koch Industries PAC, a conservative megadonor that has been the subject of some high-profile magazine pieces of late.
The Koch brothers have become conservative super-villains for Democrats this year, igniting Democrats in the same way George Soros' spending on liberal causes enrages the right. ... Koch has a storied history. TPM has followed the brothers' involvement in funding tea party groups, among other conservative causes.
The New Yorker recently published a 6,000-word exposé detailing the Koch brothers Charles Koch and David Koch and their involvement in conservative causes aiming to defeat President Obama and his agenda. The latest iteration comes as Koch spars with the White House over corporate donations. In addition to their role in the conservative movement, Koch Industries has long been pegged as a top outsourcer.(Talking Points Memo)
Is there any doubt about Carly Fiorina left. She favors Prop 23, and decimating our climate regulations. She is in the pocket of the Tea Party funders and Big Coal. She wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. She is a fan of "right-shoring" American jobs oversees, and will continue to favor and advocate for that. Oh, and yeah, she was fired for poor performance at HP.
California, Carly Fiorina is unqualified, and all wrong on all the issues.
Even your standard right-wing Carly fan has to accept one thing, they are going to spend the next 6+ weeks trying to defend the record of a failed CEO. Over the flip you'll find a long listing of remarks, mostly from right-wing business types about just how bad she really was. I'll skip past much of the list of ranking her in the top 10 or top 20 worst CEOs of all time, to something said in a book by Steve Forbes:
"Examples of business leaders who rise to the heights of corporate power only to be brought down by their egos include Dennis Kozlowski, the former CEO of Tyco, and Carly Fiorina, former head of Hewlett-Packard." - Steve Forbes and John Prevas, Power Ambition Glory, Crown Business, 2009, page 7
This is a CEO who, in the words of another right-wing Republican in the form of a former GOP presidential candidate, was too ego-driven to successfully run a company. She was a great self-promoter, but not so much on the actually getting the job done at HP thing. The board hated her, after all she was spying on some of them. The employees hated her, she laid off thousands of them, so no surprise there. And, oh yeah, the stock value of HP halved while she was the CEO.
Certainly we can agree that the last thing California needs is somebody too concerned about their own ego to focus on the very real problems we have to deal with today.
And this ad by Senator Boxer does nothing other than turning a mirror on Carly Fiorina's career. She's running as the former CEO of HP, so she has to face those facts. She was fired as CEO, and as David W. Packard, a son of one of the founders of HP, said, nobody has hired her since.
Let's not let Carly Fiorina use the Senate as a rebound gig.
Carly Fiorina is the guest of honor at a tea party rally today in Marin. While she has apparently closed the event to the press, it is open to the public! And it is free! So, come one, come all, and learn about Carly's plans for mocking climate change, and her support for overturning Roe v Wade. And you know, bring your cell phones, flip cameras, audio recording devices. Now, I'm not telling you to break any rules, but you know, it is a public event and everything.
Of course, Carly is trying to play both sides of the tea party coin, by officially closing the event to press:
Just when we were wondering what -- if any role -- the Tea Party would play in statewide California races this fall we hear that US Senate candidate Carly Fiorina will be meeting with Tea Party grassrootsers and GOPers at noon Friday in Mill Valley at the Mill Valley Community Center.
Billed in the invite as "your opportunity to hear Carly speak and get your questions answered!" it's sponsored by the Bay Area Patriots and San Francisco Tea Party, the Marin GOP and Novato Republican Women, Federated.
We'd love to tell you about it, but it is billed as "open to the public -- closed to the press." What's up with that? Not very transparent, which is what the TP wants of government, no?(SF Gate)
Ooh, and you can buy a delicious turkey sandwich for $10! If you are near Mill Valley, definitely stop by.
Carly Fiorina made a pilgrimage to the land of my people this weekend, certainly an interesting development with just over eight weeks left in the campaign. (By the way, L'shanah tova!)
For the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, what happens in the Holy Land, apparently stays in the Holy Land. Fiorina had told an Israeli business magazine that she wanted to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. But there hasn't been a peep out of the Israeli press about any meeting between Fiorina and top officials in Israel.
Nor is Fiorina's campaign saying bupkis about the getaway. A campaign spokeswoman says, "This was a personal trip for Carly, so it had nothing to do with the campaign."
Over at the Republican Jewish Coalition, which was approached by Fiorina to arrange and fund the trip, they didn't see anything campaign-like in the visit.(Daily Beast)
So, why exactly did she decide to take a vacation that is half a world away. It's not like there aren't relaxing vacation spots in the Golden State where she could get away and do a bit of relaxation. But contrary to Fiorina's campaign, this was completely about the senate race. It is especially hard to argue otherwise when she asked the Republican Jewish Coalition to pay for it. It's not like she doesn't have enough money to pay for a couple of first class tickets to Ben Gurion airport.
But while there is part of the typical foreign policy education component here, with Carly there is the question of her sales to Iran hanging over the whole foreign policy debate. While Carly likes to claim that she had no knowledge of the Iranian sales, she was either purposefully sticking her head in the sand in order to get the money from Iranian sales or she was a terrible CEO who didn't know what her company was doing. As Chuck DeVore pointed out in the primary, there are simply too many questions here left unanswered.
I hope that Ms. Fiorina's trip to Israel is a safe and enjoyable visit, but a few days in Jerusalem hardly changes her record in the Middle East. Over the flip find a letter from several Jewish leaders in Los Angeles regarding her trip.
There is a lot of work to do between now and November 2, but right now we are pretty much looking at an even race:
It's too close to call in California's Senate and gubernatorial battles, according to a new poll.
A CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday indicates that Sen. Barbara Boxer holds a 48 percent to 44 percent margin over her Republican challenger, Carly Fiorina, but Boxer's 4-point advantage is within the poll's sampling error. Five percent of people questioned say if the general election were held today they'd vote for neither candidate and three percent were undecided. (CNN) Full results (pdf)
Care to see a 1990s style witch hunt against the administration? Well, you are set for a fun ride. Otherwise, it's time to get in gear and work for the Democratic ticket.
At the debate last night, moderator and KTVU political editor Randy Shandobil got frustrated with Fiorina's evasive answers on Prop 23. Apparently the other reporters at the post-debate press conference were getting pretty frustrated with the situation as well.
Well folks, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Carly Fiorina supports Prop 23 and the death of AB 32. She said as much in the debate. When she evaded the answer, she said specifically that it would "make sense to suspend it" or something to that effect. Ladies and germs, that is what Prop 23 is arguing that they want to do. Not sure how much more clear it can be made. She can hem and haw all she wants, but she can't jujitsu this one. She opposes Prop 23, but doesn't want to say as much because that will turn off environmentally minded voters and signal that she isn't some sort of moderate that she is trying to play.
Nope, Carly Fiorina is just another short-sighted CEO who couldn't even manage the short-sighted goals of increasing stock value at HP. She likes to posture, even going so far as hiding her impressive educational resume to build up her "rags to riches" street cred. But, California voters can see through these charades.