Friday, November 11, 2005

Another Curmudgeon Worth Loving

You know, I hear folks on the left slamming Jack Cafferty, and honestly, I don't know enough about the man's history to argue the point. But I do confess -- he's the only thing that makes "The Situation Room" worth watching. Thanks to the boys at Crooks & Liars, I often don't have to watch to gobble up some of his gems.

This particular segment made me chuckle and is a great example of why I'm a fan. Having left California before Aaahnold's term, and pretty much blocking the state from my memory altogether, I'm not well versed in what was on their ballot (short of what I've been told about Prop 73). However, it's not even relevant to my Cafferty love, it's just a fine example of Cantankerousness.

See, I've just got a permanent soft-spot in my heart for anyone in the MSM that makes absolutely no effort to disguise their eye-rolling dismissal of public figures (assuming they share at least some of my political persuasions, that is. HA!). And Jack offers up Sardonic Theatre at it's best. I want to pour him a scotch, feed him a steak and let him pontificate all over the dining room table.


Lily said...

Well the cynic in me knows that Cafferty is a contrived curmudgeon, and realizes that they know exactly what they are doing by having him play the "near retired, old school cranky journalist" part.
Since they made some subtle changes to the reporting, his ornery crankiness has been a feature more often than not whenever he talks. My guess is that CNN knows that Fox corners the market on idiots. I think this past year we have seen some reaching for the left audience, a comparatively wealthy and educated demographic.
You can always tell who these shows pander to by the commercials- New York Times Home Delivery, Get Out Of Debt, Work From Home, Weight Loss Miracles...
I'm glad Jon Stewart finally made fun of Lou Dobbs and his relentless obsession first with outsourcing and now immigration. Talk about beating topics to death! I wish Lou would link outsourcing to foreign economies and standards of living, resources and oil use, etc. But thats another post....

Geo_Chick said...

From the LA times, it says what I think much more eloquently...

November 10, 2005 : California

George Skelton:
Capitol Journal
Election Results Offer Some Old Lessons for Gov. Schwarzenegger

Many lessons flow from Tuesday's special flogging of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, most of them very old. But they're lessons that apparently must be relearned every generation or two.

• Lesson No. 1: If you're going to proclaim yourself to be "the people's governor" and embark on a crusade, you'd better be sure that the people are following you as support troops or you'll march right off a cliff.
Schwarzenegger tumbled over the edge with his "reform" agenda in flames. He can change directions and crawl back up. But it's not likely much of his package will survive, except for political redistricting, which Democratic legislative leaders have promised — and did so again Wednesday — to cede to independent citizens.

Let's reflect on some of these lessons based on the chronology of events starting from when he took office two years ago:

• Lesson No. 2: The time to make big changes is right after you're first elected, when you've got a public mandate and trust. Schwarzenegger, with bipartisan support, sold voters on a $15-billion deficit reduction bond and a minor balanced-budget requirement. Big borrowing, little spending control. That was the moment to have negotiated a real spending cap — a moderate version of the rejected Proposition 76 — and sell it to voters.

• Lesson No. 3: Don't make deals you can't keep. The new governor promised schools money that he couldn't deliver a year later, turning former allies into dangerous enemies.

• Lesson No. 4: Don't mess with schools — whether it's breaking your word or trying to cut back on funding guarantees. Of Schwarzenegger's four measures Tuesday, Prop. 76 suffered the worst drubbing. Education has become a third rail of California politics, like Proposition 13's property tax cuts.

• Lesson No. 5: Every politician is human, vulnerable to the natural laws of political gravity. Policy usually outpoints personality. A good salesman can be ruined — a popular politician sent into a free-fall — by a bad product. The governor's policy products were boring to most voters, and incendiary for a crucial number. Schwarzenegger and his strategists mistakenly believed he could sell anything.

"It was a lethal combo: his arrogance and inexperience," says Ray McNally, a Republican strategist and consultant for the prison guards union, who with his partner Richard Temple created some of the most devastating anti-Schwarzenegger TV ads. "He didn't know a good idea from a bad idea….

"He's going to be the new Jesse Ventura for the blab set."

• Lesson No. 6: Don't put a product on the market until it's tested. First, the governor pushed initiatives to ban traditional pensions for new public employees and to require merit pay for teachers that were so flawed he had to junk them. Then his two remaining major proposals — the spending cap and political redistricting — were not written by his own shop, but by outsiders, and were defective.

"When you put your brand name on a product, you'd better be darn sure it has quality control," says Democratic consultant Garry South, who was Gov. Gray Davis' chief strategist. "If you try to force-feed half-baked, unappetizing measures down people's throats, they're just likely to upchuck all over you. That's what voters did Tuesday."

• Lesson No. 7: Don't daydream about being leader of the free world. Several California governors have learned that lesson when their dreams turned into nightmares. One insider remembers "the presidential chatter" of mid-2004 when strategists made Schwarzenegger more partisan in anticipation of the Constitution being amended to allow immigrants to run for president.

"Lunacy," says the insider. "Someone was blowing smoke at him."

• Lesson No. 8: When politicking statewide in California, run in the middle. Particularly avoid the right. Schwarzenegger's agenda tilted right and that's where he mostly stumped for votes, although the GOP represents only 35% of the electorate.

"The governor's reform package emphasized only half of his political persona," says GOP consultant Dan Schnur. "He got elected as a centrist. He governed as a centrist. But his initiative package emphasized only the more conservative aspects of his agenda."

• Lesson No. 9: You cannot pass complex, eye-glazing government process propositions without strong bipartisan support, especially if it's the minority party advocating them. Schwarzenegger tried to negotiate bipartisan proposals with Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles), and almost succeeded, but each man was pulled to the right and left respectively by his political constituencies.

• Lesson No. 10: The main reason Schwarzenegger lost big in the election was that he called the election. The public didn't want to spend the $54 million in tax money. Voters had OD'd on six statewide elections in four years. They didn't believe there was a special reason for the election.

Voters want the governor and the Legislature to do their job in Sacramento, Schwarzenegger acknowledged Wednesday through his spokesman, Rob Stutzman. The governor had been "impatient" for reform, Stutzman said. Now he'll move more slowly, more conventionally.

And presumably more cooperatively. "The governor wants to make Sacramento work. It's going to take some cajoling."

That, at least, is one lesson learned — a very elementary and necessary one if Schwarzenegger is to crawl back up the cliff.

Cantankerous Bitch said...

I realize that his placement is a demographic suck-up, but in the end, I don't care. He makes me laugh.
:::crawling back to Simpleton's Corner:::

Cantankerous Bitch said...


Lily said...

Oh don't get me wrong! He cracks me up too! I am not immune to manipulation...quite the contrary, it does not take much to entertain me. Part of my self-reform is an acknowledgement that I am a sucker! I have a past full of expensive bags, high heels, and volvo's "for the safety". I'm naturally susceptible to suggestion. I like Jack but feel like a chump is all I'm saying. I like Brad Pitt too, and realize thats not very original either. Not compared to your Neil Young!
By Simpleton's corner, do you mean my house??????

Cantankerous Bitch said...

You know, you really must abandon the illusion that my gushing praise for Mr. Young had anything to do with sex appeal. I'll be piping his tunes through my speakers until I'm old and gray(er), but I'm in no hurry to invite him to bed, thanks.
Now, Antonio Banderas... that's another topic altogether.

Lily said...

Oh I loved him too- until "Evita" and that hysterical scene where he burst into song at the bar.
Now I just picture him singing 'Sing you fools cuz you got it wrong, your queen is dead, your king is through- she's not coming back to yooooooooou". Since I have Che Guevera on my fridge, it takes a lot to impress me with his portrayal.
Now Peron's actor was a looker, wasn't he from the Infiniti commercial?? I love balding English guys, with renegade brows, like Jeremey Irons.... now those are men I could actually listen to without my mind wandering.
So much for me not getting personal in the blogosphere.

Cantankerous Bitch said...

Every time someone describes a scene from Evita, I'm happy I missed it.
Looking up the film credits, I presume you're referring to Jonathan Pryce? I found him particularly loveable in Jumpin' Jack Flash.

Yes, well... as for reducing ourselves to girly chatter... we can't all be Chompsky. ;)~

Lily said...

So sue me-turns out I am shallow, fallible, and easily distracted. As if you didn't know.
Yeah, I think that was his name.