The Economy Isn’t Stupid

Douglas Jeffe
Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

Former Republican State Senator Bill Campbell once joked that if you laid all the economists in the country end to end, it would be a good idea.  Today, we have political and economic prognosticators  mired in trying to come up with conclusions on what’s happening with the economy between now and Election Day and what […]

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Unemployment Rate Won’t Decide Election

Douglas Jeffe
Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

There has been a dubious bit of “conventional wisdom” that has been floating around for the past couple of years.  “No President has been re-elected when the unemployment rate has topped 8%” goes the mantra.  Well, looking at the elections since World War II, that is true.  It is also true that no President has […]

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Proposition 30 Deserves Top Spot on Ballot

Douglas Jeffe
Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

It is amusing to watch the anti-tax lobby and self-styled reformers  crying foul because  Governor Jerry  and  legislative Democrats maneuvered to place the Administration’s tax plan first on the ballot as Proposition 30.   Well, despite opponents’ protestations, that is exactly where the Brown tax measure belongs. We should stipulate from the beginning that there are […]

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Berman vs. Sherman – Workhorse vs. Showhorse

Douglas Jeffe
Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

The race for the newly drawn 30th Congressional District in California has drawn national attention.  Two long-time Democratic incumbents–Howard Berman and Brad Sherman–are pitted against each other in what promises to be one of the mostly hotly contested and most expensive contests in the country. Why all the fuss? On the surface, it wouldn’t seem […]

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The Myth of Fair Reapportionment

Douglas Jeffe
Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

“Good Government{” types call for a fair and objective system of drawing legislative boundaries.  Republicans want to take the drafting tools out of the hands of legislators and then bemoan the results.  Democrats squirm when incumbents are pitted against each other.  Communities, neighborhoods  and ethnic constituencies insist that they be consolidated into single districts to […]

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Moderate is Now a Four Letter Word

Douglas Jeffe
Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

In today’s political environment–at least on the GOP side–“moderate” has become a pejorative.  With the same venom that Nixon used to denounce Communists–real or imagined–Newt Gingrich has leveled the “moderate” charge against Mitt Romney.  This says a whole lot about what is wrong with politics and governance these days. The attributes that make government work–pragmatism, […]

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Dumb Sciences Breed Dumb Policy with the Media’s Help

Douglas Jeffe
Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

The dumbing down of politics moves full speed ahead as legitimate science is thrown off the bus in favor of junk studies and reports designed to shore up ideological arguments and score political points.  The media is complicit as they give outsized coverage to slapdash studies that fuel controversy, while virtually ignoring rigorous science that […]

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Brown Tax Vote Critics need a Reality Check

Douglas Jeffe
Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

It is hardly surprising that Gov. Jerry Brown is finding
rough going in herding all the cats required to make a real budget deal
happen-one that faces up to the realities and includes a bit of pain for
everyone.  Yes, he has done an admirable
PR job with the symbols-canceling the cell phones, taking back the state cars
and putting a lid on travel.  The cuts
achieved in health, welfare and other services have also gone through with
relatively little resistance.  But
finding something that will attract enough Republican votes for a tax measure without
throwing Democrats and their constituencies overboard has proven to be a lot
more elusive than he may have thought. 

There is a notion being promulgated by some pundit types
that Jerry Brown’s problem is that he never should have promised not to raise
taxes without a vote of the people. 
Those critics need to think about the reality of the campaign, the
reality of the legislative process and the reality of where we are as a
California state of mind.

The Walter Mondale strategy of promising to raise taxes
didn’t work in 1984, and it wouldn’t have worked in 2010.  Rather than evade the tax question or ask for
approval in a vacuum, Brown promised to give voters the chance to say YES or
NO-not a profile in courage, but a sensible, responsible way to address the
issue in a toxic campaign environment. 

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Will This Be GOP’s Last Hand in Budget Poker Game?

Douglas Jeffe
Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

It is true that Republican legislators have some valuable cards in the high stakes negotiation over adopting a spending plan and putting tax extensions on the ballot in June. Also true is that reality that the GOP leverage is fleeting and the Republican Caucuses could end up squandering their last and best chance to get some of the reforms that they and the business community covet.

Legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes was famous for saying his teams stuck to the ground game because three things can happen when you throw a forward pass and two of them are bad. The GOP should be careful about throwing the long bomb, because they could end up scoreless.

What should be sobering to Republicans and the business community is the likelihood that Republicans will fall short of the one-third mark in both houses of the Legislature after the next election. The last reapportionment probably squeezed out every district possible for Republicans and the new lines drawn by the Commission or the courts are unlikely to do that. Some incumbent Democrats may find themselves displaced or challenged by Latino candidates, but the number of safe Democratic seats is probably going to be pretty stable. With the open primary and reconfigured districts, however, there may very well be many fewer safe GOP seats and several other that are up for grabs. This may be the last year to exact a price for allowing tax increases.

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Reapportionment commission looks to be fiasco in the making

Douglas Jeffe
Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

Winston Churchill is famous for commenting that democracy is
the worst system of government, except for all the others.  Well, for those critics of reapportionment by
legislation, we may have stumbled on something worse-reapportionment by the
clueless.

Let me stipulate that I am not a cheerleader for leaving
reapportionment solely in the hands of legislators. I think that the last
incumbents-only reapportionment was a big mistake.  That said, this cure may be worse than the
disease.

Reapportionment is complex and tricky stuff.  It’s easy to draw compact districts with
equal population, but those districts are likely to result in the
disenfranchisement of some constituencies and wholesale disregard for Voting
Rights Act standards.  Following
municipal and county boundaries sounds good but may end up leaving some
socio-economic groups stranded in districts where they have no voice.

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