Lessons Learned from Measure EE: Not a Blank Check

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

The dust has settled on Measure EE, the 16-cent per square foot property tax rushed onto a June 4 ballot by the LAUSD board and its union. Following last week’s election results, politicians, pundits and school boards across the state are pondering EE’s meaning – trying to determine whether the parcel tax’s defeat was a […]

Read more

Trends Emerge at USC Gubernatorial Debate

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

Six candidates – four Democrats and two Republicans – squared off on Saturday at the University of Southern California in the first of what will be many debates to help Californians decide who should (and should not) be our state’s next governor. No knock-out punch was delivered…it would have been shocking if anyone even drew […]

Read more

Obama Doing What He Does Best…But Is That Good Politics?

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

As we head into the President’s annual trip up Pennsylvania Avenue to the House for the State of the Union (SOTU), talk of a more functional federal government is but a faint glimmer on the horizon. Instead, the typical dysfunction that Americans have grown to expect looks likely to intensify for the Obama Administration’s final […]

Read more

California’s Budget – A View from Los Angeles

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

So
much for campaign promises and listening to the voting public! 

We’re
now almost three months into Governor Jerry Brown’s reign as the state’s chief
problem solver.  The Democrats control
both houses of the Legislature and it now takes a simple majority to pass a
budget.  Yet, gridlock remains.  The status quo, meaning the annual budget
stalemate and finger-pointing war between Republicans and Democrats, is uglier
than ever…and it’s not even summer in Sacramento. 

Gov.
Brown, who optimistically boasted of his experience to get things done last
fall, has taken to YouTube to plead his case with
California voters…his latest, filmed after the Governor called a halt to
negotiations, clearly shows a frustrated state chief executive.  Lately, Gov. Brown has pledged to take his
budget frustration show on the road to venues throughout the state, as if a few
rallies attended by his supporters or press conferences railing against
Republicans will convince GOP legislators to change their minds.  What’s interesting is that in his
"frustrated" YouTube video, and news reports following the budget collapse, Gov.
Brown drops any pretense of accommodation and adopts a hard-core Democrat Party
line – basically, accept his plan; a failure to do so is not democratic.

Read more

The Truth about Swipe Fees

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

Richard Kennedy, in his one-sided
article, "Protecting the Durbin Amendment is Critical to America’s
Small Businesses
," completely missed the boat about the
real impact of so-called "swipe" or interchange fees, the small fee that
consumers pay when they use a credit or debit card.

To quickly summarize the issue, at the behest
of large national retailers, Senator Durbin (D-IL) included an amendment in the
Dodd-Frank Act last year that allowed the Fed to fix prices on what banks and
other financial institutions charge merchants each time they swipe a
transaction.  By reducing fees, consumers
would "supposedly" benefit.  Majorities
in both the House and Senate jumped on board and passed this legislation.

Ultimately, the idealism of the Durbin Amendment
is giving way to the practicality of implementing it…and the law of
unintended has come into play.  In
Congress’ zeal to reign-in large banks, they will likely end up hurting
consumers and punishing credit unions and smaller community-owned banks.  Large retailers, with Senator Durbin as their
mouthpiece, argued that the consumer would see an immediate benefit in price
reductions should the Durbin Amendment be enacted.  Unfortunately, nothing in the Dodd-Frank bill
prohibits retailers from simply pocketing the difference – a windfall for
large, national retailers but no consumer benefit.  Or, framed the other way, retailers aren’t
required to return any profit to consumers. 

Read more

Where is Barbara?

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

To paraphrase White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, "Never let a crisis go to waste."  

Clearly, Barack Obama agrees with his chief of staff’s philosophy.
Last week during his first Oval Office address, President Barack Obama
spent a significant part of it trying to convince the American people
that in the wake of what’s happening in the Gulf, now is the time to
implement radical energy and climate reform legislation – which for
Barack Obama and some of his Democrat supporters, means a so-called
cap-and-trade system…or a national energy tax.

To "move" this economy-changing legislation through Congress – a feat
doubted by many in his own party – Barack Obama needs the United States
Senate to act legislatively…and that "action" will require 60 votes to
stop a filibuster.  Sensing the timing may be right, or, in truth, that
the legislative calendar for the year is nearing its end and Democrats
need to rush home to campaign for November’s elections, the President
will soon call a group of Republican and Democrat Senators to the White
House to discuss this so-called energy and climate "reform" effort.

Read more

Stick a Fork in Tom Campbell, His Senate Campaign is Done

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

Former
Speaker of the California Assembly Jesse Unruh once said, "Money is the
mother’s milk of politics."  Without money, given California’s large
geographic size, diverse population and multiple media outlets, a
candidate cannot communicate his or her message effectively and,
ultimately, cannot win.

In March of this year, I wrote a Fox and Hounds column where I highlighted Tom Campbell’s Achilles’ heel – his proven
inability to raise money.  I’ve also blogged on the subject numerous
times.  It’s hampered his two earlier U.S. Senate campaigns and it’s
why he dropped out of this year’s gubernatorial race.  

Yesterday afternoon, I set out to pen another column about California’s
GOP Senate primary, armed with fresh information that Campbell was,
indeed, losing ground to Carly Fiorina.  Or, flipping the message on
its head, that Fiorina’s message had taken hold.  My point in penning
the column was the same – that Tom Campbell cannot raise the money he
needs to win and that he has a credibility gap on fiscal issues. 

Read more

Credibility and Cash: Campbell’s Achilles Heels

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

Even long-time liberal Barbara Boxer has said it. Her 2010 Senate re-election campaign will be competitive – her first contested election since she was elected to the Senate in the early 1990s. According to an early March Field Poll, 51 percent of California voters hold an unfavorable opinion of Barbara Boxer – bad news for any incumbent.

In that same poll, Tom Campbell is statistically tied with Boxer in a head-to-head general election match-up, and holds a narrow lead over both Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore in a Republican primary. However, the most telling numbers in the Field Poll are that 41 percent of Republican primary voters are undecided. And, almost 60 percent of general election voters have “no opinion” of Tom Campbell, Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore.

So, while Campbell has an early lead in polling, his status as March frontrunner necessitates greater scrutiny of his candidacy.

Read more

Selling Healthcare to the Silent Majority

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

Healthcare Reform. For the last three months, this one phrase has all but shut down Washington, DC, and now, with Congress in recess, will undoubtedly overwhelm most, if not all public appearances by members of Congress when they return to their districts.

Already, examples abound about constituents loudly voicing serious concerns regarding the prospect of a big-government healthcare solution driven by progressives in Congress. Turncoat Senator Arlen Specter’s (D-PA) town hall was disrupted with complaints about reform, as was an in-district meeting by Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett. Expect more of the same to occur in towns and cities across America.

The reason for this “disruption” is simple: the American people are finally focusing on this huge topic…and what they hear about proposed reforms – i.e., more money out of their pockets, possible healthcare rationing, disruption of the patient-doctor relationship and a government-run program – confuses and scares them. The American public’s concerns are simple – how will “reform” impact me, my family and my future? The politicians’ solutions are complicated. Does the average American really relate to the prospect of “bending the healthcare curve?”

Read more

The Beer Summit…It Was Flat

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

Imagine the lunacy. The most powerful elected official in the world – although at times President Obama does his absolute best to dispel that image by constantly apologizing for pre-Obama America – actually had to schedule a “summit” to have his buddy, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, and a white Cambridge police officer who recently arrested Gates, over to the White House to negotiate a truce in an escalating public relations nightmare for the president.

The media reported that, “White House aides are downplaying expectations that the beer summit will produce a resolution.” Sounds like they were talking about the latest negotiations with Russia over the number of nuclear weapons or something important. Geez. Maybe we need former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger or Madeline Albright to get involved and bring the two parties together.

The reality is that we, as Americans, shouldn’t even be here in the first place! What a complete waste of newsprint and presidential time.

Read more