Georgy Russell for Governor Blog

Tuesday, September 30, 2003
 
Yup, Bustamante makes Davis look good:

"The poll also showed that of likely voters who supported the recall, one in three would be dissuaded from voting for it if they thought Bustamante would become the next governor. The effect of that number was so strong that the recall would be defeated, nearly two to one, if voters thought Bustamante would win. " AP

Does this mean that Davis camp should be campaigning for Bustamante, indirectly pushing voters to vote AGAINST the recall? Perhpas that would be more effective than the anti arnie charades, more difficult to do though. Strange thought.

Good to see Arianna's dropped out, and is now voting NO on the recall.

"Ms. Huffington said she had opposed the recall from its inception as anti-democratic. She entered the race because the recall offered a low-cost opportunity for a progressive candidate to win the governorship with a mere plurality, she said." -- ny times

That is not true - she said she was voting yes when she was at Berkeley.

Sunday, September 28, 2003
 
I just caught a rerun of K Street's second episode. Anyone who tells me that DC is not interested in Arnold needs to explain the strategic placement of a "Join ARNOLD" sticker in the back window of a car in minute long plus scene with John Slattery (and who I think might have been Congressman Dreier).

Saturday, September 27, 2003
 
Down and Dirty - Schwarzenegger swore he wouldn't do it. He's the people's governor, he will govern without "fear or favor." Typically one attacks when he is afraid. His latest ad attacks Davis directly, and Arnold definitely seized the opportunity to attack Arianna when the debate moderator allowed him too. I guess he forgot his original pledge that he would "never attack." (How interesting would it have been for him to have responded with something like "Personal attacks only serve to belittle the office of the Governor, and the importance of this debate?")


Arnold explains the anti Davis ad/no attacks contradiction in the Chron as follows "What I meant by negative is that I would never attack anyone personal, because personally I have nothing against anyone." (Still unclear how he can justify the debate remarks.)

Gray Davis has decided to fire back. Interestingly enough, in the same Chron article, published just after Schwarzie's ad, the response from Steve Smith, Davis campaign director was

"The general rule is that you can't ignore negative attacks, but we are not running against Mr. Schwarzenegger," Smith said. "Our opponent is the recall. We have not gone negative on candidates on the second part of the ballot."

In a different article another member of the team speaks up:

"Ragone said the ad acknowledges Davis' momentum. 'You do not shoot at people when you are in front of them' "

(I just realized Smith's statement may not be true - My photo is featured in one of his ads, along with the words porn king & local gadfly. Seems like negativity to me.)

In any case, Gray Davis has now decided to go "negative" against Schwarzie directly - does this mean he's not in front, or did he decide to turn around and fire a few shots just to make sure the opponent was wounded, in case he got up and made a comeback?

I'm not sure how effective it will be to go against Arnold. Gray Davis camp is saying they can't let Schwarzie's lies go unanswered. But will the ads push people to vote No on the recall? It almost seems to me this ad, which I have only read about, might push Republicans to support McClintock. From what I've noticed talking to voters, especially young ones, those of them who are on the fence about Arnold are those who like him for his celebrity more so than his politics. Pulling them over to the Gray Davis camp will take someone with a little more charisma than Davis himself, and more than attacks on Schwarzenegger's voting record. It might be better to pit celebrity against celebrity, and find a Hollywood hotshot to face off with Arnold, on Davis' behalf. Another option would be to rally young voters to speak up for Davis - even on TV. Youth can be very compelling, to both young and old alike. Unfortunately, Davis is out of favor with his recent fee hikes.

I see a lot of "accomplishment listing" when it comes to marketing Davis. This is not at all compelling to me. Even if they are "true" (we all know how you can twist the truth and often times statistics) Gray Davis's accomplishments don't convince me to care. Can't anyone find more info on Karl Rove's April meeting with Arnold? Tie him to the Bush administration, show what Bushies do with deficits, and squash any ideas that a Republican will reduce a deficit, especially with a no new taxes pledge.

What's unbelievable to me is that Arianna Huffington supports the recall. Seems to me she's tailoring the campaign to fit the candidacy. She's running as an independent, attacks the partisan duality from both sides. In essence, she'll be helping Arnold, her arch-enemy with her YES vote.


Thursday, September 25, 2003
 
The Great Debate

I think Gray Davis was possibly the true winner. I said this last night to KRON 4 and other media immediately after, but now it seems everyone is saying it this morning. Glad to see they're stealing my soundbytes. I should probably revise it to be "I'm the true winner."

Arnold...He managed to dodge the issues, and entertain the audience at the same time. In fact, I think Arianna was sincerely laughing at Arnold when he jabbed her. He let one golden opportunity to slam Arianna on her support of 187 go - probably because he didn't rehearse it.

Peter - Which Peter was this? Apparently both of them like to play the "broken record" when it comes to debates. For Ueberroth it was "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs," Camejo, "Charts, charts, charts." When he skipped and hit on something else, his presentation seemed disorganized, his passion unnecessarily clouded his message.

Patronizing Bustamante, (aka Mr. Spacely from the Jetsons) should have taken the high road. He really was the only one laughing when he mocked Arianna, definitely upstaged by Arnold in that regard.

Arianna did her usual mudslinging against GWB. Her vociferous banter with Arnold served only to highlight her experience in punditry, not leadership. By engaging him, she justified his one liners and actually made him look better. She just doesn't know when to keep her mouth shut.

McClintock - if there were less comedy, he would have looked pretty good, but with all the excitement surrounding him, he came across as stiff and a little boring. Otherwise, he stuck to the issues fairly well.

By the way, did ANYONE say how much they would spend on healthcare?




Sunday, September 21, 2003
 
"They're going to ruin 'em," that's what I told the NY Times Michael Falcone about people like Sharon Davis and Arianna Huffington with their non-blog blogs. They'll turn blogging into something else - something contrived, perhaps written by a handler, you know, something uh well, boring. "It's a place where I can say whatever I want, regardless of whether it's on "message," personal, or political." Yup that's what I told him. No one gets to tell me what to say in my blog. Well at least, I won't be responsible for listening to them. Maybe that's just my naive candidacy at work.
But, here we go...the Sac Bee, accoridng to kausfiles , is going to censor Weintraub's blog . I'm wondering if Weintraub can just do a blog breakaway, keeping his column with the bee, and moving his blog over to blogger.com or some other server. Probably not. What's in a blog anyway? And when will it make it into the dictionary? Sometime around when "meetup" makes its way in as a noun?
 
Was Davis English in another life? In Britain they jokingly refer to each other as "guv'nor." I hear from a native that in prisons over there, they call wardens governors. They transitioned to using "guv'nor" for commoners to imply one was being bossy. Perhaps we can blame all of the favoritism given to the Prison Guards on this confusion, but just so you know Gray, we're in the States now, guv'nor.
Saturday, September 13, 2003
 
Arianna Huffington made her way to my alma mater yesterday. I gave her a thong, informed her that she lost to me on the AOL poll, and apparently made Van Jones very nervous. Read on.

I sat alone in the UC Berkeley IGS Library at 4pm, working on some last minute changes to my 200 word statement for tomorrow's democratic caucus, 4 people walked in. My laptop prominently displays my sticker, and having been busy campaigning, I was surrounded by buttons and paraphernalia. One of the four was someone I knew from IGS. The other three made in apparent that they were part of Arianna's "team." They demanded a row of seats reserved for important people, though it wasn't clear to any of the four who those important people would be. I sat quietly as they barked out more demands just feet from me, without as much as a glance my way.

Come six o'clock, a few people arrived, wearing what were quite possibly the LARGEST political buttons I have ever seen (with ironically tiny writing), and finally noticed my bumper stickers and 2 inch buttons were being handed out to and worn by people in the library. For the next 5 minutes, an oversized button wearing woman, didn't leave my side, and seemed to be eavesdropping on my telephone conversations.

Soon after, Huffington arrived, much taller than I expected, though those Ferragamo shoes probably gave her an additional 3 or 4 inches. She began her Q&A session, and soon into was asked why she thought there weren't more women in the race. I don't really remember if she answered the question, but as we have all heard her say, many times, she said "I am the only viable woman in this race." Lucky for me, someone next me shouted out "GEORGY." Huffington turned toward us, only 8 feet away from her, and exclaimed, "Georgy!" recognizing me immediately. Hmmm, interesting. At least I'm viable enough for Arianna to know *exactly* who I am.
In any case, I responded to Huffington with "I actually beat you in the AOL poll."
"Well of course you did! That's 18-25 year olds."
Hmm, interesting. The audience looked pretty much like your average college kids. 18-25 year olds. Oops.

Ahh well, back to the Q&A. I was very disappointed with Ms. Huffington. The perfect example of her answers was the one she gave to my question.

"My name is Georgy Russell, I'm a UC Berkeley Computer Science graduate, a software engineer, and, oh, I'm also running for Governor. What will you do about the offshoring of tech jobs?"

"Tech jobs moving offshore you mean?"

"Uh, yes"

Arianna launched into a brief discussion of how screwed up worker's comp is here. Well, yeah, it is, but I mean that's NOT really what is causing the offshoring. It's more like this - in India, salaries are at best 1/3 of what they are here. Worker's comp turned into slams on Cruz, and maybe even then Gray Davis, oh yeah and of course the two party system. I can't remember exactly, I was so lost at that point, wondering what exactly did Cruz do to cause salaries to be so low in India? I know he's involved with Indian gaming, but that's not the same Indians.

Anyway....after the "Q&A" which would be more appropriately titled, Q&D for diatribe, I jumped right up to the front and presented Arianna with what I thought was one of the most sought after political tchotchkes in the state - a Georgy for Governor thong!

"Give it to him," she said, pointing to a white guy next to her. Guess she didn't hear that the Oakland museum wants one of those babies! He took the thong, held it up as I had, by the side strings, made a disgusted look, as if I had worn it or something, and said, "This is just what we want," somewhat sarcastically, though lacking entirely any sense of humor. He stuffed it away somewhere shortly thereafter.

Now I have to hand it to the columnist, because she did do one thing right - she didn't touch the thong. Oh but if she had, what a photo op that would have been!

Eventually she made her way outside, and posed for photos with a few of the 18-25 year olds. I waited patiently with two photojournalists and two
documentarians who were following me that afternoon.
Van Jones approached me, trying to scare me away it seemed.
"Georgy what is it that you need?"
"What is it that I need?"
"Yes, is there something I can do for you? Is there something that you need?"
"Oh, no I don't need anything. Just waiting to chat w/ Ms. Huffington. I wanted to let her know that I can help her understand the tech offshoring issue. I mean, you and I both know it's not a worker's compensation problem."
"Oh oh, wow, that's really nice of you . Yeah most of the time candidates don't want to help each other. That's really nice of you. Who are these people?"
he said, pointing to documentary hipsters.

"They're making a documentary."

"On you? On you??!"

"Yup, on me."
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
 
In light of his popularity, or lack thereof, I'm wondering how Gray Davis would fare if he did a special Queer Eye for the Political Guy. Arnold has ostensibly opted for the casual look, over the traditional political garb. He's seen without a jacket in his most recent television ad, and prefers a blue shirt over conventional white. Frequently, he leaves the tie at home,
and when he's out an about as Arnie from the block, he wears a polo shirt, donning the Join Arnold emblem.
Now Arnold is no fashion plate, his style at best matches that of a clean cut frat boy, but Gray Davis, who is devoid of
creativity, also lost sight of variety somewhere on the way to Sacramento. Whether he's bro-ing down with public school kids, or signing a bill into law, he's wearing a gray suit, a white shirt (maybe blue if he's feeling spicey) and a tie. While this may all be done under the guise of professionalism, it may very well be isolating voters. A wardrobe analysis might tell us he's far from malleable and unable to adapt to the situation at hand. Does this reflect his approach to legislation? Simple modifications here and there might lessen his rigidity, and could have helped him in cutting a budget deal.
His current dress undoubtedly makes the morning routine easy, but I'm sure he could get the queer guys to hook him up
with a "How to get dressed" guide, and even a schedule. The only problem of course would be, keeping the cost down - we can't have taxpayers paying for designer shoes and tshirts, but if he does it on the show, I bet they'll foot the bill.
Monday, September 08, 2003
 
I'll risk sounding trite, and say what every other good pol says - we are in dire need of educational reform in California. It's time we recognize the value of an education system, and adjust ours accordingly. Education is a pillar of our economy, without it we will be unable to build and maintain a strong economic standing. Businesses do not want to locate in a state where employees will have to send their kids to private school, nor where recruiting efforts will have to be done outside the state. Innovation thrives in educational institutions, where revolutionary ideas in business, technology, art, and music are born.

In California, and America, the desire for higher education should be honored, and there should be no financial impediments to getting it. Quality education should be accessible nearby, and government must provide students with the means to finance education when needed. The approach California has taken recently does not reflect this seemingly logical notion. California treats its problems: high prison rates, economic instability, unemployment, increased reliance on welfare, for example, with band-aid solutions, instead of viewing them as part of what is a long term endeavor, and taking preventative measures to target the source of the problems.

In Los Angeles, nearly 25% of adults over age 20 have less than a high school diploma. In the US, the rate is 15%. Undoubtedly, an undereducated population will not be a prosperous one. 70% of US citizens living in poverty, on welfare, or unemployed are limited in their literacy skills. The same can be said for inmates. It seems we can trace the ills of poverty and crime to lack of education. Modern solutions for these problems are reactionary - 3 strikes for example - and target the symptoms of a poorly educated society.

The importance of education extends beyond traditional K-12 system. It has been demonstrated that children who have a pre-school foundation are more successful once they reach grammar school, yet pre-school education is available only to those who can afford it. A universal pre-school system will bring us closer to guaranteeing future generations of Californians are more productive than past. At the other end of the system we have higher education. If we consider the economic trends of the last 40 years, we see that the highest growth industries in California are those employing the largest number of college educated Californians, which tells us that economic growth and higher education go hand in hand. California must realize its economic growth to be a function of its educational investment. However, we must not let a focus on academics cause us to lose sight of the fact that not everyone in California will go to college, and that our economy and society should also encourage and respect vocational training and careers. A final point - we are faced with increasing globalization, and forced to compete in an international arena, where workers are trained to work all over the world. Our education system in California should be compared against not just other states, but other countries worldwide.

Thursday, September 04, 2003
 
Here are a couple of the questions I was asked at my Berkeley speech:

Q: "How come you put up the thong?"

A: "It is very cute."

Q: "What will you do after the election?"

A: "Move to Sacramento"

Q: "As the Governor how do you feel you will actually be able to exercise power over the budget?"

A: " Line Item Veto and bully pulpit"


 
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