Sunday, May 28, 2006

The ethics issue

If Pombo wins this election, I would think that he should give a big round of thanks to two Democrats: Phil Angelides and Steve Westley, whose relentless negative ads has created the impression that what Pombo does is just par for the course with politicians in this day and age. The TV interviews that I saw seemed always to include at least one citizen saying that they wouldn't vote for either one of those two.

The challenge here is to make sure that everyone gets the fact that there really are alternatives, that being a politician does not mean that you are automatically corrupted, that honest politician is not an oxymoron.


Blogger Alex said...

The sad part is that I think both Westly and Angelides are examples of basically decent people in politics. But what they're doing now is an embarassment to them and doing real damage to the party and the chance to defeat Arnold.

1:11 PM, May 28, 2006  
Anonymous Rocky Balboa said...

Yo Alex.

Rocky here. And dis is exactly what Rickey wuz doin wit McNerney and Pretty Boy. Cept we'd end up wit ButtaPombO again, which is far woise den Arnold.

But while Rickey didn't lissen to Rocky, he did lissen to Mr cf and Pretty Goil. Now he seems to be behavin, or is he in Bee Heaven on account of duh friggin endorsement Pretty Boy got from dat paper.

Anyways, as long as his toe is on-line, Rocky ain't gonna bother him. Even if he don't always make cents wit his questions (like Mr $.02), at least he ain't causin trouble no more.

Allman Bros out. Oops - I mean Rocky.

5:55 PM, May 28, 2006  
Anonymous rick said...

C'mon Delta...You're overlooking the obvious that negative campaign is the most effective way to demonstrate the differences (or alternatives) between candidates. The average voter has probably gleaned more about Angilides or Westly by these hit ads than they did from the warm fuzzy puff piece ads each candidate was initially running.

9:02 PM, May 28, 2006  
Blogger JennyBlue said...

Nasty back-biting appears to be what all politicos do, no matter whether red or blue. Sad.

12:28 AM, May 29, 2006  
Blogger Delta said...

Well, Ricky, you are also overlooking the fact that the overall impression of elected officials is that they are all corrupt. You can decide for yourself if this is a fact, that they are truly all corrupt) or whether it is the result of the public absorbing negative ad, after negative ad, for election after election after election. The result is that the ethics issue has largely been removed from political campaigns. What is the big deal? My crook is better than you crook?

As a result, when there is a real choice to be made, as there is in the Republican Primary this year where both McCloskey and Benigno have more ethics in their old grey hair than Pombo has in his whole body, that those voters who should be concerned about it seem to have been innoculated against the ethics charges unless it involves sexual misconduct as was the case where an affair with rumors (un true as it turned out) of complicity in the death of the lover, ruined Gary Condit's career.

We will condemn one ethical lapse, and close our eyes when another gives aid to political supporters who are involed in prostitution and forced abortions, as was the case (Abramoff - Willy Tan - Marianas) that McCloskey and McNerney have raise against Pombo and that George Miller has been raising for years. Does that make prostution and abortion into Republican vales? Hardly. It does support my thesis that the incesccant negative campaigning gives cover to shmucks like Pombo.

7:52 AM, May 29, 2006  
Anonymous bgibb said...

The problem as I see it with the Westly/Angelides situation is not that negative campaigning is always or even usually counterproductive but that in this case the attacks seem to be contrived and that nobody can possibly come away from them without anything but a negative (and probably inaccurate) impression of both men. Rick is certainly right, I believe, in pointing out that negative campaigning has its place and highlights distinctions between candidates. Trumped up attacks, however, do more harm than good, at least in a primary with a legitimate, contested general election to come. Perhaps my gut feeling that both Angelides and Westly are decent choices is wrong—and with each negative ad I see I become more convinced that both of them are shameless.

11:36 AM, May 29, 2006  
Anonymous JohnMac said...

I see two Filsonistas, Rick and bgibb, both going on about how negative campaigning is okay, '...has its place...' so I guess I will know what to look for in the next Filson mail out.

1:13 PM, May 29, 2006  
Anonymous Rocky Balboa said...

Yo Gibby Boy.

Rocky here. Now ain't it just like you and ButtaWipeO to be defendin duh status quotes of negative ads. Youse guys are duh only ones who can get more negatives in a sentence den Rocky, yet still miss duh point - and duh real target.

I mean c'mon Gibby Boy - you gotta brain in yer noggin or what? You even say dat: "with each negative ad I see I become more convinced that both of them are shameless." Can you NOT see the parallel destruction cuzzed by you and ButtaWipeO?

Let Rocky give you a pair-a-phrases: "Wit each Filson attack on McNerney and vice versa, I become more convinced dat both of duh Dems are shameless." Youse get it yet? Or is BOTH of yer heads up yer butts?

No wonder duh San Ramon Valley Dems invited duh Fightin Repuglican into their mist. No wonder why even Rocky tinkin 'bout votin fer a Repug fer duh foist time in his life. And no wonder damn near everyone in dis inner tube circle don't disagree wit Rocky dat Rickey is a buttwipe, and you is dangerously close to him to duh point dat you don't smell like no friggin rose neither. No way and no how.

You and Rickey are pathetic - if it wasn't fer Mr cf and Pretty Goil, I'd flush Pretty Boy right down duh toilet with ButtaPombO.

New Rocky poll - until Pretty Boy gets sum brains and shows character and integrity by firing Rickey ButtaWipeO: McNerney, duh Fightin Repug, Thomas, BeanO, Pretty Boy, and ButtaPombO.

If nuttin else, dis race is about ethics. Tell me why we should trade one ethical scumbag fer anudder - one who can't keep his own staff in line before he's even elected. Time to show what yer made of Pretty Boy.

Rocky out. Yo Mr cf and Pretty Goil. Youse really need to get thru to yer guy - Rickey's gotta go, as even after Reform School he still don't get it.

1:18 PM, May 29, 2006  
Anonymous bgibb said...

Are you guys kidding? First of all, I don't work for Filson and therefore have nothing to do with his mailings. Second, I was not intimating anything about that race, although I shouldn’t be surprised that this degenerated into Filson bashing once again. Perhaps I should have expounded on what I meant by “negative campaigning”—I thought that it might be clear by my reference to the gratuitous insults flying back and forth in the gubernatorial primary. Pointing out the flaws and/or inconsistencies in an opponent’s position is perfectly reasonable (and to act as though McNerney hasn’t done this is pure bull). Making stuff up and wildly exaggerating is not. What exactly about that stance riled you guys up so much? And don’t even get me started on McCloskey—he doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as either McNerney or Filson.

2:53 PM, May 29, 2006  
Anonymous Rick said...

George Skelton has a good column on negative campaigning today. Bill Carrick provides the money quote about the effectiveness of attack ads:

"The harshest ones tend to get less effective each election cycle because people are suspicious about their credibility, having learned through the years that a lot of these negative ads are based on half-truths, fragments of truths, gross exaggerations and are taken out of context."

As for Delta's comments, my rejoinders are as follows:

1). The average person often views political types as corrupt; it's inherent with the job description. And yet they keep electing people to office (who will then theoretically become corrupt). People want it both ways--the democratic process and the ability to bemoan the democratic process.

2). If you want to compare McCloskey and Pombo, you've got to show the differences. There will be an inherent "negative" aspect to this; after all, a comparison is being made. I should note that in McCloskey's first mailer, he devotes two pages to "Why Retire Pombo" which contains several pull quotes, including one stating "One of the 13 most corrupt members of Congress." Not exactly a positive message.

3). It's false equivalence to suggest the ethical problems of Pombo or the Republican Congress are similar to the attack ads in the CA Democratic gubernatorial primary. Pombo and GOPs problems involve potential violations of House rules or Federal and State laws, whereas attack ads are completely legal. Moreover, as attack ads go, these are rather tame. There are not even in the same realm as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads from 2004.

Finally, in regards to the fatuous and idiotic remark by "johnmac," I should note that CA-11 mailings came up on the "Interesting Politics" thread, and it appears that McNerney has gone negative first. This is from jlou:

[...] so far my mom, who resides in San Ramon, has received 2 mailers from McNerney (Filson Loves Nukes and Filson Loves War) and 2 from Filson (Hello I am Steve and Man with a Mission) [...].

Contrary to the nonsense of "johnmac," it looks like Filson is taking the high road...

8:36 PM, May 29, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

Contrary to the nonsense of "johnmac," it looks like Filson is taking the high road...

Filson might be taking the high road, but Robert Kellar, his campaign manager, is busy scurrying in the sewers.

8:47 PM, May 29, 2006  
Blogger JLou said...

I continue to be baffled by high-minded comments in these threads suggesting that Filson is the one that is going to go negative. These comments completely ignore the reality that McNerney, for better or for worse, has gone relentlessly negative against Filson in his mailings. I happen to agree that this is an effective campaign strategy (again, for better or for worse), so I don't particularly blame McNerney for it. But I'm sick of seeing snide comments about Filson and negative campaigning that fly in the face of reality.

8:59 PM, May 29, 2006  
Anonymous asdfghjk said...

If the 2004 presidential primary taught us anything, it's that negative campaigning, particularly in a primary situation, does not work. I am disgusted and turned-off by McNerney's mailers. They did nothing but make me not want to vote for McNerney. And I'm betting I'm not the only one that feels this way.

Filson might be taking the high road, but Robert Kellar, his campaign manager, is busy scurrying in the sewers.

Let's not fault the candidate for the shadiness of the campaign manager. I'm betting that Filson isn't even aware of most of the stuff Robert Kellar has said and done. I have to hope that if Filson was aware, Robert Kellar would have been fired already. I fear that if Filson makes it through the primary (which I fully expect him to) that Robert Kellar will be a very serious liability to the Filson campaign. It needs to be the best of the best as part of the team going up against Pombo.

10:51 PM, May 29, 2006  
Anonymous Rocky Balboa said...

Yo asbxzy.

Or whatever yer name is. How duh hell do you even pro-announce a friggin name like dat? Rocky here.

Finally, a guy who gets it: ButtaWipeO has gotta go. And yo Pretty Goil and Mr. cf - youse need to take dese comments to heart - if Pretty Boy don't know nuttin 'bout what ButtaWipeO is doin, den he needs to become underwear of duh situation so he can fix it. Rickey is turnin voters away from Filson as fast as yer attractin dem. Witness duh latest Rocky poll.


Rocky out. And yo ButtaWipeO - Neither Rocky nor noone else on dis blot want to tune in to no friggin Red Skeleton re-runs, esp cuz all yer doin is tryin to cite sum udder negative buttwipe to promote yer own smelly point of view in attempt to sound all intellectual. Why don't you cite yer hero Karl Rover? I'm sure he's got sum great quotes fer you as well. Big friggin deal. Woo woo woo. Yer a disgrace to Pretty Boy - go work for ButtaPombO, den you could be two peas in an iPod.

8:25 AM, May 30, 2006  
Anonymous JohnMac said...

Well, here's something slightly less fatuous. asdfghjk said.

Let's not fault the candidate for the shadiness of the campaign manager. I'm betting that Filson isn't even aware of most of the stuff Robert Kellar has said and done. I have to hope that if Filson was aware, Robert Kellar would have been fired already. I fear that if Filson makes it through the primary (which I fully expect him to) that Robert Kellar will be a very serious liability to the Filson campaign. It needs to be the best of the best as part of the team going up against Pombo.

Reminds me of the old story of the coach, lambasting a player, asking him, 'Are you ignorant? Or just apathetic?' to which the player replies the only way he can: 'I don't know and I don't care!' If Filson doesn't know what Robert Kellar is doing but supports it anyway (by paying his salary), how is that any better than giving him specific direction? Either case speaks poorly for his judgement and administration skills. You say let's not fault the candidate, but it IS his fault, it's his campaign, his name on the bottom line.

You are right in that he needs to surround himself with honorable and effective people if he's to be the electable candidate, the one who can show Pombo the unemployment line.

1:18 PM, May 30, 2006  
Anonymous Rocky Balboa said...

Yo johnmac.

Rocky here.

Eggsactly. You hit duh nail right on the noggin.

Rocky out.

4:08 PM, May 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. 2% of a buck again (and I'm gonna stick my neck out here)

Can someone puleeeeeeeeeeze come out and state exactly what Kellar is now allegedly doing that is so low and underhanded, so that I can see something besides this whisper campaign without any stated facts or specifics?

I mean, I don't like what Filson & Co, have done from the git go, but this whisper campaign sans facts ("...Robert Kellar, his campaign manager, is busy scurrying in the sewers.") has got to stop, if you're not willing to place some specifics on this blog for people to ponder...

I know about his (Kellar's) alleged whispering about the book endorsement by McNerney, but is there more recently, or is this old news simply being dragged down the road like a dead horse ad nauseum?

$.02 out.

4:52 PM, May 30, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

There is nothing alleged about the book thing. Kellar did it and he has admitted to doing it.

A few days before the convention, Filson campaign manager Robert Kellar called Stella Lopez, president of the Latina Democratic Club of Stockton and a convention delegate.

Kellar shared with her [allegations about the Tallitsch book that I refuse to reprint].


"Stella and I have been friends for a long time and I called her as a friend," Kellar says. "I thought she should know."

He is such a weasel it makes me physically ill that he's in the Democratic Party.

5:06 PM, May 30, 2006  
Anonymous bgibb said...

Matt, you are absolutely shameless. I’ve genuinely attempted to stay away from personal attacks, but this is over the top. What is actually disappointing is that there has not been more outcry on this blog about your underhanded comments that lack all specifics but imply something more than you have. I’m not arguing that it should convince people to switch from McNerney to Filson. But there should be at least an attempt at reasoned debate here, not one moderated by someone bent on skewing everything that is brought up and taking random cheap shots. The book stuff, as mentioned, has been debated extensively. People disagree about the legitimacy of discussing it—but to act as though it’s an example of “scurrying in the sewers” (and that’s only your latest ad hominem attack on an individual whose crime, it bears repeating, from an examination of the evidence you have presented is simply backing a different candidate from you) to bring it up is preposterous, not to mention that it’s old news and your implication was that you had a good deal more than that behind your statement. You blatantly ignore the attacks leveled by McNerney on Filson that actually are contrived and you focus on some garbage that you didn’t like from a few weeks ago. You seem to take yourself pretty seriously. I suggest that you either don’t, or you try to incorporate a degree of ethics into your behavior.

5:43 PM, May 30, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...


a) My remark was complete specific.
b) I do have more than I have detailed, but what I have specified is sufficient for me to make my point.
c) There is an attempt at reasoned debate here.
d) Kellar's crime is being a slimeball by propagating the McNerney/Tallitsch smear. I am not attempting to engage in reasoned debate about this point. I am articulate my perspective. You are free to disagree.
e) Your charge that I am upset with Kellar simply because he supports Filson does not hold water. I have no animus towards CF or JLou. In fact, quite the opposite. I have a great deal of respect for both of them. So to do I respect Brian of the CA-11 blog, who is a Filson supporter. And I even think Samantha, who works for Filson, cares about running an ethical campaign.
f) I think you know that this charge doesn't hold water and are saying it to make this about me, when it's not about me. What I say about Kellar doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. What Kellar says about McNerney to others might have some electoral significance.
g) I don't care that this is "old news." This incident spoke to Kellar's character. I do not think that his character has changed. So it's still pertinent. Furthermore, I wasn't seeking to imply that Kellar was doing something specifically underhanded at this moment. I meant to imply that Kellar is a rat. As far as I'm concerned he continues to be a rat. This was juxtaposed with Filson himself, who seems to be conducting himself reasonably well. My biggest problem with Filson is that he seems to tolerate Kellar's ignoble antics. The implications of this has been discussed elsewhere.
h) If Filson wins the primary I will find a way to support him, but one that does not involve me coming into contact with Rob Kellar. I would not do anything to support Filson if I thought he was a rat like I think Rob Kellar is a rat.
i) I enjoy the irony that I'm being lectured about ethics by someone who hides behind a pseudonym on the internet. I stand by what I have said. And, frankly, someone with such limited access to the pertinent facts ought to be a bit less quick to pass judgement. I don't have anything to prove to you. And I don't care what you think about me or what names you call me. This blog isn't about me. I am insignificant. Kellar, by virtue of his position, is significant.

6:27 PM, May 30, 2006  
Anonymous Rocky Balboa said...

Yo Gibby Boy.

Rocky here. Dis horse race is all about ethics, as Rocky been sayin all along. If you want people to treat you wit respect and run an ethical campaign against yer guy, you gotta do duh same. Cuz udderwise it all sink down to duh lowest common denomination. I mean abomination. You know what I mean?

Now you got duh same right to expect dis of McNerney, you are absolutely right about dat. Dis is why Rocky see some hope fer you, cuz you can be fair when you want. Rocky don't like no fightin amongst us Dems. ButtaPombO is duh enema, but you need to stay away from ButtaWipeO cuz all he wanna do is cite old TV re-runs and attack dogs like Karl Rover to justify makin attacks on udder Dems. He's a friggin moron on general principles and a bad influence on you. Loin politics from Pretty Goil and Mr cf, cuz dey are a better class of people.

Rocky out. And Rocky tink dat dis new post now about duh DCCCCCC vs the Grasssssroots, or Centrist vs Progressive, or Filson vs McNerney, or whatever you wanna call it dis week is just rehashin duh same old argument and foithers destruction amongst us Dems. Dis blot should be takin duh high road, cuz we in duh Inner Circle. It don't always do dat very well. Rocky out again.

6:44 PM, May 30, 2006  
Anonymous Rick said...

Wow...It appears people have concluded that I am not Robert Kellar after all...

9:17 PM, May 30, 2006  
Anonymous Rocky Balboa said...

Yo ButtaWipeO.

Rocky here. No one on dis here blot came to duh conclusion that you ain't Kellar.

Just duh fact dat you feel dis disinclined to make dis friggin moronic statement wit no evidence to back it up makes it dat much more likely dat you is Kellar.

Rocky out. What happened to my friend Mr. VPO? What happened to my friend Nick? Are youse guys still out dere swimmin in duh ether? Rocky miss youse guys. Youse were some of duh leadin ineffectuals on dis here blot before youse disappeared leavin no trace.

10:03 PM, May 30, 2006  
Anonymous Tom Benigno said...

To those who care about "THE ETHICS ISSUE". I know I pounded Pombo every time it was my turn to speak at the one forum we had in Tracy. It didn't seem to matter to the crowd that supported Pombo. Most of Mc Closkey's people and the few I had cheered. The end result was that not enough people saw Pombo in action under fire. The shouts were Liar Liar and it still didn't matter. The end result is that Pombo pulled off another scam. As a result of that forum Pombo won the primary. Mc Nerney needs to get this guy in a corner. Will it happen? Pombo's has no ethics.

Tom Benigno

7:34 AM, June 13, 2006  
Anonymous Tom Benigno said...

Hi Again:
Everytime I asked him a question he sat and smerked. He did answer to my request to explain his theory on endangered Species, and said thanks for asking that question that way, what ever that meant. At the end he shook my hand and said you had better stop telling those ------- lies about me. And I answered What lies you --- whole? That's real dialog. If we can get someone to do lip reading it is on tape. I know there are ladies present.

Tom Benigno

7:45 AM, June 13, 2006  

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