How Elizabeth Emken can beat DiFi

by CalWatchdog Staff | July 10, 2012 10:50 am


July 10, 2012

By John Seiler

A new Field Poll[2] shows Republican Elizabeth Emken badly trailing incumbent Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 51 percent to 32 percent among likely voters. In the new Top Two system, there are no third party votes Emken could poach to increase her number.

Check out her recent appearance on Fox Business[3].

The new Field Poll shows that Feinstein, whatever happened in the new Top Two primary system, holds her usual commanding lead over a Republican challenger. And similar 2010 results were garnered by Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Barbara Boxer against their Republican proponents.

So, how can Emken win?

In the Fox interview, Emken brings up the usual “talking points”: California spends too much. It shouldn’t get  federal aid. Feinstein hasn’t helped. Etc. Booooooring.

It’s not going to work, any more than similar talking points did for Whitman and Fiorina two years ago. The political climate is a little better this time for Republicans, assuming Romney improves his so far pathetic campaign. This time in California, the risible Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger no longer sits in the governor’s chair enacting far-left policies and driving GOP voters from the state. He’s off somewhere making movies to pay alimony.

But the political climate remains toxic for Republicans.

What Emken needs to do is personalize the campaign against DiFi. I recommended such an approach two years ago to the campaign of Proposition 23[4], which would have repealed AB 32, the jobs-killing Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

[5]The anti-Prop. 23 campaign sure figured out how to win. Look at the image at the right from their campaign. They attacked the oil companies financing Prop. 23 as “Dirty Energy,” demonizing the Texans as being like J.R. Ewing, from the “Dallas” TV show.

In “How Prop. 23 Still Can Win[6]” here on, I recommend, “They need to personalize the campaign — against Arnold.” They didn’t, of course. They lost. Big time.[7]

Personalize it

The Emken campaign needs a tougher camapign against DiFi. First, they need to pick one unpopular issue she’s associated with. Taxes might be the issue. But that’ll be a mess involving the Romney-Obama battle. Because Romney will get wiped out in California no matter what, she should avoid that. And if she gets involved in the anti-Jerry Brown tax increase too much, she’ll just get in the middle of that, eclipsing her own campaign.

But there’s a ready-made outrage: the California High-Speed Rail boondoggle. The Legislature just voted to waste our tax dollars on it. Gov. Jerry Brown is going to sign the waste. And DiFi is a big supporter. She said[8]: “Do I think it’s doable? Yes…. That’s a decision that has to be made.”

This also is a perfect issue for the divisions in the state. To get the votes in the state Senate to pass the Browndoggle, supporters had to pile the pork high in the Bay Area, Feinstein’s home turf. Emken would be lucky to get 10 votes there. So, demonize the Bay Area — divide it from the rest of the state. Play on resentments that Southern California and the inland areas have for the those snooty Marin County elitists.

And although John and Ken have been calling it the Browndoggle, after the spendthrift governor, the Emken campaign should dub it the “Diannedoggle.” It has a nice alliteration to it.


This could be an ad:

Headline: “Diannedoggle.”

Animation: The High-Speed Rail train crashing.

Voiceover: “At a time when scarce tax dollars are needed for our schools, Sen. Dianne Feinstein supports wasting that money on a boondoggle train that critics say could cost well over $100 million. It’s the Diannedoggle.”

Video: Picture of hundreds of billions of dollars burning in the train wreckage. Picture of DiFi.

Voiceover: “That’s why it’s being called the Diandoggle: It’s a boondoggle that’s supported by Dianne Feinstein and will benefit her rich Marin County friends.”

Video: Helicopter of massive beach mansions in Marin County.

Voiceover: “With the rest of California picking up the tab through tax increases. This November 6, defeat the bullet train Diannedoggle. Beat Dianne Feinstein. Vote for Elizabeth Emken for U.S. Senate.”

That also should be Emken’s message in all public and TV appearances.

A month ago, I wrote that Emken “looks too nice to be in politics. Politics is a nasty business[9].” Look at her campaign ad at the top. It reads, “Retire Feinstein!”

It at least should be: “Dump Dianne!!!!” Better: “Dump Dianne!!!! Stop the Diannedoggle!”

Her campaign called me and insisted that she’s “tough enough to win.”

OK. Prove it. Follow my advice.


Correction: The original version of this article contained a paragraph that turned out to be incorrect because I heard the video wrong. That paragraph has been cut out. An alert reader pointed it out to us.

— John Seiler


  1. [Image]:
  2. A new Field Poll:
  3. appearance on Fox Business:
  4. Proposition 23:,_the_Suspension_of_AB_32_(2010)
  5. [Image]:
  6. How Prop. 23 Still Can Win:
  7. Big time.:,_the_Suspension_of_AB_32_(2010)
  8. She said:
  9. looks too nice to be in politics. Politics is a nasty business:

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