Analyzing Neel Kashkari’s flyer

Analyzing Neel Kashkari’s flyer

Neel 1Today the first statewide political flyer plopped into my mailbox. It’s from Neel Kashkari, running for governor as a Republican. The whole thing is reproduced at the bottom.

This is the first gubernatorial election using the Top Two system. The two candidates with the most votes go on to a November runoff; they can be of either party, both parties, or no parties. Incumbent Democrat Jerry Brown obviously will be one of the winners in the June election, with the other slot being contested by two Republicans, Kashkari and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of Hesperia.

Kashkari and his advisers know that Republican primary voters tend to be conservative. So that’s whom they’re targeting. I’m not a Republican, but a “Decline to State Voter” — and have been since I started voting almost 40 years ago.

Reagan choppingBut I got a flyer because in 2012 I briefly registered GOP so I cloud vote for my libertarian hero, Ron Paul. A lot of good it did. He got just just 10 percent of the vote. But, heh, it made me feel good for about 30 minutes, during which I had dreams of abolishing the income tax and most of the rest of the federal government, restoring the Constitution and living in freedom.

Anyway, Kashkari’s flyer’s theme is that he’ll slash government waste. It shows him wearing jeans and a blue jacket over a light blue t-shirt, holding an ax that smashes the high-speed rail, shown as a gray model train. It’s pretty effective. They flyer calls it “the high-speed crazy train.”

And check out how his pose resembles that of President Ronald Reagan, a conservative hero, chopping wood.

The Kashkari flyer’s words read,

” * Political Outsider.
” * Proven Real World Experience.
” * Taking Aim at Wasteful Government Spending.”

“Neel Kashkari knows how hard it is to earn a dollar…”


Next page:

“CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN” — emphasized again.

Skipping down:

“Neel Kashkari is a problem solver with real world experience
” * Kashkari gets results.
” * He’s helped Silicon Valley high tech companies grow and create California jobs.
” * He worked for the U.S. Treasury under President Bush, helping to lead our nation through the 2007 financial crisis.”

What’s not said: He helped those Silicon Valley companies while a banker at Goldman-Sachs, a company conservatives don’t like because of all the favors it gets from the government.

At at Treasury, he headed the $700 billion TARP bailout that conservatives charge helped Wall Street at the expense of Main Street. The Bush Treasury secretary who appointed Kashkari to the post was former Goldman-Sachs boss Hank Paulson.

The flyer continues:

“Neel Kashkari will turn California around.
” * The first thing on his chopping block? The high-speed crazy train.
” * Kashkari will ensure California invests in what matters most and prioritizes everything else.
” * He’ll end the waste and get spending under control.
” * He’ll get able-bodied people off welfare, food stamps, and unemployment and into the workforce.
” * He’ll work to create jobs and attract new companies to California to get families back to work.”

‘Not a politician’

Page 3 reads:


“Career politicians just don’t get it.
“They don’t know how hard it is to earn a dollar.
“They only know how to spend it.
“Neel Kashkari is running for governor to take an ax to wasteful spending.
“He’ll return money to taxpayers.
“Where it belongs.
“In the hands of those who earned it.”

If that sounds familiar, it’s because those are the themes two other non-politician, wealthy business Republican candidates ran on: Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003 and Meg Whitman in 2010.

It worked for Arnold in 2003. (In his 2006 re-election, at the height of the housing boom fake “prosperity,” Arnold ran a ‘Morning in California campaign.”

But in 2010, Meg Whitman crashed an burned with a similar campaign. Jerrry Brown even ran an ad mocking how her own campaign lines were almost verbatim to those of Arnold, who quipped, “I read my lines better.” Here’s the video:

That was amusing. And it showed the problem Republicans have had of so many of the campaign advisers circulating among their major political campaigns, most of them losing efforts.

But the real problem was not with Meg, but with Arnold’s final years being so disastrous that Brown performed a jiu-jitsu flip on the “career politician” charge and stressed his experience and competence against Meg being an Arnold-style political amateur.


Kashkari actually seems as though, should he somehow be elected, he would be more competent politically than either. Arnold thought he could continue his successful charm-them-into-compliance Hollywood negotiating style in the Capitol political snakepit, and instead got rolled.

Meg cringed through her whole campaign as she blew a $180 million personal campaign bankroll. The contrast was obvious between her and Brown who, whatever one thinks of his policies, absolutely loves politics and campaigning.

Kaskhari obviously knows that his chances of becoming governor are now in 2014. But Sen. Barbara Boxer’s seat comes up again in 2016. If a Republican wins the presidency in 2016, multiple cabinet posts will be open. And in 2018 Brown will have to leave due to term limits.

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