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Meg Whitman's Plan to Buy California Governorship Is Faltering

By September 10, 2010

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Former corporate chieftain Meg Whitman's campaign to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as another "moderate" Republican California governor is in trouble, despite polls in September giving her a slight edge over Democrat Jerry Brown.

Whitman's stalled drive to outright buy the governorship is fortunate for the most populous state in the union, as the very last thing economically-ailing California needs is another extremely wealthy political neophyte who fervently believes that, despite her total lack of political experience, that she has all the answers to manage what would be, on a stand-alone basis, the eighth largest economy in the world.

By Labor Day, Whitman, a former Goldman Sachs board member, had lent to her campaign coffers and spent more than $100 million, much of it lavished on gorgeous, uber-cool, content-free TV ads that have blanketed the state for months. (I defy anyone to watch one of Whitman's feel-good TV spots, and be able to articulate her position on... well, any top issue.)

In contrast, Brown ran his first TV ad over Labor Day weekend, and had spent no more than $1 million on his frugal campaign efforts. Brown's characteristic tendencies toward slight annoying (to liberals) fiscal conservatism haven't changed over his three decades of public service: "Democrat Jerry Brown had raised $24.3 million as of June 30 and spent just $519,000," per the Orange County Register.

Despite outspending Brown by a ratio of more than 100-to-1, Whitman has mustered only a 1.5 point lead, per RealClearPolitics.com poll averages, which is well within the margin of error. Whitman's early big spending has failed to either define herself as a viable leader, or to preemptively eliminate Jerry Brown from competition.

That, too, is fortunate for California, as Whitman's actual plans and proposals for the Golden State are absolutely wrong for these tough times, and would badly exacerbate the terrible fiscal mess and sky-high unemployment created by Whitman's fellow Republican celebrity Governator Arnold. Among Whitman's worst ideas are:

  • Replacement of 40,000 state employees by outsourcing or privatizing state services to for-profit corporations.
  • Major reduction or outright elimination of a wide range of business taxes.
  • Cutting back funding for California's underfunded public education system, apparently by reducing "50 categorical grants, many of which which are duplicative and far to prescriptive, into simplified grants... "
  • Her firm pledge to roll back California's historic clean energy and climate legislation, at least for a year, in her continued effort to help corporations at all costs.

It's no wonder that twenty top California economists, led by Nobel Laureate Kenneth Arrow of Stanford University, banded together last month to warn Californians that:

"The evidence and theory that Whitman uses to diagnose California's problems are unscientific and an unsound basis for policy. As a result, her diagnosis and her proposed economic policies are both deeply flawed. If implemented, her policy proposals will deepen California's budget crisis and are likely to reduce employment and economic growth."

It's also no wonder that, before Californians could understand her horribly misguided agenda, billionaire Meg Whitman sought early on to crush gubernatorial competition with her vast fortune via content-free, feel-good moments of TV bliss that mindlessly burble on about "creating jobs" and "fixing our schools."

Californians have been through too much economic disaster with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's inexperience, arrogant self-confidence, and massively failed ideas. They're not about to make that same mistake again.

Read Profile of Jerry Brown, California Governor Candidate, who is precisely the right leader at the right, difficult time to make an improbable return to be California Governor.

Also take the time to read 2010 Governors' Races - Who's Winning, Who's Losing - News, Inside Analysis of 2010 State Governors' Races.

(Photo of California Attorney General Jerry Brown taken on August 31, 2010: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


September 10, 2010 at 4:14 pm
(1) Chuck says:

First of all, Arnold’s efforts to fix California have been stifled by the Democrats who control and have controlled the CA legislator for decades.

Decades of liberal policies have brought this state to it’s knees financially. I remember 20 years ago when CA was the 5th largest economy in the world. Too bad it’s 8th now as you state.

If you liberals keep raising taxes and implementing your socialist programs only you will be left.

Your government programs can’t survive without the private sector. What part of that don’t you understand?

September 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm
(2) Jason says:

Got to love it. We have a well written, meticulously analyzed piece on Meg Whitman with the first responder not responding once to it, instead falling back on the tired “It’s all the Democrats’ fault!” rhetoric. LOL!

Good job, Deb. Whitman would be a bigger disaster than the current dodo head at the state level. I doubt even GOP legislators (just to nip little Chucky’s position in the bud) could attempt to justify Ahnuld’s actions, much less formulate an argument that the sole blame for CA’s woes at the moment remain the sole “Democratic socialist agenda.”

September 11, 2010 at 3:47 am
(3) Earl Richards says:

Meg Whitman is too close to the corrupt and fraudulent investment banker, Goldman Sachs. If elected, Whitman will give more tax breaks to eBay, Valero, Hewlett-Packard, Chevron and the likes, and take away wheelchairs from the people in the In-Home Supportive Services and throw them out, onto the streets of nothingness.

September 15, 2010 at 9:26 am
(4) Valerie Parkhurst says:

I find your excuse of this states many failures funny that you lay at the feet of the Governor. Its almost laughable.

The real power brokers of California (brokering power for only themselves) have been the left liberal old democratic guard who’s mindset is they “live and govern in a world in which they would LIKE it to be, not as it is”.

Everytime hard decisions needed to be made, the Governor was stalemated by your “democratic power brokers” until you all woke up one day and decided to blame your woes on the most “high profile” guy in the Crowd, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. You liberals remind me of people whose basement floods out every year then shake your heads and blame it on the rain..give me a break..

September 17, 2010 at 5:41 pm
(5) r k kahlon says:

Fancy Pants has spent over $100 million w/ no signs of her mighty bankroll slowing down one bit. Whitman says she has to do what she has to do in order to defend herself from those BIG…BAD…liberal unions and her opponent, Jerry Brown…or did she say it the other way around?

The unions have spent close to $20 million. You’re stomping them, Meg! It’s no contest. You and your $100’s of millions at the ready are no match against the salaries of teachers, police officers, nurses, etc. Atta’ woman, Meg!

Meanwhile, unions are spending the bulk of their efforts fighting for luxuries like pension plans & health care packages that actually benefit sick people instead of ins. co’s.

As for JB, he just got a great deal on organic okra @ his local farmer’s market (unconfirmed).

October 4, 2010 at 3:44 pm
(6) Cris says:

On the other hand, in the debate between Meg and Brown organized by Univision, Meg just showed how arrogant she is by not taking responsibility of her actions. She is spending too much money in her campaign, 119 million dollars, how many people can eat with that or even get education. She will be the worst ever leader California can have. My vote is for Brown, who most decently, has an agenda that appears to be more reasonably. As Latino, I am offended by Meg for firing her maid for being illegal right after starting her campaign when she has her for 9 years working for her. This show how she cares about her image and not the need of others. She is discriminatory and makes no sense in her agenda only trying to satisfy the public with what they want to hear. She ignores legalization of undocumented immigrants and forces not hire one when she did for 9 years and was not accountable for it. She is not a good governor. I invite the Latino community to think twice and vote for Brown for a better California.

October 8, 2010 at 6:49 pm
(7) corina says:

Meg Whitman only wants to be governor because its gonna be a profit for her. She doesnt want to help the people of california, she wants more money and business investments thats why she wants all those tax breaks for businesses. How many of us are really gonna buy factory equipment!? C’mon people OPEN YOUR EYES. Sure, Jerry Brown aint the sharpest tool in the shed, but he is the least of 2 evils and Californians need all the help they can get!

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