Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Politics: the Dirtiest Game in Town

I've been battered by Meg Whitman's negative political ads for the last year, and all I can say is November can't come soon enough. I'm a committed Democrat, so the chances that I would vote for Ms. Whitman are highly unlikely, but I do have some questions that I'd like answered (and these apply to other Republicans who are running in national elections and who also seem to sneer at a system that they are dying to be an integral part of). An actual response as opposed to the canned sound bites would be appreciated. Because I should tell you that the sound bites are no longer working. You're starting to sound like a robot. FYI, you should be very worried. The newspapers of my youth (which never met a Republican they didn't love) endorsed Jerry Brown. The L.A. Times(!) endorsed Jerry Brown.

So first off, I can't help but see spending $120 million of one's own money as nothing more than a power grab. Because you didn't believe in the process of government to ever cast a vote, and yet now you're asking for my vote. I see a profound disconnect there. We should we endorse you to run a system that you've never endorsed? Your apology during the first debate was pretty damn sad. I can see missing one election. Maybe two. But your voting record is abysmal. There's no other word for it. It says that you really didn't care about the system because, hey, you were busy making money. And I will point out that this system that you say is so broken allowed you to amass enough money to comfortably spend $120 million on a political campaign. So what is it? Is the system that you have chosen to sneer at broken or it is working? Your bank account would seem to bear testimony that it's working REALLY well. Let's put it this way. My bank account wouldn't let me wage a political campaign to the tune of millions of dollars.

Second, I really don't get where you talk about your Silicon Valley experience as some sort of general blueprint for success. You keep trotting out the word "manufacturing." I will point out the eBay manufactures nothing. You don't even manufacture the content! You merely provide people with servers and search engines so that they can sell stuff. That's NOT manufacturing. That's, well, selling stuff. Even more ridiculous, you're not even selling your own stuff; you sell other people's stuff. So how can you even begin to talk about manufacturing like you're some expert where the closest you've ever been to manufacturing is, well, hell. You've never been close to manufacturing anything other than your own image.

I didn't want to get into the nanny thing, but needs must. I'm somewhat sympathetic to you up to a point. I actually take as a given that you didn't know. Although we differ dramatically on the issue of immigration, I do believe you that you didn't know. That's where my sympathy ends.

First of all, if you were so desperate to court the Latino vote, then you made a fatal mistake in hiring Pete Wilson as your campaign manager (Mr. Prop 197). To have that man as your chief strategist says all we need to know about you really feel about the immigration issue. If it wasn't all sound bites, then you wouldn't have had him as your second in command. So, yeah, major fail there. Second major fail? You should have used this situation with your nanny to cement yourself as a tough but compassionate person who understands that this is a complex issue. Your strident sound bites on immigration came to bite you in the ass. You know first hand how complex this issue is; you LIVED it. So you tell this woman that you cannot have her employed in your family because you are breaking the law. Then you give her a significant severance package and you hire her a lawyer. Because as you say, she's family. You use this in your campaign as an example of how you understand the issues and how this touches all our lives. Even yours.

This would have been a tremendous bonus to your campaign because there is nothing about your life that is remotely like mine with the exception that we both have two children. THAT'S IT. Your extreme wealth, politics, and values make us polar opposites. That's the burden that enormously wealthy politicians have to carry: that intrinsic lack of empathy for those in need.  I knew the minute that George Bush, Sr. didn't know how a supermarket scanner worked that he was toast against Bill Clinton (whatever his faults, he understands what it's like for someone working 9-5). On possibly the one issue that I might have been actually sympathetic to you, you fired this woman so that she wouldn't be burden to you going into a campaign. What naive planet are you on that you didn't think this wouldn't haunt you? Is it because she was so insignificant that you never thought she'd have the wherewithal to challenge your version of events, which, yeah, was nicely played out when you accused her of stealing your mail. In case you didn't know, that's entitlement with a capital "E."

Also, if you don't have any proof that the Brown campaign orchestrated this smear stop saying it. Because if there isn't any proof, you are only digging yourself in deeper and deeper as someone who has a massive sense of entitlement (there's that word again!), who is not beholden to the laws everyone else is, and when you get caught, then you whip out your entitlement to blame someone else. You are not the first high-profile person to be caught with your pants down regarding undocumented workers in a household. Own up to your mistakes, and then people might lighten up or give you a pass on your nonchalance regarding her eligibility documents.

Another bit of unsolicited advice: Pull that ad that says, "I spent one day at the border and the border patrol don't have nearly the resources they need." One day. Wow. One FULL day. Amazing. Now you are an expert. I imagine Jerry Brown in his stint as Attorney General and Governor could dreg up more than just eight hours to study this issue.

Now we come to the real problem, Meg. The very fact that you have spent that much money on a campaign says that you are used to buying your way into situations. It's like someone put the governorship of California up on eBay and you keep upping the bid, determined to win. You have been so immersed in a system where anything can be bought if you keep bidding, that you don't understand that some things cannot or should not be bought. Certainly not by someone who couldn't even get her ass into a voting booth once a year.

So I'm curious. How are you going to get things done in Sacramento should you get there? Buy legislators? Because, FYI, they don't have the war chests you do, and they are VOTED in (by people who vote). This is a concept I know you have trouble with because you keep saying that you're not beholden to anyone. I think everything you have done in this campaign has shown this to be a bald-faced lie.

You are beholden to money and power.

You are the poster child for why we need campaign finance reform. I hope you go down in flames.

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