The latest meme spreading among the punditocracy on the governor’s race is that Meg Whitman has ideas, but Jerry Brown doesn’t – so therefore Whitman has the advantage. There’s just one little problem with this view: Whitman’s ideas are extremely bad for California and our future.
Here’s Steve Lopez writing in the LA Times this weekend:
Unfortunately, I said – and Sloman agreed – Brown hasn’t applied that experience to any coherent or practical plan. And that would turn out to be the theme of the day, even when I later walked across the street to the Armory Center for the Arts to see what younger voters had to say about the Field Poll. (Janine Christiano, 29, and Robbin Owens, 41, who run the front office at the arts center, told me they care about ideas and capacity for growth, not age).
Sure, some of the senior center’s regulars said, age can be a factor if you begin to lose your edge. But it’s not nearly as big a deal as a candidate’s record and game plan.
Some of this is premature speculation. Jerry Brown has made it pretty clear he’s going to run an August-to-November campaign, in contrast to Meg Whitman who has dominated the TV with ads since the Winter Olympics.
At some point Brown will indeed have to offer his clear, coherent vision for California’s future, as I have been arguing since at least last fall. But that’s necessary for Brown to bring out his voters to the polls. If Brown doesn’t do it, it doesn’t mean that the mere fact Whitman has a game plan means it’s any good.
In fact, if you look at Meg Whitman’s platform, it’s comprised of the same failed ideas that George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger used during the last decade, producing the current economic crisis.
One of Whitman’s core proposals is a call to increase the unemployment rate and drive the state into a double-dip recession by mass layoffs of public employees and further massive cuts to public services. Sure, it’s a clear idea, but it’s an extremely bad one, as almost any sensible economic observer would tell you.
Yes, Jerry Brown needs to offer his vision. But until he does, California’s media needs to do a better job of exposing the flaws of Whitman’s own plans. They would also do well to heed Calbuzz and stop letting Whitman off the hook when she lies:
A candidate couldn’t say one thing one day – like, for example, that they were opposed to a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants – and another thing another day – like they basically agree with an opponent who favors a path to citizenship. They’d be afraid of being called a liar in the papers, and that would actually matter.
But in the California governor’s race it now appears that we are witnessing the Death of Truth. From a cosmic perspective, this has come about because…
– The lugubrious mainstream media is often strangled by self-imposed, on-the-one-hand-on-the-the-hand, false-equivalency “balance,” in part intimidated by loud, if unfounded accusations of “bias” most frequently lobbed by the right-wing. Thus the MSM at times seems unable and/or unwilling to cut through the miasma and call a lie a lie or a liar a liar.
Whitman’s campaign consists either of lies or of bad ideas. Jerry Brown’s going to need to contrast that with his own vision rooted in the truth. But until he does, Whitman shouldn’t get a pass.