This will be quick, or maybe not, because what with computer problems keeping me off the air or internet or whatever I am supposed to call it I feel like I am way behind on my regular commentary and analysis of news and politics and other things.
But I did catch the first debate between Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown the other night.
My immediate impression afterwards (I did miss several minutes in the beginning, I believe) was that they basically tied with neither delivering a knockout punch.
Whitman was crisp but canned,while Brown was a little too casual at times, although he certainly is in command of facts (as he sees them anyway) and California political history, and why not on the latter? He’s been a big part of it. I thought he could have left out the wise cracking about himself — the part where he said he used to close the bars at night (I thought he was probably more into marijuana), but is older now. He seemed to be saying the fact that he has entered geezerhood is a good thing (his initial one-word answer for why he would not be running for president was “age”). He said he’s too old to leave his governor chair to run for president as he did a couple of times in the past (he did serve as governor back in the 70s for those who might not recall).
Whitman to me, both in and out of the debate, comes off as kind of arrogant. She is currently being subjected to a nanny gate scandal — having had an illegal alien working for her as a house woman. Of course it is dirty politics, but there may be some truth there, even if some may be distorted (or not).
With the frustration of California voters high over a dysfunctional state government it would seem to me that Whitman has a good chance — not to mention the millions of dollars of her own money she is pouring into the race — more than any other candidate in history. But you can’t necessarily buy an election. A rich but political unknown candidate tried to buy a U.S. Senate seat with his own money many years ago. He was Michael Huffington. Didn’t work. Whitman is or at least was an unknown. By her own admission she did not even bother to vote in elections for years (just like so many do and then wonder why things do not go their way) . But I suppose now that she has conquered business, credited with a successful run as CEO of eBay, she wants to become a political power. She argues that with her business acumen she can put the state’s economic house in order and that because she has not been a politician it will not be politics as usual.
As Brown and others have pointed out, that is what the current Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, claimed. Didn’t work.
While I am not for Whitman, I am hesitant over Brown, whom I like to listen to, but whom I am not all that sure is the right person for the job this time around. However, he is not a Republican and he is not Whitman.
I would be willing to give Whitman a chance, though, if I could hear something good from her. But so far I have heard that she put Fresno down for being another Detroit (unemployment and ghettos, I guess), which may well be close to accurate, but why would you want to say such a thing if you are going to represent all the people of the state? She also took a swipe at San Francisco during the debate, saying that she would seek to do away with sanctuary cities (again, not a good way to make friends and get votes).
Whitman also said something to the effect that while she opposes illegal immigration she knows that farmers need Mexicans to pick our fruit and vegetables so we need some type of guest worker program (I think a lot of these guys want to bring their families with them these days).
What I think we need is less demand for hand or stoop labor (where possible), better pay, and a welfare system that requires people out of work but able to work to at least consider what might sometimes be considered a less desirable job and not simply pawn all the dirty work off on undocumented workers and then complain that there are too many illegals in the country.
One more thing about the debate. It did not deal in substantive issues for the most part because for one thing the candidates, and particularly Whitman, quickly ran to their canned talking points.
Probably it is to Whitman’s advantage if the discussion does not get down to substance since she is not steeped in the politics of California.
Brown is vulnerable because by his own admission he has been there and done that and that is what the electorate is unhappy with — all those who have been there and done that but maybe not so well (and I don’t mean to say Brown failed, but he will be lumped in with those who have).
I plan to read up on the Whitman nannygate issue so I can more meaningfully comment on it.
UPDATE: While conceding that when I am reading off the computer and am in a blogging mode I have a tendency to skim and maybe miss some things, from what I have just read so far I tend to think that Meg has been caught in some immigration hypocrisy. It was she who railed against illegals in the debate and it was she who said employers must face stiff sanctions for knowingly hiring them. It would seem she learned that she had done just that but was willing to look the other way until she decided to run for governor. She and her husband also seemed to have engaged in the vile wink wink nod nod thing that those in power use against the weak. If this gets out I don’t know you. At the same time, there does seem to be some phoniness in the charges by the house maid and her high-priced lawyer, both of whom no doubt see a big pay day in the offing — can you say blackmail? http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_16217505
KGO radio talk show host Gene Burns declared Whitman the winner of the debate hands down. He seemed to suggest that because she handled herself well and did not come off as a Sarah Palin, she won. I think maybe he came to that conclusion, her winning, more to draw comment from his listenership in the liberal Bay Area, more than he may have really thought she won. I might have been tempted to say she won myself because she seemed more serious at times (in tone, anyway), but I could not identify anything of substance she said. She kept repeating that Einstein said that the mark of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again when it has proven not to work. If she loses the election and all she has said is that, she may prove that theory correct.