I have been receiving so many robo-calls this past week. And many Meg Whitman mailers. A few weeks ago, I was a lucky recipient of the Meg Mag, a 48 page magazine titled Meg 2010: Building a New California. I was going to vote for her until I received that extravaganza. The state of California is going broke and she is running as a fiscal conservative who will get the state spending under control. Before the Meg Mag I knew she was spending $65 million on her Primary campaign (well, $68 million now, but who's counting?) and I recognized intellectually that she was spending too much.
But when I got the Meg Mag I couldn't stand the cognitive dissonance. I thought of the old saying "the medium is the message". Whatever good was in the content of the Meg mag, the message I got was the profligacy of creating such a campaign mailer. It is the size of a news weekly. And many pages are just photographs, with maybe a caption or a few lines of text. The message I got was: Spendthrift.
I decided to pay attention to Steve Poizner. And I liked what I saw. As Deborah Saunders explains in her piece on the Meg Mag, Whitman can spend, but can she govern?, Poizner has been
a Republican active in politics over the last decade. While Whitman didn't even register as a Republican until 2007, Poizner volunteered in public schools, steeped himself in the charter school movement and ran for office in a decidedly Democratic district. Failing in that race, he went on to win the state insurance commissioner's post, a rare statewide office win for a Republican. Poizner proclaimed, "I'm not a rookie."
The I got another Meg Whitman vanity piece. This is smaller than the Meg Mag, but even worse in terms of its message. The cover is a large photo of Meg Whitman as a young girl with her mother. Her mother looks nice in a Barbara Bush sort of way and Meg is about 12 or so. Then you open the cover and there is a portrait photo of Meg, again at about 12 or so. The text on the accompanying page reads
"My mom, Margaret, was a determined woman and taught me I could accomplish anything. When we were young, she packed my brother, sister, and me into a Ford Econoline van, and we spent three months car-camping throughout the West" California seemed larger than life, a place where anything seemed possible."I thought, this is ridiculous. This is childish. The point we Californians have learned is that anything is not possible, at least any more. We are going broke! Why are you spending your money sending me this?
So, now I've shared my secret with you all, the negative opinion I've formed of Meg Whitman. And I've marked my ballot. I voted for Poizner because he has shown an interest in the issues facing California for many years now. He is currently serving in state government. And I think he will hold up better against Jerry Brown in the General Election. Brown is frugal and always was. Whitman has proven herself to be a spendthrift. And California needs a frugal governor.