Meg Whitman, Shrinking Violet

Steven Greenhut: Meg Whitman, or at least one of her 1,428 campaign aides, is outraged that a Jerry Brown aide referred to her as a — hold your ears, ye of little strength — “whore” because of the way she ditched serious pension reform in order to court police unions. Whitman is pretending to be above the outrage and is calling on her supporters to focus on what’s really important to Californians (getting her elected so that she can, well, do whatever it is she will do as governor). But her campaign is trying to portray this supposed tough-as-nails former CEO as a victim of a horrific slur. And indeed, she is epitomizing the victimhood of all women because of this, per the story line put out by the aforementioned aides. Big deal. I’m guessing that the Whitman people have used a few nasty slurs themselves in the privacy of their own meetings, although Whitman at least runs a professional enough operation where at least some flunky knows how to hang up a phone. Her campaign is hermetically sealed, which avoids these types of childish errors, but it also avoids showing the public a human side to this mechanical and unappealing candidate. In reality, Whitman is a sell out on pensions — there’s no need to use the w-word. She decided that gaining the endorsement of unions is more important than standing up to the unions. This flap will help Brown make the “Nixon Goes To China” case vis a vis public employee unions. I don’t buy it, but I can’t imagine that Whitman will have any political capital to stand up to the unions provided she even has the desire to do so, which is looking more doubtful with each passing day.

OCT. 11, 2010


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