By Chic Hollis – Philosophical Musings
Next time you run for an elective office maybe you will eschew negative ads and tell potential voters how you personally made eBay into such a successful enterprise. St. Matthew’s savvy observation was: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”
If you hadn’t noticed, the not-so-golden state is already divided today. People are unhappy and sniping at one another all the time. Your campaign philosophy aimed at increasing the polarization of registered voters was not a fertile field to cultivate if you truly wanted to grow popular interest in your unpublished plan to improve state finances and create jobs.
Unity comes from building a consensus of voters who might understand the few solutions that exist to fix unresolved social problems. Any person seeking elected office must try to convince the independent voters that she is the candidate most capable of implementing some reasonable solution.
Your “handlers” fail to see how President Obama’s successful strategy worked for him against more experienced and respected candidates. He avoided negative ads, and concentrated on the message of trying to change the modus operandi in the District of Corruption from a polarized environment to a more bipartisan one. So far he has failed, as did Arnold here in California.
Unfortunately, your handlers did not realize that you had three strikes against you. Consequently, they were ineffective in convincing independent voters to vote for you. Those three strikes were:
1.) A recent period of Republican governorship that changed nothing. Voters were angry and dissatisfied with the prior Democrat governor. Despite Arnold’s good intentions and sincere proposals to change how political “business” is carried out in Sacramento, the legislature did nothing to respond to his overtures, and the voters rejected his propositions at the polls.
2.) Any person, as rich as you apparently are, needs to keep a low profile because voters don’t trust rich people. Voters in this broken state are aware that a vast majority of hard working decent folks don’t get rich. And those who do, manage to take care of themselves in a suspicious way. In view of the elite who were enriched by the mortgage debacle, I’ll let you figure out for yourself why your wealth was a strike against you. You are a bright businesswoman. It was your money to spend, but the liberal media were determined to make you out to be a posh, well-heeled, aloof executive who doesn’t care about employees and their personal problems. (And I won’t mention your glamorous wardrobe choices.)
3.) You have no political experience and didn’t choose handlers who could guide you properly. Two major political gaffes hurt your campaign: the long employment of an illegal immigrant and the negative ads against your weak “has-been” adversary. The positive spin about yourself was never emphasized. About the only thing that was constantly repeated in the media comments about your “run for office” was the growing amount of your personal wealth squandered on your campaign.
The firing of a servant who worked in your family for so many years showed the public two things: First, you weren’t very close to her after all those years or you would have known that she was illegal. Second, if you had taken better care of her needs, she wouldn’t have ratted you out to the opposition in order to hurt your campaign as it was bound to do in a state that has so many illegal immigrants roaming around.
The negative ads are the invention of the political elite who want to believe that “dirty” politicians won’t be reelected. Independent voters are not swayed by mud-slinging. What is more important to them is not the dirty image of a questionable candidate, but the clean image of his or her opponent. The vast majority of the general public doesn’t know any candidate very well. Obama’s success was to appear knowledgeable, sincere, humble, and in touch with what needed change. He didn’t try to plaster McCain with mud, although he attacked the Republican administration for its obvious ineptitude in waging wars and managing the economy.
The last item of your political naivete (ignoring your voting record) was your promise to provide the doubtful inhabitants of this financially stressed state a detailed plan of how you were going to fix things. In the last debate anyone could see that Brown had no plan, but your “plan” was only referred to obliquely. No details were offered that could be discussed to convince voters that you had the political moxie to bring about a change in how the Democratic legislature spends tax revenue and fudges the annual budget.
Part of the failure in your campaign was endorsing the typical chant of stupid Republicans: “I’m going to improve things without raising taxes.” No one believes that message after so many years of deficits, fee increases, and budget gimmicks. How were you “planning” to handle the broken pension system, the messy prison problems, the deficit in unemployment compensation, and the annual budget crisis? If you had concrete ideas about how you were going to accomplish change, no one was talking or writing about them.
What was the overall message about you conveyed to the general public by the media? “I am a rich woman who didn’t vote very often, who employed an illegal immigrant, and who ought to be governor because I can buy that job with my money using my conservative Republican philosophy!”
Sorry, Meg, the independent voters in California that you were counting on to vote for you instead of Brown didn’t buy into that posturing. Let Jerry do his thing now. Four years from now the independents will be ready to scalp him. And he doesn’t have much hair left!
In sympathy for Meg, Chorus, please join me in singing that 1959 Academy Award winning song that John F. Kennedy used for his successful campaign in 1960, High Hopes.
Remember how that song began? “I have high hopes, high hopes, apple pie in the sky hopes.”
The Kennedy version ended: “Oops! there goes the opposition kerplop!”
Whitman’s version ends: “Oops! there goes another ten million kerplop!”