Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Mud People

Faced with politicians who would rather destroy each other than save the state, we the people will once again trudge to the poles to seek redemption.

It wasn't that long ago that we mustered all our political wisdom and picked an Austrian body builder as our champion. Not surprisingly, we got biceps instead of brains, a Grade B performer whose on-screen heroics were no match for real-life issues.

Note to self: When an office seeker launches his campaign from the yuk factory that is the "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" be very afraid.

So who now? Democrats are looking down the barrel of a shotgun wedding with Jerry Brown. Republicans get to choose between Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner, who seem intent on defining themselves by slinging mud.

To hear tell, here are our choices:

Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, is a billionaire trying to buy her way into the governor's mansion and tried to bully Poizner out of the contest.

Her tenure at eBay was highlighted by the creation of a special site for the sale of pornography and sex paraphernalia.

She was involved with the controversial Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs and received sweetheart stock deals so unethical they were outlawed.

She refused to vote Republican for 28 years, is soft on illegal immigration, supports taxpayer funding of abortions and is, in fact, a closet liberal who supported Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Steve Poizner is way more liberal than he says he is.

He attempted to undercut Proposition 13, the 1978 ballot initiative that has kept property taxes in check. During the state budget crisis, Poizner, former treasurer, increased his department's spending by nearly 14 percent.

When the governor requested furloughing some state employees, Poizner was the only Republican to stand in opposition, siding with public employee unions and liberal Democrats.

Poizner gave $10,000 to help Al Gore try to win the 2000 presidential election which calls his conservative credentials into question.

None of the preceding is necessarily true, of course, but this is all we hear when the two leading candidates are engaged in an all-out assault on each other.

The truth, as determined by a number of political fact checking websites, is far less sexy.

Whitman is indeed very wealthy. And her people did in fact asked Poizner "about the viability of his campaign" which Poizner interpreted as "criminal intimidation tactics."

EBay does have an adults only section. On the other hand, Whitman abolished gun sales on the site.

Whitman has never voiced support for "amnesty" for illegal aliens or for President Obama's position on this issue.

Whitman didn't "refuse to vote Republican." She didn't vote for anyone over the last several decades, a record she admits is "atrocious."

It's true that Whitman supports taxpayer funding of abortions. But in 2004, Poizner did too, saying so on a Planned Parenthood questionnaire.

Whitman did support Barbara Boxer, along with 14 other Silicon Valley executives because the senator opposed taxes on the Internet.

Whitman did have an involvement with the controversial Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs. She got shares in initial public stock offerings, and resold them within hours, often for a handsome profit. Goldman was essentially giving Whitman the shares as a gift - in return, she would nudge eBay business Goldman Sach's way. The practice at the time was not illegal.

Poizner "undercut" Prop. 13 by supporting a measure that allowed schools to pass bonds with 55 percent of the vote, instead of two-thirds.

The claim about his office staff spending includes a budget created by his predecessor and plays fast and loose with the numbers. Poizner didn't furlough workers but did cut his office budget by 10 percent.

Poizner claims his donations to Gore were on behalf of his wife, a Democrat, and drawn on a joint account. His signature was on the checks, however.

Whitman has spent $70 million on her campaign. Poizner has laid out $30 million. When all is said and done, we know very little more about them than we did when it started.

This is no way to make a decision. We can only hope that the next round will deal in issues and solutions, not political eye gouging.

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