You Couldn’t Pay Me Enough

2010 September 20
by Dave

Meg Whitman’s campaign for Governor of California has moved into record breaking territory for self financing. With a dump truck backing up to her campaign headquarters and pouring a further fifteen million dollars in she has hit $119 million. Consider me befuddled.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger rides the current state budget impasse into its eighty somethingth day, who would want the job. More importantly, who would pay one hundred nineteen million dollars for it. Every plausible reason for wanting the position that I can think of involves the premise that she can actually make progress in solving California’s fiscal and governance problems.

It’s not that I don’t think that Meg can do it, but more that I don’t think that any one can do it. The state’s revenue position is not going to improve until very late in the next Governor’s first term and the best hope for moderating the legislature, the new open primary system, won’t have any effect until after 2012 or 2014. Unless she has some secret plan to get the Republican legislators to follow her lead and back any compromises that she makes with the Democrats, I don’t see her making any headway. I doubt that the GOP will be any more amenable to backing up executive deal making than it has been under Arnold.

It seems to me that the next Governor of California will be more of a caretaker. Someone to take the public’s ire while the Universe hopefully realign’s itself in such a way that real progress can be made. It seems to be a perfect last act for an elder statesman like Jerry Brown who has an opportunity to take one for the team. It is a baffling starting point for a political newbie with national ambitions and seems likely to do nothing more than put a sad footnote on an otherwise laudable business career.

Whatever happened to philanthropy? If you want to buy yourself something nice, isn’t the state of California a bit tacky? Any way, I really do wish her luck if she wins. I just hope that her secret plan actually works.

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