Friday, February 26, 2010

Surprise! Meg Whitman Uses Personal Fortune to Mount Nasty Hardball Campaign

Meg Whitman, wannabe conservative, Vann Jones acolyte, and GOP gubernatorial candidate, apparently knows a thing or two about Saul Alinsky. See, "Whitman No Rookie at Playing Hardball":

Meg Whitman is campaigning for governor as a political outsider, but behind the scenes she is playing classic political hardball in her quest for the Republican nomination.

She tried to push her chief GOP opponent, Steve Poizner, out of the primary contest with a consultant's threat to wage a negative ad campaign that would destroy his career. Her advisors have worked, with some success, to siphon away Poizner supporters, orchestrating calls by former Gov. Pete Wilson and others for the party to unite -- four months before the primary election -- behind her candidacy.

And Whitman's team warned labor leaders that if they gave money to Democratic operatives planning to attack her, the billionaire candidate would respond by spending millions to qualify a ballot initiative that would make it harder for unions to use dues for political purposes.

Observers say Whitman's embrace of rough-and-tumble politics should surprise no one, given her track record as the hard-nosed former chief executive of EBay.

"She's coming from a world that's absolutely a hardball world," said Thad Kousser, a visiting professor at Stanford University who specializes in state politics. "And anybody who thinks you don't become a politician being the CEO of a major corporation is crazy."

Asked about the tough moves by Whitman and her aides, her spokesman, Tucker Bounds, said her campaign "is committed to putting her in the most effective position" to explain her vision for improving California. He said talking to voters is her main focus.

Political analysts say Whitman's use of her wealth to intimidate her opponents -- she's moved $39 million of her own money into her campaign -- can backfire if voters believe she is trying to buy the election. Wealthy executives have won as political newcomers elsewhere but have largely failed in California.

The image of Whitman, 53, using her riches as a club was on display this month when Poizner -- himself a multimillionaire -- released an e-mail to his camp from her consultant, Mike Murphy. It said she could spend $40 million "tearing up" Poizner, also 53.

"It's arrogance," said K.B. Forbes, a GOP communications consultant who is not working in California at the moment. "It's going to turn off the electorate."
As I've said a couple of times, I wish we had Bob McDonnell in California:

See also, Michelle, "
Memo to GOP Candidates: Stop Mindlessly Praising Commies in Green Clothing," and John Hawkins, "Meg Whitman’s Slap In The Face Of Sarah Palin Fans: Hiring Mike Murphy."