During the June primary campaign for governor of California, a GOP operative told me that the plan of the party elites is to nominate Mitt Romney for president in 2012, with Meg Whitman as his running mate. That way, she would spend hundreds of millions of dollars of her fortune on the campaign, enriching every GOP consultant on earth, including the elephants in the zoos.
That explains the parade of moderate Republican pezzonovanti who traipsed through the state backing her: Mitt the Fit himself, Jeb “Not Another” Bush, Newt “Three Wives” Gingrich, George “Sgt.” Shultz, Pete “Record Tax Increaser” Wilson, and John “Insane” McCain.
Meg—everybody in California politics is called by his first name—is worth $1.4 billion from her decade as CEO of eBay. She just blew 70 million simoleons on grabbing the Republican nomination, or $88 per vote. Her major opponent, state insurance commissioner Steve Poizner, also is worth tens of millions of dollars from his own high-tech firm, but millions don’t beat billions.
In this election, the vaunted right-wing Tea Partiers were almost irrelevant. The state is just too big and fruity and nutty to be affected by anyone who hasn’t been featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Meg is a pro-abortion moderate, who has been dubbed “Arnold in a skirt.” That’s a reference to our existing misgovernor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, a centimillionaire who back in 2003 was elected on a platform of “moderation” and business acumen from his movie career and real-estate investments.
Before this election Meg was a political cipher, voting almost not at all for 35 years. Yet she still effectively zinged Steve for helping water down Proposition 13, the 1978 property-tax-limitation measure that in California has replaced “Thou shalt not commit adultery” in the Decalogue.
Steve taunted back that Meg had contributed $3,000 to reelect Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, whose politics are to the left of Kim Jong Il. But Steve never used against Meg the biggest skeleton in her gilded closet. She is one of the world’s biggest smut merchants, giving a new meaning to GOP: Grand Old Pornographer. The establishment media didn’t cover this, either. Only some of the alternative media did. Don’t worry. This is a family magazine, so I won’t quote any of the sleaze whose sale contributed to Meg’s dirty fortune.
The San Francisco Weekly reported:
Prior to the company’s 1998 IPO, Whitman oversaw the creation of an eBay section, Adult Only, dedicated exclusively to the sale of pornography, rather than simply including porn items in auctions for more mainstream movies, magazines, or toys. The move was couched as a way to sanitize the overall site.
And you thought eBay only sold grandma’s antiques and old Monkees LPs.
The facts became public during depositions given beginning in 2006 in an age-discrimination lawsuit against eBay. Meg herself, in a sworn declaration in 2008, wrote, “Certain proposals concerning eBay’s mature audiences policies were presented to me.”
In his deposition, former eBay Vice President of Customer Support Scott Newman said, “There was a lot of concern whether we should continue having a mature audiences site or not.” Meg “had often gone on the record saying, ‘I wish we hadn’t started that thing.’ But it was kind of like, now it’s out of the bag, and to stop it would have caused kind of a big deal, I guess, with the sellers who made their living on the ‘mature’ site.”
So she is not only a billionaire pornographic priestess (to use John Lennon’s phrase from “I Am the Walrus”). She is also indecisive. Yet the day after her victory, her website boasted: “Meg Whitman is all about taking action—it’s how she built her successful 30-year career in business.”
Actually, she is the perfect Republican candidate: rich, unprincipled, indecisive, perverse.
In November, Meg faces a reincarnated Jerry Brown, the current attorney general, now 72 in earth years. This is his fifth run for statewide office, including two victorious campaigns for governor in the 70’s, when he was dubbed “Governor Moonbeam” for his lunar orbital flights of political and verbal fancy. And since 1948, only three elections for statewide constitutional office have seen a ballot without a member of the Brown family on it, the others being his sister, Kathleen Brown, and their father, Pat Brown.
Jerry remains as politically agile as ever, taking both sides of an issue in a single sentence. And he has a vast knowledge of the state and its politics, going back to his childhood in his father’s governor’s mansion. He will also have the backing of the state’s powerful government unions, keen to make sure that no effective pension reforms are enacted so the state more quickly takes a header into insolvency. So even Meg’s moolah will not assure victory.
Also winning on June 8 was another rich Republican damsel, Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and worth at least $40 million. She bested Tom Campbell, a University of Chicago-trained economist, former congressman, and former budget director to Arnold. Tom is now a three-time loser in races for the U.S. Senate.
Although dubbed a moderate, Tom is pro-abortion, pro-same-sex “marriage,” and not averse to tax hikes. Yet I’ll always celebrate the fact that he led the fight in Congress against Bill Clinton’s 1999 bombing of Serbia, which murdered 5,000 Christian Serbs and put the Al Qaeda-connected Kosovo Liberation Army in charge of Kosovo.
Also losing in the Senate race was Chuck DeVore, an Orange County state assemblyman who most appealed to the Tea Partiers. Chuck is excellent on taxes and budgets, and he is pro-life. But his main concern is foreign policy, where he is a strong hawk on the unconstitutional Bush-Obama wars. At least he is not a chickenhawk, having served 20 years in the National Guard, recently retiring with the rank of colonel.
Newcomer Carly was supported by pro-life groups (which upset Chuck, who has long been a vocal pro-lifer). She burnished her pro-life credentials the day after the election, defending her stance against charges by Barbara that “She wants to make it a crime, and that would mean women and doctors in jail. That is so out of touch with Californians” (especially out of touch with Californians who are abortionists and donate to Re-Elect Barbara).
Yet Carly’s hands also bear some resemblance to Lady MacBeth’s. DeVore’s campaign distributed evidence that Carly’s pro-life credentials were, until the campaign, hazy at best. And a large chunk of Hewlett-Packard stock is owned by the David and Lucille Packard Foundation. Its website explains, “The Population and Reproductive Health Program works to slow population growth in high fertility areas of the world and to enhance and protect women’s reproductive health and reproductive rights, especially for marginalized and disadvantaged girls, women, and communities.”
On the other hand, Packard Foundation pressure, led by Packard heirs, in 2005 was instrumental in ousting Carly from HP for supposedly mismanaging the company when she arranged its merger with Compaq. During her term as CEO, HP’s stock lost 60 percent of its value. Perhaps she will campaign on the pro-life message, “I cut the Packard Foundation’s pro-abortion trust fund by 60 percent.”
Any controversy over Barbara’s abortion remarks were drowned out by a media geyser over Carly’s open-mic slip (and blasphemy, which no one mentioned) about Barbara: “God, what was that hair? Soooo yesterday.”
Meg and Carly were not the only distaff Republican victors on June 8. Also winning nomination across America were Sharron Angle in Nevada, backed by Tea Partiers to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and South Carolina State Rep. Nikki Haley, running for governor in the state that once bequeathed America John C. Calhoun.
Many Democratic women also were nominated. Already, there are 17 female U.S. senators and 75 representatives in the House. It’s a 21st-century Ecclesiazusae. Too bad Aristophanes is as dead as Calhoun.
Yet electoral eyes will turn most often to California, land of sunshine, dreams, beaches, swimming pools, movie stars, Beverly Hills, deficits, and bankruptcy. Inevitably, the Meg-Carly tandem is being compared to the undynamic female duo that won two U.S. Senate seats for Democrats in 1992, Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.
Back in ’92, Barbara and DiFi—the latter’s California nickname—were dubbed by the press a political “Thelma and Louise,” after the feminist 1991 Ridley Scott movie about two women driving cross-country on the lam. The “Thelma and Louise” comparison is being made again, of Meg and Carly.
Writing in the Orange County Register 18 years ago, I was the only one who pointed out that, at the end of the film, Thelma and Louise drive off a cliff. And the worst part was that the suicide-pact gals crashed a classic 1966 teal Thunderbird convertible.