California politics are always interesting. They do things bigger, better, dumb and dumber out here on the edge. Right now for instance the former governor ('75-'83) and frequent presidential candidate ('76, '80, '92) Jerry Brown is running for one of his old jobs again. Jerry wants to be the Once and Future Governor. He is currently the Attorney General of California and has been the Mayor of Oakland, the chairman of the California Democratic Party and a candidate for U.S. Senate. He is remembered fondly and otherwise as "Governor Moonbeam", which had something to do with proposing a state owned communications satellite and dating Linda Ronstadt.
So you might say this election is Moonbeam vs. Moneybags. You see Brown's opponent is former CEO of eBay, Meg Whitman. Last week Ms. Whitman became the highest personally financed candidate in U.S. history. She has now officially spent $119 million dollars on her own campaign. Extrapolated through the November election, she will easily top $150,000,000 in out-of-pocket expenses in her attempt to become the governor of California.
Now I acknowledge that all politicians have fairly hefty egos. The psychological factors behind running for public office would make Sigmund spin in his coffin, but what on earth would make someone want to be the head of a bankrupt state with a shrinking population, failing schools.... well you know the laundry list. On top of that, not only is Meg Whitman running to head up this disaster, she is spending one hundred and fifty million dollars of her own money to get the job.
Yes there is another argument to be made about internet multi-millionaires. Did eBay actually need to give her hundreds of millions of dollars for merely staying out of the way of that internet juggernaut, they did - well actually as CEO, she did. Now she wants to spend part of that cyber-wealth to be governor, I mean make a list of all the things you would or could do with a couple of hundred million dollars, where does politician fall in your rankings? Doesn't wanting to buy this office make you supremely unqualified to manage the California State budget?
Ah well, it is nice being back in California. You just have to be really quick with the mute button or you might actually have to listen to these egomaniacal millionaires tell you that they really care. Well that really isn't fair because her ads are not about her accomplishments or her proposed programs, nope -- the Meg Whitman ads are all attacks on Jerry Brown, including one where she uses a '92 Bill Clinton clip from a presidential debate with Brown. Such dirty politics in California may be the single largest drain on the State's water supply because every time they run an ad, we all want to take a shower. My solution - bring back the 'None of the Above' voting option.
By the way the the book cover up top is a parody, she really did co-author a book called: The Power of Money with the subtitle: Values for Success in Business and in Life. Values something else Meg Whitman and I do not share, that and a hundred and fifty million dollars worth of hot, dirty air.