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Friday, February 05, 2010


Bizarre political ads

Carly Fiorina, failed HP CEO, is catching massive flack for a laughably sophomoric attack ad on her opponent, Tom Campbell, featuring a "wolf in sheep's clothing" (what an original metaphor!) which looks more like a demon sheep than a wolf. But for my money, her ad doesn't compare to the inanity of the latest ad from her Gubernatorial counterpart, successful failed eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

In one sentence of the ad, Whitman says "The professional politicians have been fighting in Sacramento for years and the state is in the worst shape that I've seen in the thirty years that I have lived in California." Well, just for starters, as the San Jose Mercury News points out, Whitman has only lived in California for 23 years, not 30 years! But perhaps even more importantly, while she's railing against "professional politicians", has she noticed that California has been "led" for the past 6 1/2 years by an actor, not a professional politician? And is she aware that, thanks to the most stringent (and anti-democratic) term limits laws in the nation, the people in Sacramento who are "professionals" are the lobbyists, not the politicians who rotate in and out of office with regularity?

But that's not all. She goes on, "I have run large organizations, I know how to create jobs, I know how to focus, I know how to balance a budget and I think a business perspective is a bit of what California needs right now." "Creating jobs" is something we hear from a lot of politicians, but, for Meg's benefit, I need to point out that businesses create jobs for entirely different reasons than the state does. The only jobs the state creates, jobs like prison guards or highway patrolmen or Caltrans workers, cost money, they don't make money which is why and how you "create jobs" when you're a CEO. Furthermore, when you're a CEO, balancing a budget when times are tough generally involves laying off workers, which is diametrically opposed to the idea of "creating jobs."

Indeed, Whitman goes on in the ad to talk about "cutting government spending," and back in November, she was quite specific about cutting 40,000 government workers. So there's 40,000 jobs lost right off the bat. A "business perspective"? No, that's precisely what California (and the United States) does not need right now.

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