Meg Whitman is a liar. Jerry Brown is a career failure. Meg Whitman exaggerates. Jerry Brown stretches the facts. Meg Whitman would destroy California. Jerry Brown would also destroy California. These are the messages being sent to the California voter by each political camp. If people took advertisements at face value, they would demand that both major candidates be removed from the ballot. It is no wonder that the average voter is cynical about certain political races. Granted, the California governor’s race is not unique. Mudslinging has become a standard practice in American politics, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. In an ideal world, a voter should be given a clear platform from candidates, along with practical solutions for how to improve the state. Unfortunately, the world is less than ideal, which is why citizens are left to watch the ugly road driven by Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown.
It would be nice if the campaign could be about the merits of each camp’s political plan for helping California. Unfortunately, campaign strategies have been reduced to housekeepers, ugly answering machine messages, accusations of overspending, and declarations of incompetence. Why can’t the candidate simply stand on their own two feet? Is there something wrong with candidates simply saying that they are the better candidate? Obviously, some voters will get swept up in the flow of mud from each camp. However, there are some voters who are a bit smarter than that, and would like to see a greater display of character from the candidates.
Plans for improvement
Each candidate has a plan. However, each plan seems to be a bit vague. There are promises to fix schools, cut spending, and create jobs. One has to wonder about these ideas. Did the prior leaders get up each morning and decide that they were going to wreck schools, spend like crazy, and do their best to destroy companies and jobs in California? People can say all they want about prior governors and legislatures, but it is hard to fathom that all past politicians truly didn’t care and that the future candidates are the only ones with these previously unknown ideas. Obviously, politics and state finance is complex. However, are the voters supposed to believe that each candidate will take office, push the easy button, and all the problems will be fixed?
Clearly, no candidate wants to tell voters that they will be paying more money to the state. This is a recipe for a quick political death. Still, do the candidates believe that all voters cannot do math? How are the candidates going to improve programs through increased funding, while also cutting spending? How are the candidates going to provide more social services but still lower taxes? The numbers simply do not add up. Again, plenty of political experts can point out programs that waste money. However, someone decided at some point to spend that money, and it seems unlikely that a new governor will simply walk in and turn off the money tap.
In November, the citizens of California will have to make a decision. Unfortunately, their decision may come down to assessing which candidate is covered with less mud. The world is a rough place, and certain realities trump idealism. However, an honest look at the California’s governor race could very easily result in a conclusion that the situation is just sad. This may be real life, but it doesn’t make it pleasant for a citizen to watch.
Timothy Sandoval, Mudslinging dominates governor’s race, California Watch