Big Daddy

Ask Big Daddy

Dear Big Daddy,
Now that governor’s race has begun in earnest, do you think Meg Whitman can tack back to the center and actually win this thing?
–Skeptical in Snelling

Dear Skep,
Watching politics can be a process of having the same revelations every four years. With that in mind, let me ask: What is it with Republicans’ hatred of soccer?

Glenn Beck has called on Americans to refuse to watch the World Cup because “the rest of the world is shoving this crap down our throats” (which are still smarting from that healthcare bill). G. Gordon Liddy (is he still alive?) compared it to human sacrifice (he should know). Others have called the beautiful game a liberal media conspiracy.

I mean, I get it. Kinda. If you doubt Obama’s birth certificate, I can see how a sport where most of the players have hair and clothes that would fit right in on Latino night at Faces could be a little discomforting. Never mind that our star player is a short white guy (no, not Roy Ashburn). When was the last time you were able to say that about any of our national pastimes?

Is it the fact that we’re a perennial also-ran on the world stage? Is it all that socialistic passing? And if so, does that make Kobe Bryant the greatest American ever? That I don’t know.

But I wonder, if you’re threatened by soccer, do you think Univision the new Pravda? In your nightmares, do you find yourself running naked down the street being chased by an army of homicidal burritos?

You see what I’m getting at here?

If I’m Meg Whitman, it’s not the center I’m worried about, per se. Her campaign positions—being pro-choice, and being female—will give her a chance with a lot of independents. The fact that her opponent, Jerry Brown, comes attached to Jerry Brown’s mouth and all its ravenous foot-devouring glory, heck, that gives her a shot at winning the whole darn chimichanga.

Whitman has been a smart and disciplined candidate so far. While she has yet to start out a town hall by blowing like crazy on a vuvuzela, she’s done the next best things: holding hands onstage with Abel Maldonado, and launching a major Spanish-language media buy. In case there’s any doubt, La eMeg has been letting everyone know she thinks that Arizona immigration law is like, so malo.

Whitman doesn’t have to win among Latino voters. She doesn’t even need to come close. But what she does need to do is avoid el shutout. Pick off a few Latinos here, a few decline-to-states there, sprinkle with a few soccer moms, add it to the base…you get the idea.

eBay was started with a simple idea: sell people what they want (yes, even porn). They didn’t say yes to Beanie Babies and no to bobbleheads. If it’s legal, you can sell it. And I bet her old company is doing a nice trade is US team jerseys right now.

Does this make Whitman a new kind of Republican? Not at all. More like the old kind, a bean counter who’d rather not get cut up in any shrapnel from the culture wars. Opposing amnesty and gay marriage? Sure, but without much gusto. Cutting corporate taxes and regulation? Now that’s the real ggggggooooooooaaaaallllllllllllllllll!

Want to see more stories like this? Sign up for The Roundup, the free daily newsletter about California politics from the editors of Capitol Weekly. Stay up to date on the news you need to know.

Sign up below, then look for a confirmation email in your inbox.


Support for Capitol Weekly is Provided by: