Dear Big Daddy,
Is Scott Brown’s Massachusetts’ victory a cause for alarm in California?
–Worried in Wilmington
No. Scott Brown’s victory is cause for alarm in Massachusetts and at Margaret Coakley’s house. It marks the swan song of the Kennedy political dynasty, a dynasty that served that state well and Margaret hoped to serve. And it shows the fickle nature of the electorate.
I liked Jack, liked Bobby. I never was sure about Teddy. Anyway, end of story.
But California’s voters are already are fickle. Not only that, they are gullible, simplistic, misdirected, unevenly educated, ideological simpletons with an anger at government matched only by their ignorance of the issues and an inordinate appetite for television. As a man of the people, I say that with all due respect.
They also don’t take their cues from events 3,000 miles away; they barely know what’s happening in California. The conventional wisdom now is that Democrats are in trouble, the “Miracle in Massachusetts” is a wakeup call heard round the nation and the Dems are about to get smothered.
No, this year, the California election won’t be a creature of Brown’s victory. It will come down to money.
It hasn’t always been true that whoever spends the most money always wins the election – just ask Al Checchi or Norton Simon.
But this year will be different. If Meg Whitman spends $150 million, most of it on television commercials, she’ll win the governorship. Jerry hasn’t a chance. Period.
An AP reporter once asked me if I wanted to be governor, and I said, “Sure, if they make it an appointed office.” It was a joke, of course – although the reporter didn’t laugh – but what I meant was that I hated raising money. I love money. I love things money can buy. I like touching money and controlling money and spending money and earning money. I like sitting on money – as do all good treasurers.
But I like power more. If you have to pick between power and money, pick power. Power is more satisfying and more ego-gratifying, but if you handle it right, you can do good, or at least give the appearance of doing good. The point is that you do good.
Whitman, who has earned lots of money, now wants the power. I get it.
But I don’t see that she wants to do good. That’s the problem. I’m not saying that because I’m a good Democrat and she’s a Republican. No, I’m above all that.
I’m saying that because it’s true.