In order to secure the Republican nomination for the governorship of California, Meg Whitman dug into those deep pockets of hers and ponied up an unbelievable $71 million dollars (or $65.29 per vote). She has already spent more on the electoral campaign than anyone else in the history of the country, some $119 million, and we're still six weeks from the election. What that has resulted for my fellow Californians and me is wall-to-wall negative advertising, including one using Bill Clinton to slam Democratic rival Jerry Brown. Ironically, Clinton has very vocally endorsed Brown.
Unfortunately, for all its media saturation, Whitman's ads have been...how should we say it? Less than factual. Despite being debunked by national organizations like FactCheck.org and newspapers up and down the state, Whitman has continued to run these misleading ads. And of course, you can't count on journalists to ask tough questions at her few (completely choreographed) press briefings. So, instead, frustrated by the non-stop barrage of negative and deceptive ads, a Yelp employee spoke up at a meet-and-greet at Yelp's San Francisco headquarters:
The star of Meg Whitman's 40-minute appearance Wednesday at Yelp headquarters in San Francisco was Susan McKay. The 24-year-old account exec from Walnut Creek fired a question at the GOP guv that's been the talk of the nation (and the subject of our story the other day): Meg's widely-discredited ad featuring a 1992 clip of Bill Clinton ripping Jerry Brown's tax record as CA guv.
The short version of Susan's question -- uttered there before her fellow Yelp employees and bosses:
"Why are you refusing to remove an ad that has been proven to be false and therefore misleading? Why would you knowingly and purposely run a campaign that is based on lies?
Why have you made smear tactics and an overall negative focus such hallmarks of your campaign? It doesn't seem to me that defaming your opponent will help California in any way?"
The room burst into applause.
McKay was less than impressed by Whitman's essentially non-response of "the other side does it too!"
Sadly, those deep pockets and lies are having an impact. The most recent polls show Brown and Whitman in a dead heat, although Brown has just started releasing ads himself this week. I'm afraid that these frustrating "how can you let them beat you?" campaigns will be a hallmark of the Democratic Party this election year.