Meg Whitman presses the flesh in Buena Park earlier this month.
Meg Whitman presses the flesh in Buena Park earlier this month.
Photo by Christopher Victorio

Meg Whitman Talks Tough, But She Wussed Out on Union-Pension Reforms

California governor wannabe Meg Whitman won Monday's GOP debate in Costa Mesa, according to dean of Capitol muckrakers Dan Walters ("an indirect win"), conservative blogger Eric Hogue ("a win by split decision") and Stanford's Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen (without a clear winner, the debate goes to the frontrunner).

She even won the Orange County Register's Orange Punch reader poll, which as of noon showed Whitman with 12 votes, her King of the Lollipop Kids opponent Steve Poizner with 11 and 3 draws. (The number of responders shocked us, too; Who knew that many tuned into the crappily streamed snoozefest?)

Already riding high, the Whitman campaign today announced it picked up the endorsement of the Orange County Taxpayers Association.

"I am grateful to receive the endorsement of the Orange County Taxpayers Association, a dedicated advocate for California's taxpayers," says Whitman in a campaign-issued statement that proves her ability to bore carries over from the screen and speaker to the virtually printed page.

"Today, Californians have a government that they can no longer afford. Working together, we can stand up to big-spending Sacramento politicians and restore fiscal stability in California."

Huh? Whaaa? Is she still yammering?

The Orange County Taxpayers Association is the third Golden State taxpayer group to endorse Whitman for governor, joining the Howard Jarvis and Riverside County taxpayer associations.

"The Orange County Taxpayers Association is pleased to endorse Meg Whitman because she will keep state spending in check and help get California's economy moving," Reed Royalty, secretary of the Orange County Taxpayers Association Political Action Committee, poses in the same release. "Meg's plan to reform lavish public employee pensions will save taxpayers billions of dollars while restoring simple fairness between the public and private sectors."

Funny thing about that. Whitman insists on the stump that state employees must make financial concessions to help balance the budget. Her teevee commercials blast Poizner for "joining liberal unions" to support a 2000 ballot measure that lowered the vote threshold to pass school bonds. She dismissed a demand to release her taxes as coming from a "union front for Jerry Brown."

"All of these moves are calculated to help Whitman tap into conservative and Tea Party frustrations with the increasing size of government," the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

But the teabaggers should know that
Whitman backed away from supporting two voter initiatives for this
November's ballot--the same one she's on--that would have reduced the pension and health benefits for new public employee hires.

(The California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility has since suspended its campaign, this report notes.)

So, Whitman could have been campaigning with the dual force of a gubernatorial campaign and a voter initiative drive that helps define it. Why on earth would she deny herself that--let alone her likely voters?

Well, it seems ol' Meg apparently feared having those propositions on the same ballot as her would light such a bonfire under the unions that scores of foes would flock to the polls--foes who are also likely to punch their cards for Gov. Moonbeam.

More bold leadership coming to Sacramento, ladies and germs.


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