Meg Whitman is not easy to defend. Her critics, ranging wide and far in the Democratic Golden State, have blasted her on seemingly every front possible. Countless voters criticize her for spending $119 million of her own money – the most on any American political campaign ever – to beat Jerry Brown. She incited many California voters in stating her intent to defend Prop 8 in court, which would use up millions of taxpayer dollars that could be better spent elsewhere. In short, there are plenty of reasons to hate Meg Whitman, let alone oppose her. However, voters need to remember that even though Meg Whitman has inexperienced politician written all over her, she knows exactly how to run a successful business (hello eBay); California as a business instead of a political stage, what a concept.
The best offense for Meg Whitman is a solid defense. Take her stance on gay marriage for instance. According to some extreme reports, her neo-Nazism prevents her from supporting the gay community. In reality, her Presbyterian faith, rather than any neo-Nazi tendencies, disallows her from supporting gay marriage. In fact, Whitman fully supports civil unions and the right of gay and lesbian couples to adopt.
Another misconception is the belief that Whitman is an anti-environmentalist, bent on destroying our air and trees. While you probably will not see Meg Whitman hugging a tree anytime soon, she has devised an irrefutably logical plan that balances the needs of the environment with the people who live in it. She opposes controversial Prop 23, which if passed would indefinitely delay California’s landmark global warming law until the state’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5% for more than a year. However, she correctly argues that the new regulations, would hurt the oil and gas businesses and kill thousands of jobs. Cutting down emissions means closing plants where people make their livings. Whitman wants to freeze the law for a year while she focuses on creating new green jobs that would go untouched once the law passes, thus ensuring that the workers of the collapsed businesses would still be able to bring home the bacon.
As for the inexperienced politician argument, Jerry Brown is convincing Californians that familiarity is everything, and while he’s not wrong, he’s not entirely right either. He governed California well from 1975–1983, but most Brown voters flock to him not because of his progressive policies but because they already lived through them once. Crisis breeds struggle, and voters want a man who they are certain could handle the job to hold their hands until they arrive in greener pastures. Voting for Meg Whitman would be taking a huge chance. Her election would mean walking into an uncharted future with an untested leader. However, walking into that darkness might finally jolt the California citizens out of their collective stupor and force them to face their grievances. After all, no one holds neutral feelings for Meg Whitman, which I consider a large part of her charm.
Sarah Hulsman is a freshman media studies major
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