Considering the dismal showing Meg made against Steve Poizner in the debate before the primary, she's gotten considerably better. She stumbled a few places against Jerry Brown last night, but did well over all. She was clear and articulate which contrasted against Brown who got off on tangents and bordered on incoherent a few times. I'm not going to waste time bringing up the same talking points they'd said before. When they get into "did he raise taxes according to this source or cut taxes according to this source," I just start to ignore it. I mean, a politician can do nothing except pass a bill that directly lowers taxes, but have taxes still go up due to several other factors. That's why they can both be right about his record.
Let's start with what Meg did well. She dodged the Sarah Palin question. When asked if Palin would campaign for her, Meg said she would do her own campaigning. She was careful not to offend conservatives who favor Palin, at the same time, not aligning herself with a figure that's not all that popular with many independent California swing voters that Meg needs.
Meg had a great line criticizing Brown's promise to cut the Governor's, already tiny, budget by 10%, saying if that's Brown's big plan, California is in trouble. Brown was flat out stumped by that.
Where she stumbled. Brown made the irresponsible excuse that one of his staffers referring to Whitman as a whore is the same thing as Pete Wilson calling the State Legislators a bunch of whores. It's not the same thing, which Meg pointed out. But she didn't articulate why, instead making it seem like it's ok for her "side" to do it, but not Brown's. But here's why it's different. It's like if you called me(a white person) the N word, it's a whole lot different than using that word to refer to a black person. Why? Because the word is a weapon designed to tell a minority they're not good enough to compete with a member of the majority. It's an offensive term used in an effort to "keep women in their place." I don't like it when Conservative women are called that and I don't like it when someone I strongly disagree with like Nancy Pelosi is called that. Not cool.
But let's be adults here. People say all kinds of offensive crap behind closed doors. And it's also not fair that the leaked message got out in the first place, nor does it reflect on Brown. It's childish to think that Brown should seriously fire the staffer who said it. But my point is, it's not on the same level as what Pete Wilson once said, 15 years ago, about a group of mostly men who he felt was in the pocket of unions(which is why he called them whores). The word whores, was, in this case, not used as a weapon. This is a massive difference.
Also, Meg should not have interrupted Brown when he stumbled about having the backing of sheriffs. Meg stopped him to say Brown meant to say he was in their back pocket. It wasn't funny. It came off as childish.
For being a career politician, Brown surprisingly stumbled a lot and was fairly inarticulate. I was able to follow the points he made because I've been keeping an eye on things and I know the context. But I can imagine independents who only watched this one debate would have to conclude Meg was more polished. But for the most part, I liked what Brown had to say, though you certainly have to question if it's all talk or not. By that, I mean, for all of his talk about living within our means, and being a fiscal conservative, he then went on to praise the incredibly irresponsible and wasteful government spending of Obama's "Stimulus" bill. I just took that as meaning that Brown didn't actually mean anything he said about being responsible.
But, the biggest mistake Brown made was missing the opportunity to hit Meg in the one spot she's very vulnerable--to tie her to our current Republican Governor. He brought this up, passingly, in the last debate. And it was a great point, but he wasn't all that clear about it. Ok, so this is what I'm talking about. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a political outsider too. He looked at the unions, saw the corruption and how they're bleeding the state dry, and went after them. Corrupt organizations didn't get that way by playing nice. They fought back and the idiot voters in California sided with them, and rejected Schwarzenegger's Special Election propositions which is why we're in the budget mess we're in. Many of us California Republicans are disillusioned after sending the Terminator in against the Democrat Controlled State Legislators and seeing him come back in pieces. What is it that makes us think Meg is going to be any tougher?
At least Brown speaks the same language as his fellow Democrats and can possibly work with them better. After all, politicians are more likely to compromise with their allies than with their enemies. Now Brown made this point during the debate last night, but not in comparison with how Schwarzenegger has struggled. And of course, we've seen the disaster of the Obama administration when a Socialist President has a super majority in Congress to rubber stamp whatever he wants. Although Brown talks the talk of being a fiscal conservative, we have no reason to believe that's what he'll be after the election.