SAN DIEGO – Bottom line on Meg Whitman’s 22-minute dinner address tonight to the California Republican Party state convention: as red meat speeches go, it was pretty much boiled beef.
Jerry Brown is “bought and paid for by the unions and the entrenched interests.” That was her best line because at least it had some bite, appealed to the public passion of the moment and contained enough truth to make it believable. It’s a plan fact that without union support this summer, Brown would now be stuck in the wake of S.S. eMeg.
But a few good lines does not a great convention speech make. With all the passion of a principal explaining attendance rules to the sixth grade assembly on the first day of school, Meg otherwise unleashed a flaccid set of platitudes and snoozer talking points worthy of Jack Kemp.
Some of the, um, highlights:
“Enough is enough.”
Enough Jerry Brown, enough unions, enough bad schools, enough fiscal debt, yada yada yada.
“This race is about the future versus the past.”
Oh, gee, what time is it?
“This is a battle for the soul of California .”
So says the Long Island horsewoman with the merest passing relationship with the voting booths of the Golden State.
“We’re going to have to stand up and be counted and take our state back.”
eMeg: she avoids clichés like the plague.
“There is tremendous room for improvement.”
Mrs. Harsh, can I please have a hall pass?
“I refuse to sit by and watch our state fail.”
Nice of you to notice.
“I don’t owe anyone anything, except the voters of California .”
What about Goldman Sachs?
“I want to cut taxes. I want to make California competitive again.”
Post mortem: Two words that were notable for their absence in eMeg’s analysis of the gloomy state of affairs in Sacramento: Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Also unmentioned: Pete Wilson, another past Republican governor and current Whitman chairman.
Oh, did I forget to mention: Climate change and immigration.
And to all a good night.