There are strategic and tactical reasons to question whether it’s a smart move for Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner to attack former eBay CEO Meg Whitman this early in the Republican primary race for governor. But Poizner’s fusillade was NOT dirty.
You can call it negative, tough, slashing, brutal, whatever, but we strongly disagree with this characterization on the very fine SacB site Capitol Alert: “With still more than 400 days until votes are cast, the GOP primary for governor is already starting to get dirty.”
No it’s not. Dirty is where you lie about your opponent, use below-the-belt personal information, make unfair charges, distort their record, etc. We don’t like dirty campaigning and when we see it, we’ll throw a red flag. But by holding Whitman’s leadership at eBay up to scrutiny, Poizner has done nothing dirty. It’s especially appropriate when a candidate comes out of the business world — and Poizner’s business background is fair game, too — because that’s the candidate’s record.
A political campaign for governor of California is not a dinner party. It’s a rough and tumble affair in which candidates should not be demonized by goody-twoshoes, holier-than-thou commentary or news reports. People are so cynical about politics already and it’s so easy to use a charge of “dirty campaigning” in a TV ad, that it’s important for those of us on the sidelines to make distinctions between dirty and slimy campaign tactics and legitimate, tough, negative campaigning.
We’re just sayin’.