Conservatives of the dominant type constantly piss off the conservatives of the traditional type. What is so bad about stopping for a minute to think?
The US political coverage in California includes the gubenatorial race where the superexperienced Jerry Brown is running against the subexperienced but huge capitalist ego of Republican Meg Whitman. He has been managing cities and states for decades, and knows how. She is making the arrogant dumbass conservative claim that since she was CEO of eBay, she knows how to run a state. Brown has been serving California since she was in pigtails, and she has been in California for a couple of years, but she says business success qualifies her.
What bozos – in the electorate or in her party – would think that there is any transfer of significant knowledge from running a company to running a state government? They are apples and oranges.
This is one of the key pseudo-conservative fallacies that drives me crazy. Business people are GODS, and if you made money, you should be in public office. Meanwhile, you don’t know how to build coalitions, get votes, deal with the media, make strategic appointments, dance around party lines, or run a campaign.
Whitman has an answer that seems to be the trademark of the conservative who cannot think like a conservative – fill up the coffers with your own money and spend, spend, spend. Yes, I know, brainless spending is the charge conservatives are supposed to be levelling against liberals, but here we are in California watching the Republican putting up more than a hundred million of her own dollars for a media blitz – the central aspect of which is that people should trust her even though she has no record. She is rich and does have rich friends, though.
First of all, spending your own money like that should be enough to disqualify you as a conservative. Secondly, spending money like that is a message in itself about how she would try to solve issues if she were elected, and that again disqualifies her as conservative. Thirdly, her dollared but vacuous campaign has undermined any effort by voters to find out what her views are. And fourth, she is following the dictates of a neo-repub approach of being proud of being dissociated from the plebes. Cocktail parties yes; barbeques no.
Furthermore, no serious examination is given to business history. Mitt Romney, for example, ran some businesses and did some investments, and managed the 2002 Olympics. But how did he do? His record, I think and you will agree, was horrendous. He took fat companies, stripped them down, fired half the workers, took out as much money as he could, and then unloaded them without consideration for their long-term viability. How does that apply to government?
And his record in the office of governor of Massachusetts? Huge deficits, a big dig that is falling apart, an economy subject to decay, an economy subject to intransigent division between haves and hope-nots, a dedication to keeping Boston moneyed and keeping the rest of the state dependent. Was it conservative of Mitt to be so centralized, so imperial, so talk-show, so good to his friends?
Depends on your idea of conservative.
And so the question of record comes back to Meg Whitman. She came in late to a company that was on a roll, in an industry of massive change, rode the eBay wave, and now claims credit for its success. The company was headed toward stardom and tagged her as a kind of star icon. Does she really think we all take her seriously as the one who was at the helm and brought eBay from startup to megamonster?
And how conservative is Silicon Valley anyway? They love to love business, as long as they are getting rich. But when business means competition, they turn to oligarchy. “Her” company got somewhere by locking in people to their platform, by eliminating or disabling alternative platforms. eBay and the other giants of Silicon Valley are not conservative at all in the sense that they have been going gangbusters to create an internet and internet market that is totally controlled by a few manipulative magnates. No openness. No innovation. No opportunity outside the walls they themselves have built and manned with machine guns.
What has been the record of Silicon Valley and companies like Meg Whitman’s on issues that are of importance to conservatives? [Clarification: to conservatives who are concerned about issues other than making gobs of dough.] What about jobs, what about outsourcing overseas? What about globalization and the need for protection of domestic and local industries? What about fiscal responsibility? What about accountability and transparency? What about creation of opportunity and restricting the power of the few to suck the life out of the many?
Questions of philosophy and social order, however, do not make a dent in stardom, in false claims of business savvy, in vague success-rhetoric backed with hundreds of millions of star-struck bucks. She is rich, she is a CEO. Therefore she is a goddess, and the party will gallop off that way.