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Some questions for Queen Meg & Gov. Moonbeam

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POSTED September 28, 2010 2:53 a.m.
Sitting on a sofa
On a Sunday afternoon,
Going to the candidates’ debate,
Laugh about it,
Shout about it,
When you’ve got to choose,
Every way you look at it, you lose.

Lyrics from Paul Simon’s “Mrs. Robinson”

It’s time for the rumble.

On one side there is Meg Whitman - Queen Meg to many nurses. On the other is Jerry Brown - former Gov. Moonbeam to his detractors.

Whitman is posed to spend upwards of $150 million to become the least liked person in California. Brown will probably get boatloads of help from labor unions so he can assume the role of the most despised man in the Golden State.

They go face-to-face tonight at the University of California at Davis at 6 p.m. which might just get some of us flipping the channels looking for anything including “My Mother the Car” reruns.

Supposedly only 18 percent of Californians haven’t made up their mind who to vote for to serve as governor and the remaining 82 are split evenly between Whitman and Brown according to one poll. Rest assured hardly anyone can say they haven’t heard of either Whitman or Brown unless they haven’t watched TV for the last nine months.

Whitman has spent the gross national product of a Third World country with much of it going to cast Brown as an incompetent  1970s hipster who apparently by fluke managed to get elected twice over two of the most boring and unimpressive Republicans ever to run for governor - Houston Flournoy and Evelle Younger.

By the way, painting Brown as retro is not necessarily a good strategy when so many things that are popular today are flashbacks. No matter how bad Whitman paints Brown’s eight years as governor they look like the good old days in comparison to the mess in Sacramento today.

At least she didn’t employ the Republicans’ infamous slogan when the son of the late Gov. Edmund G. Brown successfully ran for governor in 1974: “Keep California green, don’t Brown it again.”

Since neither of them in all likelihood will be able to solve the state’s problems since California isn’t a dictatorship plus it has a dysfunctional legislature hamstrung by irate voters who keep tightening the noose with ballot propositions.

That’s why the candidates tonight should be pressed to ask the questions that “really matter.”

For Brown:

• Why did Linda Ronstadt dump you?

• Who in their right mind would run for mayor of Oakland?

• At your age are you going to skip sleeping on a mattress while staying in Sacramento this time around if you’re elected governor?

• Explain again how you became a born again death penalty backer shortly before running for attorney general when you refused to do so even under mounting criticism as governor because of your Jesuit teachings?

• If you get elected governor again are you going to get rid of your official State Capitol portrait that looks like someone painted while on an LSD trip?

• Have you ever bought or sold anything on e-Bay like a used 1970 Dodge Dart?

• Just why did you drop out of the seminary and get into such an unholy profession as politics?

• What does your EKG look like as San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom could be one heartbeat away from governor?

For Whitman:

• How can you say the business climate in California is so bad if you made enough money while working at e-Bay - which is based in this state - to drop $119 million and counting of your own money to run for governor?

• After all these years, what made you decide to finally vote in this election?

• Explain again why the state shouldn’t collect sales tax on re-sale items by various vendors on e-Bay but they should at brick-and-mortar second-hand stores?

• Have you ever been in the rougher parts of Oakland?

• Can you name just one thing you like about Jerry Brown?

• Are you going to follow Arnold Schwarzenegger’s example and not draw a salary as governor of California? It’s not like you need the money.

• Exactly how can running e-Bay where you essentially answer to no one with the broad powers you had as CEO translate into running California where you answer to the legislature controlled by the opposing party, labor leaders, special interest groups, plus those pesky 38 million Californians who have a heck of a lot more say in determining your personal misery index than the stockholders who are the proverbial little people?

Queen Meg or Gov. Moonbeam; what a choice. Paul Simon had it nailed.

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