The Brown/Whitman debates

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Jerry Brown's the official frontrunner now, after Meg Whitman endured Steve Poizner's assault and saw her positives knocked way back. And typically the frontrunner in a campaign tries to avoid direct debates; they can't help and, with a mistake or two, they can wind up hurting.

But Jerry being Jerry, he's already challenging Whitman to a series of ten debates, and Whitman is already ducking. That's because Whitman wants this entire campaign to be about TV ads -- the only area in which she has a clear, indisputable advantage.

Brown's a little unpredictable in debates. He's smart and can be charming and is certainly experienced -- but he can also veer off on tangents and make some remarkable statements, not all of which are good sound bites. Whitman would be carefully, perfectly scripted. But in the end, it would force her to deal directly with journalists and her opponent -- and she doesn't want to do that.

What Whitman plans to do is start right away, tomorrow, airing a blizzard of ads attacking Brown -- as too liberal, too flakey, too inconsistent -- whatever she can get away with. She's been knocked down in the polls, and now she wants to knock him down, too.

She can't get too far with ads promoting herself -- California has seen those ads, over and over, and people are getting sick of them. We know her line; she's gotten about all the positive impressions she's ever going to get. And she's not breaking 50 percent in the polling.

The only way she can win is to tarnish Brown -- and in the end, he's going to have to swing back and attack her. It's going to be a long, ugly summer.

 

 

Comments

Meanwhile, following the defeat of PG&E's attempted power grab, word is that Peter Darbee plans to fire Joseph Goebbels.

Posted by Gino Rembetes on Jun. 09, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

If Brown and Whitman have a sense of fair play, both will insist that "minor" parties' candidates be invited to participate in their debates. Otherwise, they're worthless. And the news media should press them on the matter.

Posted by Richard Knee on Jun. 09, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

WHAT HAPPENED TO MY PREVIOUS POST

Posted by Guest Patrick Monk on Jun. 09, 2010 @ 8:13 pm
Posted by marke on Jun. 09, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

No, any debate should have the minor party candidates excluded. None of the minor party candidates will get more than 3% of the vote. The next governor is going to be either Brown or Whitman. A series of debates that includes the Green Party, American Independent Party and the other 3rd parties would simply be a sideshow and a farce. It's more important that the voters see Brown and Whitman in an unscripted format that they cannot control.

Posted by Colin V. Gallagher on Jun. 09, 2010 @ 10:30 pm

No, any series of debates should have the minor party candidates excluded. None of the minor party candidates will get more than 3% of the vote anyway. The next governor is going to be either Brown or Whitman. A series of debates that includes the Green Party, American Independent Party and the other 3rd parties would simply be a sideshow and a farce. It's more important that the voters see Brown and Whitman in an unscripted format that they cannot control.

Posted by Colin V. Gallagher on Jun. 09, 2010 @ 10:32 pm

Forget the debates; the real problem is that Prop. 14 will pretty much spell the end of minor parties in California.

From a story by Richard Winger that we ran a couple of weeks ago:

California has six recognized political parties: Democratic, Republican, American Independent, Green, Libertarian, and Peace and Freedom. The parties remain ballot-qualified either by polling 2 percent of the vote for any statewide race in a midterm year (all parties get a free ride in presidential years) or by maintaining registration equal to 1 percent of the last gubernatorial vote.

In practice, it's far easier for the smaller parties to meet the first test. The Peace and Freedom Party has 58,000 registered members, and the Libertarian Party has 85,000 registered members. But these parties always meet the 2 percent vote test. Minor parties typically draw far more votes than they have registered members.

Posted by tim on Jun. 10, 2010 @ 9:44 am