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Thursday, December 07, 2017

Meg Whitman 2.0

Back in 2015, I went on record -- to everyone's laughter -- with my favoring Donald Trump's chances of becoming President of the United States. Nobody's laughing now, however, which is one more reason why I so enjoy writing these posts.  This time, I've dug back to 2009, when to nobody's surprise, I pummeled tech CEO Meg Whitman for her clumsy losing bid to become governor of the state of California.

Despite spending over $150 million of her personal billion-dollar fortune, Whitman got crushed by bad handlers and Jerry Brown's measly $35 million effort. It would have been laughable were it not so pathetic. Whitman bungled every step of her way to the loser's shed, camping on the wrong side of each issue while crusading as one of the most antipathetic candidates in the state's history.  Her trail of scorched earth through Disney, Hasbro, DreamWorks and Ebay didn't exactly rally the forces of Silicon Valley to her cause. Neither did Gloria Allred's last minute lawsuit on behalf of Whitman's "abusive" employment of an undocumented alien in her own home.

But that was then. This is now.

In November, 2017, after nine years at its helm, Whitman quietly stepped down from her perch at Hewlett-Packard with little fanfare. It was a voluntary move that hardly went noticed, which can mean only one of three things:

1. She's terminally ill.
2. She's got another gig.
3. She's eyeing another run for the governor's seat.

I'm confident that at age 61, Whitman's health is just fine. If anything, her recent photographs reflect a new, more vibrant image than her past images that made her look more like Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958. Someone is finally giving this woman media advice -- possibly for a reason.

I'm also not convinced that her "announcement" about buying into an MLS expansion team is anything more than a cover for her real agenda: the team she's reportedly buying is, not so coincidentally, based in Sacramento. Just a stone's throw from her would-be office.

All of which points to Option #3, which makes a whole lot of sense, for a whole lot of reasons.

As Steve Bannon recently advised a group of Republicans in an Orange County speech, "you guys got everything you need" to produce the same results in California that his team produced nationally for Donald Trump. People, money, effort and a purpose -- everything else is just icing on the cake.

More to the point, the timing is right. In the first place, Donald Trump proved that one person really can take on an entrenched system and win. He made believers out of a country that previously had given up its government as hopeless. Secondly, Hillary Clinton may have lost the election, but in her own way, advanced and encouraged the potential of women's gains in much the same way as Trump did for his platform.  Third, the Harvey Weinstein Syndrome wreaked havoc in a very public way, and by all accounts, will continue to reverberate and vilify men throughout the election year, especially when the top two Democrats contenders, Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa, are on public record as lifelong womanizers.

For those of you who don't reside in California, let me add three more ingredients to the mix:

1.  While it's not politically or socially acceptable to do so, an increasing number of Californians -- at least those outside of San Francisco -- are getting tired of dealing with the costs and crimes of illegal immigrants. Off the record, far more people -- including legal immigrants -- prefer Trump's wall to be built sooner rather than later.

2.  The new Federal Tax Reform plan hits high-income, high-tax states like New York and California particularly hard, because it no longer allows those residents to deduct their 11% state income taxes from their Federal tax returns.  Ouch. That means more people will likely vote for lower taxes and less government.

3.  While everyone accuses Republicans of representing the rich, by far, the bulk of the "let's have the government spend more" sentiment is being attributed to Democrats, whose public perception is deteriorating faster than the chances of cashing an expired food stamp at a liquor store.

Put them all together and this branding guy sees a big picture in which the right woman at the right time -- this time with all the right answers -- could upset the Democratic stranglehold that's been killing California.

That woman could be Meg Whitman, assuming of course, that this time Whitman's maid has a valid Social Security number.

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