Back in the 1980s, I was a regular reader of "Washingtoon," a comic strip drawn by Mark Alan Stamaty. The strip told the story of Bob Forehead, the leader of the "JFK look-alike Conservative Caucus," who brought his good looks (but not much else) to Washington, and with the help of "charismaticians and perceptual engineers," undertook a series of "gallant efforts to defend the tycoon sector from oppression by the underprivileged."
At one point in the strip, Bob loses track of what is going on in his district, where a regular Joe by the name of Allen Soup is slowly building a base. The next thing you know, Bob is actually trailing in the polls, leading to something he has avoided for a very long time: a public debate.
When the debate happens, it goes a little something like this:
"I would just like to say that if I am elected, I would NEVER vote to cut social security."
"Well, let me make it clear that I would NEVER NEVER vote to cut social security."
"By contrast, I would NEVER NEVER NEVER vote to cut social security."
And so on.
I bring that old strip up now, because this is what I imagine, if it were ever to take place, that a debate between Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner would sound like. Just substitute "raise taxes" for "cut social security," and you've got your script down pat.
I say this because of an article that appears in today's Sacramento Bee, wherein Mr. Poizner responds to Meg Whitman's charge that he donated $200,000 to an initiative which made it easier to raises taxes. In this earlier post, I pointed to a Greg Lucas column which revealed that the initiative in question was Proposition 39, the primary provision of which was to allow local parcel tax elections for schools to be decided by a 55%, rather than 2/3, vote.
Displaying a profile in courage the likes of which hasn't been seen since Bruce Ismay, Poizner told the Bee's editorial board that he has changed his mind about Proposition 39, and regrets the error of supporting it at the time.
So those are your choices for Governor on the Republican side of the ledger, folks. A woman who didn't begin voting in California until 2002, and a man lacking the courage of whatever convictions he's hiding under that sport coat.