Bill Whalen: Politi-Cal

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California, New Jersey and Uncivil Unions

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Here’s a quick tale of two states, on different coasts, with a lot more in common than “Real Wives” reality shows.

In one corner: the Garden State of New Jersey. A $1.6 billion budget hole, and a newly elected governor’s who’s vowed to cut spending, including $475 million in state aid to schools.

In the other corner: the Golden State of California. A $20 billion budget hole and a Republican gubernatorial candidate who’s talking about trimming spending and bureaucracy.

Two states, two big budget messes — with unions doing their best to thwart the needed reform. 

As for New Jersey, it’s Gov. Chris Christie vs. the  New Jersey Education Association, plus other state and municipal employee labor unions.

Last year, the unions gave four times more to Democrats than Republicans.

Over the past six years, the ratio is closer to 5-1 in favor of Democrat who control the state legislature.

The unions didn’t support Christie in last November, now they’re making their opposition very personal. That includes this radio spot, paid by the NJEA, which began running last week:

“When it comes to New Jersey politicians, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Governor Christie promised a new direction, but after a few weeks he’s back to the old Trenton ways of doing business . . .”

Now let’s look at California, where Republican Meg Whitman has drawn the unions’ wrath.

In her case, it’s a fight with a group called Level the Playing Field 2010, a front group for labor unions and liberal activists that promises to spend as much as $40 million to drag Whitman, the former eBay chair, through the mud.

They too have put out a radio attack ad:


“Billionaire Meg Whitman thinks she can outwit the people of California. She’s threatening to spend $150 million to crown herself governor. But Meg Whitman won’t debate her opponents, and she refuses to release her tax returns. What’s Meg Whitman trying to hide with her $150 million campaign? Why won’t Meg Whitman explain the $12 million a year she claimed in cash and bonuses when she was in charge of eBay?  Twelve million dollars while laying off hundreds of workers, including 70 employees right here in California. Maybe she’s afraid she’ll have to explain why she billed shareholders millions for her personal use of the corporate jet. It’s time for Meg Whitman to level with Californians.”

Notice what the two radio ads have in common?

Answer: Both are light on substance, and heavy on character smears.

In New Jersey, the unions would have you believe that Christie,who made his name as a U.S. Attorney, is little more than a political hack. In California, the goal is portray Whitman as a calculating and cold-hearted plutocrat.

Will they work? Guess it beats having to defend ballooning public pensions and underperforming schools.  

And makes it very hard to argue against paycheck protection, to make it harder for unions to confuse the debate and waste the public’s  time with this kind of frivolity.


Written by Bill Whalen

February 22, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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