On the race for California’s next governor, Project Economic Refugee previously exposed Steve Poizner for all his poisonous rhetorical attacks on immigrants, economic refugees, and by extension on Latinos and other minorities. Meanwhile, Meg Whitman, his opponent in the Republican June 8 primary, has been particularly slick on the way her campaign has handled the issue. She has proven that she certainly knows on which channels she should air her anti-immigrant messages and on which ones she should not: she has shown relative restraint on her T.V. ads but has let loose on the radio, unlike Steve Poizner who to his own political peril has gone all out with his blame-the-immigrants messages on T.V. where you unavoidely reach a more complex political spectrum.
A marketing expert, Meg Whitman has shown she has definitely done her P.R. homework by airing her own anti-immigrant rhetoric via a virtual focus on the radio. This would make strategic sense for her, since radio tends to be dominated by conservatives because of corporate monopolies favoring right-wing hate speech. Radio has definitely allowed her to be as sneaky and as anti-immigrant as she chooses to be, avoiding alineating Latino and other minorities that have strong connections to the immigrant experience should she go all out on immigrants on T.V. as well.
In fact, she has decided to go after immigrants on the radio in a blaze of glory, featuring none other but the infamous Pete Wilson, the former Governor of California, who after his unabashed support for that state’s Proposition 187 in the 90’s, became the hero of anti-immigrant rhetoric and bigots all over California. Meg Whitman first started slow, focusing on having Pete Wilson do a subtle endorsement of her policies without actually mentioning the topic of immigration. Take a listen:
Here’s the transcript of the ad (via Meg Whitman’s own site):
ANNOUNCER: Former Governor of California Pete Wilson.
PETE WILSON: What has happened to California? Our taxes are too high, other states are stealing our jobs and government is California’s growth industry. This year we must elect a governor who has created thousands of jobs in the private sector, not government. A governor with a courage to make tough decisions and to say no to the spenders in the legislature.
Meg Whitman is the only candidate, Republican or Democrat, who is up to the challenge. Meg isn’t a politician. Her experience is making payrolls, not excuses. And she’s committed to rebuilding California by creating jobs, cutting spending and making our schools work. Some say California is ungovernable. Well, I know better. You bet California can be fixed with the right gutsy leader. And her name is Meg Whitman.
MEG WHITMAN: It’s time for A New California. Share your ideas and read my plan at TalkToMeg.com.
ANNOUNCER: Paid for by Meg Whitman for Governor 2010.
Then upon deciding not to be outdone by Poizner, she went all out with unleashing Pete Wilson, borrowing from his rhetoric and doing what conservatives do best: reducing the issue to their typical mantra of “they’re just illegals”:
Here is a transcript of the ad (also via Meg Whitman’s own website):
Announcer: Meg Whitman on illegal immigration.
Meg Whitman: Don’t be fooled by misleading ads, my position on immigration is crystal clear. Illegal immigrants are just that, illegal. I am 100 percent against amnesty for illegal immigrants. Period. As Governor, I will crack down on so-called sanctuary cities like San Francisco who thumb their nose at our laws. Illegal immigrants should not expect benefits from the state of California. No driver’s license and no admission to state-funded institutions of higher education. And I’ll create an economic fence to crack down on employers who break the law by using illegal labor.
Pete Wilson: This is former Governor Pete Wilson. I know how important it is to stop illegal immigration and I know Meg Whitman. Meg will be tough as nails on illegal immigration. She’ll fight to secure our border and go after sanctuary cities. Please join me in supporting Meg Whitman for Governor.
Announcer: Paid for by Meg Whitman for Governor 2010. Meg2010.com.
Steve Poizner, once again being his awkward and short-sighted self, has chosen to be even more flamboyant for his hatred of immigrants by actually launching an ad that cheers Arizona’s new racist authoritarian police law:
…and where is the Democratic Party candidate, Jerry Brown on all this, you might ask? You might expect he’d be recording both of Meg Whitman’s radio ads and Steve Poizner’s T.V. ones and use them against either one of them in the general election in Spanish and Asian language T.V. channels. Well, don’t hold your breath: Jerry Brown has chosen to hide behind a slogan of “centrist” and boring rhetoric. Via an interview he gave with the San Francisco Chronicle:
In the interview, Brown espoused centrist positions on some key issues that may clearly present a challenge to the two Republican gubernatorial candidates – former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner – who are trying to paint him as a free-spending liberal and the “Gov. Moonbeam” of the past.
Brown said he would not support raising taxes unless voters approved, that he can live with the current two-thirds majority needed to pass new taxes and state budgets, and that he does not believe changes are needed in the Proposition 13 tax initiative [for the background on Prop. 13 click here].
He also said he opposes so-called “sanctuary cities” and driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants and said he is “not going to jump on the (marijuana) legalization bandwagon.”
Thus reinforcing the double-standard of American politics: conservatives can be as crazy and as extremists to their base, meanwhile progressives are still afraid of being seen as “too liberals”, even among their base. Conservatives are definitely not afraid to be seen as “too conservative”, in fact the more conservative they are labeled as, the better for them. Unless Jerry Brown changes course and tries to energize his base with a progressive message instead of sticking to his boring “centrist” one, California might as well just get ready for Meg Whitman to be its next governor.
Update: well, Meg Whitman has finally decided to up her campaign ads and match Steve Poizner’s poisonous rhetoric on the T.V. Here’s her latest T.V. ad attacking immigrants and refugees letting go of whatever little restraint she previously showed. Wonder how will this resonate with the Latino vote come November?