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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

CA: E-Meg and Sister Souljah

Joe Mathews writes that Whitman may gain from her clash with John & Ken and from Tom McClintock's non-endorsement:

While they may not realize it, the views of the Republican base and its most active voices, like McClintock and much of conservative talk radio, are repugnant to the sort of California independent swing voters who decide elections. Thus, they represent a huge liability for a Republican nominee in a general election.

So Whitman, by publicly disagreeing with such folks, is doing a smart thing. Her appearance on John & Ken's Southern California radio may have been the most effective of her campaign. She may have sounded unsteady, but she disagreed with the hosts - a point that came through in TV and print reports on the encounter.

Yes, that required some verbal somersaults, most notably on the climate change law AB 32, where she's done a violent enough flip flop (from opposing it as a job killer to saying she still supports it) to require chiropractic care. But politics has always been tough on the back.

McClintock's non-endorsement of her is also a blessing in disguise. The congressman and former state legislator has a perfect record in statewide races - he's lost them all - so his support is of little value. But his opposition is worth something - as a way of communicating to independent voters that she's not one of those wing-nuts. In this way, McClintock - along with John & Ken - have a lot in common with Sister Souljah.

One might also add another benefit from the otherwise troublesome radio segment. Until then, Whitman had appeared mostly in friendly venues, and so had gained little experience with stressful campaign situations. The show was an early test of her ability to maintain composure under provocation. And although her answers weren't the most skillful, she got through the program without losing her temper -- quite a feat given that they interrupted her repeatedly.