Brown campaign strategized over calling Whitman a “whore”

posted at 12:55 pm on October 8, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Look on the bright side.  It’s an improvement over Jerry Brown’s earlier comment comparing Meg Whitman to Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels:

With evident frustration, Brown discussed the pressure he was under to refuse to reduce public safety pensions or lose law enforcement endorsements to Whitman. Months earlier, Whitman had agreed to exempt public safety officials from key parts of her pension reform plan.

“Do we want to put an ad out? … That I have been warned if I crack down on pensions, I will be – that they’ll go to Whitman, and that’s where they’ll go because they know Whitman will give ‘em, will cut them a deal, but I won’t,” Brown said.

At that point, what appears to be a second voice interjects: “What about saying she’s a whore?”

“Well, I’m going to use that,” Brown responds. “It proves you’ve cut a secret deal to protect the pensions.”

Right off the bat, one has to wonder whether California wants to elect a gubernatorial candidate who is not competent enough to hang up the phone.  Brown made a call to a police union official to discuss whether Whitman was making any promises to them and personally left a message … and then let the connection stay in place while his political team talked about how to attack both Whitman and the union over secret negotiations.  Even apart from the political considerations, that’s just idiotic, and it’s no surprise that the union released the audio after listening to the rest of the conversation.

Even worse is the word “whore,” although let’s be careful about trumpeting victimization as well.  Both men and women are called political whores for their connections to special interests, so this isn’t exactly as personal an attack as it first seems.  However, most people will recoil at the use of the term in the context of a female candidate for obvious reasons — and it is also more than fair to point out that had the party affiliations been reversed and a Republican man said this about a Democratic woman running for office, it would be reviled as a revelation about the supposed misogyny of the GOP, blah blah blah.  Turnabout is certainly fair play, in the proper context.

The larger point is that Brown is a loose cannon, and a failure as both a candidate and as a governor, as his previous two terms have shown.  If Brown willingly engaged in a strategy discussion about whether to paint Whitman as a whore of any stripe, it shows just how intellectually bankrupt his campaign has become, and how much California needs to send this lifelong public-sector employee to his own pension.

Update: Brown’s campaign confirms the conversation but says Brown was agreeing with another suggestion and not the “whore” idea, while Whitman blasts Brown:

A Brown campaign spokesman confirmed the tape’s authenticity, but “said that Brown was responding to the notion of accusing Whitman of cutting a deal to gain endorsements, not to the use of the word ‘whore,’” the L.A. Times said.

Whitman campaign spokesman Sarah Pompei released a response to reports of the recording late Thursday.

“The use of the term ‘whore’ is an insult to both Meg Whitman and to the women of California. This is an appalling and unforgivable smear against Meg Whitman. At the very least Mr. Brown tacitly approved this despicable slur and he himself may have used the term at least once on this recording,” Pompei said.

I think Carly Fiorina should ask Barbara Boxer whether she endorses that kind of attack strategy.  That would make a fun conversation!


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Comments

Can anyone imagine what would happen to California if Brown won? Good Lord, the unions would mug taxpayers in the streets.

darwin on October 9, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Brown is a hoar!

profitsbeard on October 9, 2010 at 12:16 PM

Brown is still ahead. Whitman’s excessive spending there may have hurt her beyond repair.

That type of excess nearly always reaches a tipping point.

AnninCA on October 9, 2010 at 4:46 PM

The problem Ann, is rather simple.

What does Meg Whitman stand for? We know that Jerry Brown is a careerist cornholio.

Bold colors, not pale pastels, please. No one can say what Meg is for.

victor82 on October 9, 2010 at 6:46 PM

Brown is a loose cannon

Obama/Brown the Dem ticket in 2012?

itsnotaboutme on October 9, 2010 at 7:01 PM

We really need for Brown to win. With the republicans in charge of the house, hopefully when CA comes begging to BHO for money, the house will say ” Noway Jose”.

BruceB on October 9, 2010 at 11:39 PM

It’s very difficult to believe the voters in Ca. could even think about Brown considering the shape of the state of fruits and nuts and this brownie (pun intended) has been in political office somewhere in the state forever.

Wade on October 10, 2010 at 5:25 PM