Here’s a cost-cutting suggestion for whichever of the two Republican gubernatorial candidates emerges from the June 8 primary.
Don’t make any new TV ads for the fall. Simply take the attack ads your defeated opponent has been using against you – and re-cut them slightly, replacing foreboding graphics and music with friendly and upbeat stuff. In substance, the attack ads you’re facing now may be the best advertisement you have for yourself in the general election.
Seriously. Watching Poizner blast Whitman and Whitman attack Poizner for these last several weeks, I’ve had the through-the-looking glass reaction of an independent, Decline-to-State voter: the attacks make each more attractive.
Here’s what I mean. The Poizner described by Whitman’s attack ads (and on anti-Poizner site) sounds like the kind of Republican a centrist might want to vote for – someone who has supported Democrats in the past and has centrist and even a few left-of-center positions on issues. The Whitman described by Poizner – an open-borders, pro-immigrant Republican – sounds like the kind of governor who would stop scapegoating Mexican immigrants and wouldn’t be afraid to talk about how immigration is vital to California’s success.
Of course, in the parallel universe of Republican primary politics, Poizner and Whitman have to claim not to be the people each says the other is. The unreality of this is even more pronounced since we have strong reason to believe that Poizner and Whitman both used to be the electable sort of moderate Republicans described in the attack ads. At least until they ran for high office.
Of course, California moves pretty fast. Something that’s a sin on June 7 will become a virtue by the time the polls close the next day. Buckle up, California. The primary winner’s June 9 hard-center turn may be enough to give us all whiplash.