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Chris Kelly

Chris Kelly

Posted: May 12, 2009 05:35 AM

Meg Whitman Week -- Tuesday: The Gay Thing


Meg Whitman, putative frontrunner for the Republican nomination for Governor of California, wants to make something perfectly clear about the kind of leader she'll be: The kind who doesn't give a shit.

She'd like to cut corporate taxes and get rid of some regulations and that's it. On any issue but the bottom line, you're on your own. Here's twenty bucks. Now get out of here before I change my mind.

This kind of... oh, let's call it "vision"... lets her avoid a lot of baggage that would bog down your average candidate, who has a lot of fool "positions" on "issues." It also leads to some pretty funny reporting from people who expect her to care about the things that generally interest office-seekers. How can you characterize the opinions of someone who doesn't have any? You end up with scoops like this:

"So first of all, what you should know is I'm not running for governor based on social issues -- I'm running for governor to fix and really transform the California economy." said Whitman, a Presbyterian.

She's not a stealth candidate; that would imply she has something to hide. She truly hasn't given government any thought. It's not just that she hasn't voted very much. It's like she's spent the last fifty years being fed through a tube.

Which should make her the perfect Republican candidate for a Democratic state except for one thing: You're not allowed to not have an opinion about gay marriage.

Meg Whitman tried. And here's what she came up with:

"I want you to know I am all about equal rights and I want to make sure that gay and lesbian people are treated equally under the eyes of the law."

But:

"The reason that I voted 'yes' on Prop. 8 was that civil unions provide virtually all the rights and remedies to gay and lesbian couples that marriage does and my personal point of view is that the definition of 'marriage' is a religious term that should be between and man and a woman."

In other words:

Marriage is strictly a religious idea, and that's why I voted to have it written into state law.

And:

Gay people must have equal rights. And by "equal," I mean "not equal."

As Alan Bennett has the Headmaster say in Forty Years On -- "I'm all in favour of free expression, provided it's kept rigidly under control."

So why did a smart cookie like Meg Whitman choose to make the first political opinion of her life something so tortured we probably do it to detainees?

Because she knows she can't get win a general election without white women, and 53% of them support gay marriage, and she can't get the Republican nomination without Republicans, and 82% of them don't.