Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Whitman Still On Top

Meg Whitman has increased her lead over the other GOP gubernatorial candidates in the latest round of poll. Her early dominance is largely due to the her aggressive spending early on. She has already run through almost $20 million, despite being seven months out from the primary.

Two thoughts occur to me. We know front-runners don't always end up winning. Ask presidents Dean and Giuliani about that one. But I think that often, being a front-runner can actually hurt in a prolonged campaign. Obviously, it makes you everyone else's target. Poizner isn't going to waste money throwing attack ads at Campbell, he's going to go after Whitman (and has already started). But more importantly, I think voters just get sick of people. Hearing the same name over and over has an effect over time. A person's personal charisma has a lot to do with the length of time it takes for the boredom to kick in, but it will eventually happen. Meg might be kicking herself in a few months, asking why it mattered so much what voters thought in November of 2009.

The other thing is that, just as people get bored with candidates, they get bored with issues. Meg's embarrassing voting record, and more importantly, her campaign's inept and flat-footed response, will be ancient history by next November. If she's going to be beaten, it won't be because she never voted for George H. W. Bush. (Full disclosure. I REALLY want to like Meg Whitman. While none of the candidates are social conservatives, she's the closest. She's also the one with the most potential in terms of her charisma and talents. So far though, she'd tried VERY VERY hard to discourage me. Avoiding all but softball interviews, acting as an ATM for consultants, and not voting for most of her adult life aren't exactly selling points.)