Monday, September 05, 2016

eMeg campaigns for Clinton

This is not the kind of story progressive Democrats like to see: Seema Mehta, Meg Whitman stumps for Hillary Clinton, demurs when asked about Cabinet post 08/30/82016. This is not the kind of thing I want to be hearing about a campaign that has a great chance to build a real public mandate for important progressive policy ideas which it (nominally?) supports:

Republican billionaire Meg Whitman, in her first appearance on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton, wouldn’t rule out serving in a Cabinet position if the Democratic presidential nominee wins the White House in the fall.

“We’ll see what happens,” Whitman told KUSA-TV in Denver, adding that she enjoyed her life in California and was committed to Hewlett-Packard, where she is chief executive. ...

Whitman, who previously served on the GOP presidential campaigns of 2016 candidate Chris Christie, 2012 nominee Mitt Romney and 2008 nominee John McCain, praised Clinton’s “compassion, commitment and courage,” and told the crowd that Clinton would be the steward for the nation’s economy.

“If you are a lifelong Republican, it’s hard to come across [the partisan divide,]” Whitman said, according to the Denver Post. “But I decided that this year it was clear to me that Secretary Clinton’s temperament, leadership experience and commitment to America’s foundational values make her the far better choice for president.”

In interviews with local media, Whitman said she remained a Republican, and after voting for Clinton in November, she would work to rebuild her party.[my emphasis]

In the still-unlikely event that Hillary loses to Trump, her campaign will of course blame Bernie Sanders and his supporters, even though Sanders endorsed her and is campaigning for her. That's how it works with the establishment Democrats, the DFHs are always to blame.

Still, I have to wonder what her campaign thinks that she will get from having eMeg Whitman campaign for her. eMeg's major direct foray into politics was her ill-fated campaign for Governor against Jerry Brown in 2010. She outspent him by a large margin, tens of millions more. But she lost. She's spent much of her career giving speeches to corporate and investor audiences who were unlikely to press her on hot-button political issues. And she mostly went before FOX News and other friendly media during her campaign. It really showed in their debates, which sealed it for Jerry. Who, not incidentally, is a master debater.

But she was about as uninspiring a candidate as you could imagine. Unless you include that guy who ran against him in 2014 who nobody knew and nobody remembers. What does eMeg campaigning bring that's positive? It's not as though Hillary is in desperate need of shoring up the women's vote. Of course, if she plans to continue Obama's Bipartisan schtick after she wins...

But even that doesn't make sense. Republicans have not special fondness for eMeg, not even the ones who know who she is.

John Frank reported on eMeg's Denver appearance in Republican Meg Whitman makes campaign debut for Hillary Clinton in Colorado Denver Post 08/30/2016:

Clinton is the first Democrat for president that Whitman endorsed. She supported Al Gore in 2000 and has donated to various other Democratic politicians in recent years.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper introduced Whitman and suggested her endorsement of Clinton is “one of the most significant moments” in the effort to recruit support across the aisle.

“The business community has really turned out in force, again and again” for Clinton, he said. “It’s not surprising. … There’s not much of a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. What’s perplexing for some of us is there are still some business people out there who haven’t followed through on that.” [my emphasis]
After nearly eight years of President Obama confronting radical Republican obstructionism with tepid Bipartisanship, Democrats should be take talk of working "across the aisle" or reaching "across the aisle" or doing anything else "across the aisle" as a signal that the candidate doesn't take progressive Democratic positions seriously.

And having the Democratic Presidential campaign reach "across the aisle" also doesn't help much with inspiring Democratic turnout in the fall, turnout that is critical to building Democratic strength in the House and Senate.

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