When Republicans nominated two high-profile former CEOs who are women for statewide offices in California, I figured the fates of Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina were tied at the hip. Not only were their profiles and themes similar — fiscal conservatives with business sense, taking on calcified embodiments of the state’s exhausted liberal establishment — but it was hard to imagine the state’s voters feeling dramatically different about what they wanted in a governor and in a senator.
Now I’m not so sure. Whitman has taken a tumble in the polls, no doubt. (If her slide really does stem from the housekeeper brouhaha, then perhaps it’s time to give up on that place. I understand Lex Luthor has a plan to bring dramatic change to California’s troubled landscape.) And even in this most expensive of states, to spend more than $140 million and to trail boggles the mind.
Fiorina seems to be polling a little better, and has the advantage of running against a true incumbent. I think Whitman is far and away a better choice for Californians, and keep waiting for the Democrats to admit that the Jerry Brown campaign has been a big joke. But if the state really is going to send the old retread to Sacramento, maybe they’ll be wary of embracing both icons of the liberal approach to governance that has left their state in such a mess.