Meg Whitman made a fortune helping a company collect small fees on the sale of vintage Cher dolls and Barbra Streisand records. Which, in her eyes, makes her a perfect candidate for California’s governor. She’s running not on social issues, but on economics; her basic platform is “whatever’s good for business is good by me.” Oh, but then she forgot this little thing: Voters care about social issues. A big one in California? THE GHEYS!
Yes, that old same-sex marriage thing, which seems to be on its never-ending comeback tour. Whitman, you see, voted for Prop 8. Her decision, she’ll have you believe, isn’t because she hates gay people or wants to infringe on their rights, but because she is a religious person, believes marriage is a sacred institution that reserves the right to divorce for heteros, and thinks civil unions are good enough to shut your second-class trap up. Her spokesman even said so: “She is absolutely a strong supporter of civil unions and it’s evident by her leadership at eBay. It was tremendously inclusive in that regard.”
Whitman also believes in the sanctity of past “mistakes”: She wants those who married after it was legal but before Prop 8 to be able to stay married, ensuring a clusterfuck of beaucracy whenever you file taxes or apply for health benefits.
But now that she’s forced to keep acknowledging all this gay stuff, she’s telling potential voters, “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.”
Well that sounds nice. Also: “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.”
Wow. So you’re a champion for our community? Not quite: “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.”
As Chris Kelly translates, “Marriage is strictly a religious idea, and that’s why I voted to have it written into state law.”
This back and forth isn’t terribly interesting on its face; politicians have a history of hemming and hawing. But realize: Whitman is running on the Republican ticket, and she needs the win the primary with a conservative base. Thus, the anti-gay marriage stuff. But as a whole, the GOP seems to be (and would be wise to actually start) abandoning its vehement anti-gay stance, because beyond “the base,” same-sex marriage is becoming less and less of a concern. Thus, Whitman’s “but, but, but I like the gays” have-it-both-ways follow-up.
It would be so much easier if we just had a site on the world wide web that could tell us, by allowing any person to name a price, how much value to place on any of her positions.