Man, it’s not even March and the political mudslinging is splattering California. The latest involves Santa Cruz’s own Bruce McPherson, my first editor at the Sentinel (his family once owned the paper), later a state legislator and California’s secretary of state. The Los Angeles Times reported this week that when McPherson told Marty Wilson, campaign manager for Carly Fiorina, who is running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, that he was backing his longtime friend Tom Campbell instead, Wilson replied, “Why would you do that? He’s an anti-Semite.”
Wilson adamantly denied making the remark and McPherson was just as adamant, telling a reporter that he didn’t “make it up.”
I haven’t yet talked to McPherson about the flap, but there’s some background. First, is that Campbell has been under political fire for what Fiorina describes as his “terrible record” on Israel. That’s why the Campbell camp is making a big deal of it, Fiorina says. Secondly, Campbell has taken donations from a couple of dubious characters, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “One was arrested for spying on Congress for Saddam Hussein. Another pleaded guilty to conspiring to aid a Palestinian terrorist group,” said the Merc article.
The small print on these donations, however, are that they were made back in 2000 for Campbell’s unsuccessful Senate bid.
But that’s politics, right — and why people are so put off by the entire spectacle. I’ve known McPherson for more than 25 years and have never known him to fabricate political quotes.
Campbell must be wondering where in the world he can find a sane campaign. And the Fiorina staff is hardly distinguishing itself — remember the recent flap over the “demon sheep” ads that portrayed Campbell, who is leading Fiorina in polls, as a tax-hiking wolf?
In the other California race involving a former Silicon Valley female CEO, Republican Meg Whitman appears to already have wrapped up the GOP nomination. So her campaign has turned its sights on state Attorney General Jerry Brown. Whitman’s campaign is taunting Brown daily with a “Where’s Jerry?” chant, even though Brown clearly is waiting until March 12 to announce his intentions to run for the Democratic nomination for governor, which he can do, since he’s currently unopposed. They also made some nasty remarks after Brown’s speech last week to the Sierra Club, which, by all accounts was a rambling, shambling talk — which would not be out of character for the former governor who can sometimes verge on the incomprehensible with his intellectual gnoshing. Whitman still trails Brown in early polls.
And away we go.