The Whitman Waffle: Former eBay CEO opposes both Prop 23 and AB 32

Leaders lead. Whitman waffles. Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson has the story.

In an attempt to ensure that California has neither an old-energy nor new-energy economy, Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has announced her opposition to Proposition 23, the oil-fueled campaign to suspend California’s landmark climate law AB 32. Whitman also reiterated her call for a one-year moratorium of AB 32, attacking it as a “job-killer”:

While Proposition 23 does address the job killing aspects of AB 32, it does not offer a sensible balance between our vital need for good jobs and the desire of all Californians to protect our precious environment. It is too simple of a solution for a complex problem. I believe that my plan to fix AB 32 strikes the right balance for California. I will vote “no” on Proposition 23.

Whitman’s “plan to fix AB 32”³ is to delay its implementation and reconfigure its key provisions as the world burns, putting years of private investment and planning into disarray.

Whitman also implied that green jobs come at the expense of “the other 97% of jobs”:

This is not an easy issue. While green jobs are an important and growing part of our state’s economic future, we cannot forget the other 97% of jobs in key sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and energy. We compete for jobs with many other states and our environmental policy must reflect that reality.

In fact, the provisions of AB 32 make it possible for California’s jobs “in key sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and energy” to become green jobs, as they become more efficient, high-tech, and sustainable. Whitman’s call to suspend AB 32 would scrap the investments that would take those sectors into the twenty-first century “” which is why California’s high-tech community so strongly opposes Proposition 23. In a odd coincidence, 97 percent of the funding for Proposition 23 comes from oil companies, most from three outside giants, Valero, Tesoro, and Koch Industries.


Jerry Brown campaign spokesman Sterling Clifford told the Los Angeles Times that Whitman’s position on the measure was “two empty gestures in one press release” and called it an example of “transparent politicking.”

“Throughout this campaign, she’s tried to have everything every way,” Clifford said. “Nobody has any idea what a Meg Whitman governorship would mean.”

— Brad Johnson, in a Wonk Room cross-post.