Former Rep. Tom Campbell, the moderate Republican who is consistently the most original and thoughtful of any of the candidates for governor, spoke this morning at former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown's annual election day breakfast in San Francisco.
Rather than give a traditional speech, he cited a list of the top 25 "whoppers" that candidates for state office in California typically tell. Many of them relate directly to positions other candidates for governor have taken, but Campbell pointedly decided not to name names. The list warrants wider dissemination, so here goes:
"A 'whopper' is a statement that the person making it knows is not true, but it's useful in a campaign. Here are the 25 worst whoppers I've heard...
1. The budget will be balanced if only the wealthy pay their fair share.
2. Cut taxes and government revenue will automatically rise. (The logical corollary is that government will generate most revenue at a tax rate of zero.)
3. You can balance the state budget by eliminating 'waste, fraud, and abuse.'
4. You can balance the state budget by a 'top down' review to get rid of hundreds of state programs.
5. You can balance the budget if you 'run the state like a business.'
6. You can balance the budget by firing thousands of state workers.
7. We can solve California's water shortage if only farms would use drip irrigation.
8. We can solve California's water shortage if only Southern Californians would stop watering their lawns, and washing their 3rd and 4th cars.
9. We don't need to build new dams -- the system we completed 48 years ago is more than adequate today.
10. All our country's petroleum needs can be met by offshore drilling.
11. No source of energy is worse than nuclear.
12. Global warming is all made up.
13. Stopping global warming is more important to the 3rd world than clean water, child immunization, or anti-malaria treated mosquito nets.
14. You can't trust companies to stop producing greenhouse gases without monitoring every smokestack.
15. A new health care plan to cover everyone won't add a dime to the deficit.
16. One Republican Senator makes a bill bipartisan.
17. Thank God for Mississippi, because otherwise, California would be dead last in per pupil education funding. (Actually, we're 26th.)
18. California can cut funding to education without worsening results.
19. It's OK to have more than 30 students in a class, because children really don't learn better in smaller classes.
20. There's no such thing as a bad teacher -- that's why we haven't fired any.
21. You can fix education if you only allow corporal punishment back in the classroom.
22. The government can print 3 trillion dollars in new money without causing inflation.
23. The Wall Street melt-down was caused by paying greedy CEO's too much.
24. There's nothing wrong with Wall Street that more federal regulation can't fix.
25. You can raise 7 million dollars without really deciding to run for governor!"