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Steve Lopez: The real outrage behind the Whitman 'whore' remark

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef013483a0868a970c-600wi

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0133f4150cbe970b-pi All right, sure. I think we can all agree that it's inappropriate for either Jerry Brown or one of his staffers to refer to Meg Whitman, his rival, as a whore.

What are all the impressionable young students in civics classes supposed to think? Wait, do we still fund civics classes in California?

If you saw the story about a recorded phone conversation Brown had with the Los Angeles Police Protective League, whose endorsement he was shopping for, it's not clear whether it was Brown or one of his snarky minions who used the "prostitute" reference.

But here's the deal: The endorsement went to Whitman, who would have you believe that public-employee unions are public enemy No. 1 and that they've got Brown in their pocket, making him incapable of reining in spending or balancing a budget.

And yet Meg had agreed to exempt public-safety employees from a pension reform plan in which she would move state workers into 401(k)s. Yeah, she's tough as nails, but she'll sell her soul for an endorsement.

If "whore" is the wrong word for that, is "hypocrite" the right one? You be the judge.

Talk to me, California.

-- Steve Lopez

Photos: Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown. Credit: Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (264)

I was thinking exactly the same thing. Meg's lack of integrity isn't the issue, but an aide's salty tongue gets the headlines. It's an insult to prostitutes to call Meg one, as she is too ugly for anyone to spend a penny on for sex. The ugliest part of her body is her mind.

There are good reasons to treat public-safety pensions differently than other public-employee pensions. Police officers and firefighters take much greater risks than teachers and clerks. That does not mean that their pension plans do not need revision, just that defined-benefit plans should continue to exist in some form.

Whether you are a Whitman fan or a Brown fan, it was still an inapproriate remark.

It would be one thing if Brown called her that. He didn't. Is he responsible for what his associates say?

This type of deal is what got California into it's worse financial period. If you want to balance the budget, you need to bring down the high saleries of the Fed., State, County, and City employees. They are payed around 200% more than the private sector for the same position. The trend by politicians is to take our taxes and use them for raises for themselves and their employees, instead of our taxes going for services like infrastructure, they go into cost of living raises. Just look at our roads today, high saleries will not give us good roads, nor will high pentions. When are the politicians going to understand that you can not balance anything if you have the money going into overpaying a bunch of people who feel they are superior to the tax payer. You must not use taxes for saleries like it is being done today, for it's just a smaller version of what the City of Bell's officials did to their city. Eventually California will go broke as it almost did last year. P/S If we do get fedral help the money will be passed out in salery increases for the employees once again and not services.

As a past subscriber of Los Angeles times, I often read all your comments about issues that affects Californians. I admire your deep analysis and provocative criticism commentaries. "Whore" is insulting and sexist. Politics nowadays is just dirty business, however, politicians or their minions must and always avoid using derogatory words demeaning to the opposite sex. Hypocrite is just not the word either. Two bad words just don't make it right.

Doesn't anyone want to print the FACT that it was, JERRY' S WIFE who made the remark, and Jerry went along with it??

"Whore" might be a bit much. I prefer "slattern" or "strumpet."

I think that people overlook a big issue, here: Whitman is a complete unknown, having not served a day in public office. What will she do, what is her character? Brown, whatever you may think of him, in 30+ years of public service, has basically never had a scandal, and has never taken anything for himself, as politicians so often do. Whitman has had two scandals, one being the rip off of Ebay owners of her insider trading deal, the other the illegal. The "whore" comment has highlighted her willingness to give a financial favor to those who she publically calls the enemy, a union. So much for the unbribable billionaire! These three things speak volumes to her character, which is found wanting in many ways.
Do I find the "whore" comment appropriate? Not to be spoken in public. However, it was spoken in private, where I think any citizen may say whatever they want.

Courtesy, civism are a two way street and when some one has neither, they can't claim neither. But I do prefer frankness to double talk. When some one says something and then claims that she didn't understand the question, that means she lying, unless she came through the ranks of ESL, otherwise, she is just trying to CYA and those lies are worst that being called a whore. This term could be interpreted literally or figuratevely and my chosen option is she is a political whore. I'm not sure about the other meaning. Something defenitely has to be wrong with America that allows people who make millions, suddenly decide to run for thousands, which in turn, it means that, a la Dick Cheney, the coward from Wyoming, Mr Deferment, tyhat if you give up millions for thousands that means that he, she expect to make billions trough the back door or under the table, just lile republicans love to do. How much money she expects to collect from corporate America and special interests. I know that tricky Dickey got billions from Halliburton and big oil. I guess Whitman wants to the same and the one paying for the broken dishes will be the stupid voters that seem not to see past their noses.

Well, Dictionary.com gives the meaning of "whore" as a woman who engages in sexual activity for money, etc and we all know just by looking at Meg Whitman that no one would ever have sex with her so "Whore" was probably the wrong word. But there MUST be another word for someone who sells themselves for political advantage. Like you said, "hypocrite" is good but, in my opinion, overused. "Skank" would be a good one.
I know, "Hypocriticial pond scum skank". How's that?

Love your columns Steve!!!

Once you realize that ALL politicians, whatever the letter is after their names, are whores and hypocrites, it makes things even out. I am still voting for Whitman even after Nannygate or whatever it is called. I don't believe the lady involved (she would had more creditability if she was not involved with Gloria). At the very least she is talking about doing some type of pension reform to some public employees; it should be all, but it is a step in the correct direction.

In less than a month Meg Whitman will have been huffingtoned. What a lot of money signifying nothing.

Look, someone got hot under the collar with the buy the vote approach of Meg-a-bucks. But lest these folks in public safety believe they will be made the exception, look at her record at Goldman Sachs, Hasbro, e-Bay. Where Meg-a-bucks goes, CALIFORNIA unemployment follows. She may create jobs in Mexico, but she isn't running for President of Mexico is she? She will say and do anything to get what she wants. They are free to endorse whomever they wish, and they will also reap the outcomes of their choices. Meg-a-bucks is a bad choice for California.

Please, all this faux indignation by her staffers is laughable. As a feminist, I am not offended in the least. Jerry's staffer told it like it was.
Whore is not necessaily a gender specific term. One can be an attention whore, for example. In fact, when i read TJ Simers, that same word comes to mind because I do not believe he is serious about anything other than creating sufficient shock and awe to sustain his employment by LAT.

No, "whore" seems appropriate.

Politicians in general fit the description of the word whore. They sell their "bodies" to the PACs as soon as they get in to office. If the shoe fits.

YES, HYPOCRITE cretan should be her TITLE. She earned it.
Californians Wake Up..Do Not, Read my lips, DO NOT give this woman power. EVER.

The stuff about Whitman selling out to the unions is old news. She has said for some time that she would exempt cops and firefighters from any two-tier pension system. Nothing new here.

Jerry Brown's aide, on learning that Whitman had "sold" her pension position in return for an endorsement, asked if the Democratic campaign should call her a "whore". No one actually called her that. The question was asked as to whether to call her that. Yet the debate rages on because the word was used.

The word "whore" has a long history of being used to describe anyone, male or female, who sells out his or her beliefs. It has nothing to do with sex workers these days.

Incredibly, the head of EMILY's List and a female professor at American University are gasping like Victorian maidens clutching their smelling salts. These girls need to grow up. I use "girls" intentionally because they certainly don't have the maturity (or the understanding of language) to be regarded as adults.

This newspaper is published in Los Angeles, the home of the "entertainment industry". The "industry" routinely features in coverage where nearly everyone involved in a transaction could be referred to as a "whore" using the standard definition.

Why the fuss? Is Meg Whitman's virtue so besmirched that her husband will challenge Jerry Brown to a duel? The point being made was that Meg Whitman has no virtue, at least according to Brown's aide. The word was correct. The entire story is just silly.

Jerry Brown may not be the ideal candidate for governor, but Whitman would be a disaster for decades to come.

All politicians are whores, if that term is used to describe one who gets something for something. Why complicate what Whitman did? She is a hypocrite, and the question is what can the voter expect from a hypocrite? What can a hypocrite do that's in the voter's best interest?

Sure, Whitman's a whore-she finally named her price! So Brown has potty-mouthed aides-fire the guy. But blaming Brown isn't the problem-it's the Protective League's revelation of the name-calling a week or so after the fact. Sounds like Whitman's throwing stones in her own billion dollar house!

Both the terms "political whore" and" hypocrite" fit Whitman. However, politically, it would have been better if the term hypocrite had been used.

Use of the word whore in this context displays disgust with women in general; and powerful, independent women in particular.

 
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