Whitman's strength, Hoffenblum noted, "is that she is a woman," part of a voter group the GOP has trouble winning. Better yet, she's a billionaire woman, who guided a Silicon Valley startup to become a global giant.
Whitman is said to be a quick study. Her liabilities start with her failure to vote in the 2002, 2004 and 2006 primaries, as well as the 2003 recall election and 2005 special election. Whitman isn't talking to the media yet, but her spokesman, political strategist Mitch Zak, noted, "It's something she regrets, and again it was in a time when she was focused on eBay and raising a family."
The problem is, while Whitman, who became a Republican in September, was too busy to vote, she was not too busy to write checks to Democratic causes -- something Poizner did as well when he wrote a $10,000 check to the Gore Recount Committee. Zak explained that, as a high-tech exec, of course Whitman donated to tech-friendly politicians. Poizner wrote the $10,000 check for his wife, an aide explained.
Are these lethal issues? No. But they make one wonder if Whitman is another big-bucks big-ego, who recently discovered politics and now wants to run the show. I don't know the answer, but Whitman will have to persuade voters she is not. (By the way, I briefly met Whitman on a plane flying back from the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. She was flying coach.)
When I asked Zak why Whitman wasn't running for a seat not already being sought by a viable Republican, he replied, "The Senate race has never been a consideration. If Meg Whitman runs, it's going to be for governor and no other office. She's a CEO. She's a leader."
Would she consider raising taxes? "No," Zak answered, "she does not believe government should be in the business of raising taxes."
Great -- not. Once again, you see a Republican candidate promising the impossible -- that Californians can send the most liberal big-spending Democrats to Sacramento year after year and there will be no consequences in the form of higher taxes. That's why the budget is in this mess.
With that message, Whitman might as well run for head Spartan in the battle against the Persians at Thermopylae. It'd be a short gig, but she can be CEO.
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