There were no eBay unions. What is more, Whitman never has gone toe to toe with the public employee unions who have blocked Schwarzenegger's reforms in the past.
This is where Whitman's "right person, right job, right time" management mantra comes in. When I asked about the public furor likely to follow if she were perceived as a veto-happy obstructionist governor, Whitman replied, "Or not. I actually think the public might be thrilled to death."
"If your ratings go down, it's OK," she said. And: "You will never be popular in a turnaround." Yet her model of an executive-turned-politician is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- and he is popular. And in her mind, California needs a turnaround. After she had been at eBay a few years, Whitman said, the executive staff began to wonder: If we had to start eBay all over again, would we do it in California?
Which state would you pick? I asked. She answered, "Probably Texas."