Whitman unfit to lead

May 28, 2010 — by Vijay Menon

Regardless of your interest in the 2010 California gubernatorial race, chances are you’ve heard the name Meg Whitman in some way, shape or form within the last couple of months. Whitman, the former CEO of E-Bay, has inundated the radio and television with ads touting her credentials and encouraging voters to support her campaign for the governorship.

Although always considered a leading candidate in the race, Whitman now finds herself in a heated contest with fellow Republican Steve Poizner just for the party nomination. Even if she wins the primary, she is projected to face a tough fight against Democrat Jerry Brown. Despite her claims to the contrary, Whitman is unfit to lead California for a host of reasons.

The gubernatorial contest in 2010 is perhaps the most important in years. California is in a state of crisis, with many analysts deeming it America’s first “failed state.” A multitude of issues plague the state, and in such a time, the governorship requires a tested political leader.

Whitman lacks the political experience necessary to govern California at a time like this. As a candidate, Whitman has traditionally played up her experience at E-Bay as a measure of her leadership abilities. While she is surely an accomplished business leader, Whitman simply cannot expect to lead America’s most populous state if that is the greatest accomplishment she can list on her resume. Although history has repeatedly proven false the mantra that experience brings success, Whitman is not only inexperienced; she is a straight-up political newcomer who cannot expect to make a successful debut on such an uncertain stage.

Beyond the simple issue of inexperience, however, lie deeper concerns about Whitman’s past. With the recent SEC investigation into Goldman Sachs, many red flags have been raised in regard to Whitman’s former ties to the company. Although these ties have been exploited to some extent by the media’s hatred for Wall Street, the fact that Whitman has been tied to the corporation is, if not a direct indictment against her character, troubling at the very least.

Much concern has also been raised with regards to Whitman’s spotty voting record. Although she has voted in some elections in the past 30 years, her record of civic engagement has been abysmal. For a candidate who claims to be energized and ready to transform the politics of California, her inability to exercise the simplest of civic duties is worrisome.

With a candidate like Whitman, the inevitable question of campaign spending again comes into play. Many have accused Whitman, a billionaire, of trying to “buy” the governorship. Although it is unfair to fault Whitman for spending heavily on the campaign, there is no doubt that she wouldn’t be a household name had it not been for her campaign reserves. Whitman, who is spending heavily out of her own pocket, has taken advantage of her significant financial advantage to gain recognition against the less known Poizner. The key point is that Whitman is enjoying popularity beyond that which is deserved simply because she has money to blow on advertising.

As a candidate, Meg Whitman simply does not possess the tools necessary to lead California during a time of crisis. While she is undoubtedly a talented woman, perhaps politics is not the right career move for Whitman in such an important time for California.

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