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Wed Nov 3 2010 10:36:43

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

By: Ina Steiner

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After a decade running eBay, Meg Whitman stepped down as President and CEO two years ago and threw her hat in the ring for governor of California. For what seems like an eternity to Californians who suffered through political ads funded by her personal fortune, the race was decided by voters on Tuesday - Republican Whitman lost to Democrat Jerry Brown by a wide margin.

The odds had been in Whitman's favor:

- while normally experience might matter, the country was in an anti-incumbent mood. Brown had been in politics for decades and had previously been governor of the state;

- the Tea Party movement favored fiscal conservatives as Whitman proposed to be;

- and, of course, the money. Whitman spent north of $160 million (about $142 million of her own) on consultants and advertising. One columnist said he was captive on the train as he went to work yesterday as two campaign workers went from car to car giving a pro-Meg/anti-Jerry pep talk on the morning of the election.

The LA Times said Jerry's legendary quirkiness worked in his favor, and said of Whitman, she "often relied on well-lighted sets and memorized lines, as if campaigning on a sound stage. In the end, a candidate who had been around the block for 40 years came off as a more authentic alternative than a newcomer with all the resources Whitman could command."

One of the questions voters had to answer was whether a business leader could transfer her skills to running a state government. Aside from the politics of Republican versus Democrat, conservative versus liberal, I think it's interesting to ponder whether Meg's experience at eBay would have helped her run the state of California.

While there is skill involved in growing even a wildly successful company like eBay, it's a different problem that California is facing - eBay was certainly not a financially troubled corporation. I don't think her experience as a business leader hurt her chances, but I don't think she was able to make the case that running eBay would help her get the state out of its financial crisis.

Whitman's inability to go off-script during the campaign made it appear she only had a superficial understanding of the challenges facing California. Add to that her lack of voting record, exorbitant campaign spending and finally, Nanny-gate, and it gave her all the trappings of a candidate that appeared to have a sense of entitlement to the Governor's office, and disconnected from the average voter.

Finally, Meg just plain overexposed herself to California voters. I came across a YouTube video that showed Giants fans in the final Game of the World Series booing Meg when her ad came on the monitor. Jerry Brown explained it when he told reporters yesterday, "You gotta remember, name recognition is good, but name repetition and the repetition of ads can be very debilitating, and I think that’s a lesson I learned a long time ago."

Meg is not someone who gives up, and her friends Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W Bush have awoken an ambition in her that likely includes 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Don't count on Meg to walk away from politics.




Comments (86) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: summer in the city

Wed Nov 3 10:54:26 2010


So let's all take Meg's advice and ''demand change from Sacramento.''

As Attorney General, Governor-elect Brown must be awash in complaints against Paypal. So let's demand that Paypal be regulated as a bank and be subject to the scrutiny it deserves.

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: Meg-alomaniac

Wed Nov 3 11:01:04 2010

Meg might be arrogant enough to try running for office again, but as a candidate, she's damaged goods. Set aside the maid controversy, the abysmal voting record, the robot-like demeanor - she'll always be known as the candidate that spent $140 million and LOST. You never saw Ross Perot or Steve Forbes try again after they were smacked down. And she spent more than both combined. I wouldn't be surprised to see her try to ease her way into a cabinet post should Mitt Romney win in 2012 though...

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: kw

Wed Nov 3 11:06:28 2010

Congratulations to California for defeating the money monster!!!!

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Wed Nov 3 11:07:51 2010

Secretary of commerce, perhaps?

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: For old school eBay sellers

Wed Nov 3 11:09:12 2010

Maybe California became ''overwhelmed with identical, often poorly-priced propaganda that have diluted the magic of the California experience''

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Wed Nov 3 11:11:11 2010

1 star * SNAD - Bad eBayer - AVOID!

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: summer in the city

Wed Nov 3 11:14:18 2010

@Meg-alomaniac

I'll see your cabinet post and raise you the VP spot.

For all her robotic moves and obvious fear of the hoi polloi, Meg seems to enjoy the orchestrated adulation she gets at rallies. She was so despised at Ebay for her legendary mean temper and imperious treatment of subordinates that, now, she probably enjoys being liked, even if it's just pretend-liking.




Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: nobody

Wed Nov 3 11:14:37 2010

All I have to say to this outcome is... WOOOOO FLIPPING HOOOOO!!! :D

All you have to do is take a look at the devil spawn she's "raised" to tell what kind of person she is. Racism is LEARNED, you are not born with it.

Her two sons, griff and will, are truly monsters.
(rape, assault, racism, tantrums, you name it and mommy bought their way out of it all... disgusting)

Politics/parties have nothing to do with this, but thank God she lost!

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: summer in the city

Wed Nov 3 11:24:06 2010



Wait a minute -- Meg has a son named Griff?

I thought Halloween was over.

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: LOL

Wed Nov 3 11:26:19 2010

Maybe she should apply at Bain & Co?  I hear they have some openings!

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: nobody

Wed Nov 3 11:28:28 2010

@summer in the city

Scary, huh?

Griffith Rutherford Harsh V
and
William Whitman Harsh

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: summer in the city

Wed Nov 3 11:34:55 2010


It's a sad, sad day for the Bain bunch.

Paypal was their ticket to wealth beyond their wildest dreams, and their girl was going to protect it from regulation and accountability for its actions. But now? Well, darn. Anything could happen.

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Wed Nov 3 11:55:09 2010

Meg's campaign promise was less spending and lower taxes. Was there a disconnect between the way she ran eBay and what she promised to do as governor?

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: old school seller

Wed Nov 3 12:01:14 2010

eBay famously gouged it's seller base for fees....simply because they could. Where else were sellers gonna go? That was the rationale...

Pretty hard to believe that eBay fee gouging Meg wasn't going to  tax the  California citizens in just the same way...

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: JB

Wed Nov 3 12:02:00 2010

If Gov Brown  decided to investigate eBay and PP policy in his state its effects on buyers and sellers and legality he could possibly tarnish Whitmans image even more making future attempts to enter public office even more difficult if not improbable.IMO

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: Departing seller

Wed Nov 3 12:02:19 2010

She's clearly not CA's Best Match

...and that IS a non-refundable $160M ballot listing fee.


Dear Meg,
Your BS didn't sell this time around. Why not relist it?

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: Smitty This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 3 12:14:57 2010

The ''why'' is rather easy and is why I never thought she would win.

California has plenty of ebay sellers & former sellers who know the real Meg.

Smitty

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: buck efay

Wed Nov 3 12:27:48 2010

Ummm, Meg Was FORCED out of Ebay after she slapped & manhandled an Employee, costing Ebay $250K. Bet Ol' Smeg wishes she used Paypal & Could do an "Item Not Received" chargeback. Too bad CA voters saw she was "Significantly Not As Described" and sent her packing. Meg you can't "Buy It Now", and her political career is over. She's one of the few Republicans to have LOST yesterday & they'll never use her again.

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: buck efay

Wed Nov 3 12:31:19 2010

PS, good idea above, a letter writing campaign to Jerry Brown about Paypal/Ebay abuses while he's still smarting from Meg's lies & campaign ads might be just the thing to get this former attorney general interested in this fraud of a payment system.

Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor   Why Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman Lost Her Bid for Governor

by: nelson

Wed Nov 3 12:32:38 2010

How did she think she could win when her ebay employees, her ebay customers and even her nanny hated her so much.
She crapped on ebay sellers, offered no customer service to buyers, off-shored ebay jobs etc.
She was a terrible business leader. In one case she assaulted an employee. In another she buried a sexual harassment complaint to protect the harasser so he could stay on the job. She never listened to anyone.
What is most telling is in Santa Clara county early polls had her behind by 20%! The people who new Meg the best hated her the most. My wife and I cheered when we heard she lost.
Karma came back and bit her golden ass!

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