Meg Whitman: A Big Lib Supporter?

by Warner Todd Huston | October 4, 2009 12:43 pm

-By Warner Todd Huston

Meg Whitman has had some bad days lately. After recently proclaiming herself a “darned good” conservative Republican[1], Senator Barbara Boxer’s staff revealed that Whitman was a Boxer supporter in 2003. Dangerously for Whitman, Senator Boxer is one of the most liberal members of the Senate.

According to Boxer aide Rose Kapolczynski, Whitman supported Boxer’s “Technology Leaders for Boxer” effort in April of 2003. A letter from Boxer’s office from 2003 features a quote from Whitman stating that she felt Boxer was a “courageous leader and friend of California’s technology industry.” (see image below)

This is just one more troublesome issue on top of her voting record — or lack thereof.

Her past voter registration and voting history has been a major faux pa[2] for her candidacy. At one point Whitman said she never registered to vote in California until 2002 and didn’t declare as a Republican until 2007, then put out a statement that she “misspoke.”

Since then Whitman has continued to portray herself as a long-time Republican.

A closer look at why Whitman endorsed Boxer proves that her support was sensible, of course. Boxer was the incumbent Senator that was a good legislative friend of the technology sector and Whitman was CEO of ebay, one of the biggest tech companies in California. As Whitman spokesman Sarah Pompei pointed out, Boxer was also an opponent of the Internet tax. And with Whitman’s ebay empire poised to be hit hard by such a tax, one can see why Boxer would be appealing to a CEO of a technology company such as ebay in that case.

But as a member of the business community Whitman’s former, and logical, support of Boxer in 2003 — good sense in a business context — is a major political albatross. It’s a whole sleeping with the enemy meme that will certainly dog her campaign.

After all, elections are built on a fair amount of emotion and this latest revelation will add to the suspicion with which party loyalists will view Whitman’s candidacy. First was the lack of voting and now her support of one of the right’s worst enemies, Boxer? This is an emotional wrecking ball for her campaign.

The only real solution for this past record would have been for Whitman to come out at the outset and say she was somewhat non-committal on politics before 2007 but then saw the light of conservatism. Instead she tried to act as if she was always Reagan redux. clearly this is not the case despite her protests to the opposite.

Granted, Poizner has done the same thing with his I-have-always-been-Republican claim even though he had an early history of donating to Democrats and supporting big tax hikes[3].

Again, I understand why Whitman did what she did in the past. Business is business. But this is politics.

Boxer’s “Technology Leaders for Boxer” letter:

  1. a “darned good” conservative Republican:
  2. major faux pa:
  3. donating to Democrats and supporting big tax hikes:

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