You may never have heard of Meg Whitman, but you’ve probably heard of the company she ran quite successfully: eBay, the online auction house. After taking eBay public and launching it into a worldwide Internet behemoth, Whitman decided she was qualified to be governor of a large state. So she’s running in the GOP primary for governor of California.
(Let’s leave aside, for a moment, why anyone would want to be governor of California. From a fiscal standpoint, the state is very nearly ungovernable. That’s largely due to its public initiatives, which allow citizens to vote laws onto the books without any thought as to how those initiatives will be paid for. Arnold Schwarzenegger is struggling to keep the state out of bankruptcy.)
There is a long and storied tradition in this country of wealthy business executives who decide their business experience qualifies them to hold public office. (Heck, as California demonstrates, there’s even a tradition of actors deciding the public stage qualifies them to hold public office.) Some make the transition better than others.
But it seems to me that the bare minimum experience required before stepping into public office is a record of having actually voted. She’s claiming to have been an irregular voter:
So what I have said is that I did not vote as often as I should. I didn’t register as often as I should and I’m sorry about that and there is no excuse for it.
But the Sacramento Bee is reporting that there is no record she ever voted before 2007, as she was preparing to enter politics. Surely, a minimum standard for public office should be a record that shows you were interested enough in the affairs of state (or county or city) to have voted regularly. Millions of busy citizens take time out of their busy schedules to vote, at least in major elections. Whitman was too busy? Too important?