On this appropriately gray California day, it became official: our next governor is either going to be Mr. Jerry Brown or Mrs. Meg Whitman.
As anyone in the country can tell you, California is in an extreme financial crisis right now. This would seem to favor Harvard MBA-holding Whitman, as it’s hard to imagine J. Brown even balancing his own checkbook. But, while on the surface of it, Meg’s (may I call you Meg?) track record is impressive (read: eBay), dig deeper and you see that she built a company that’s plagued by bad decisions, and is right now being choked by a plethora of lawsuits. And what exactly did she do to contribute to the company’s financial success in the first place? She didn’t found eBay, and she didn’t do anything particularly creative that people attribute the company’s success to. In fact, her successor’s first job was to clean up several billion-dollar mistakes she had made that would have sunk any other company.
The reality is, eBay survived in spite of Whitman’s helmsman-ship,which is a testimony to the strength of the idea behind it. As for Meg herself, she’s the Ben Affleck of CEOs: just in the right place at the right time.
So why, at the time of California’s greatest need, do we get stuck with two such miserable gubernatorial candidates? Why would financial wizards like Carly Fiorina choose the senate when her talents are so desperately needed in the Sacramento?
Well, not for nothing, our reward to the financially talented Schwarzenegger—who practically killed himself trying to balance our budget—was to dump on him mercilessly for not making enough progress. And, knowing that prospects ahead are even grimmer, no one with half a brain would seek a job that, at best, will make you the subject of constant ridicule.
So guess who that leaves us with.