SACRAMENTO, California - Meg Whitman, former eBuy CEO and candidate for Governor of California, says she wants to ruin the state "a little more like a business."
Whitman, 53, who first registered to vote in 2002, is believed to be ruining on the Republican ticket, though she has so far been either ashamed to admit it or does not yet know what a Republican ticket is. Nevertheless, she has been steadily gaining in the race, with the most recent poll giving her a slight 44-41 edge over her unabashedly bald Democratic opponent Jerry Brown.
Her campaign will likely feature a series of negative ads focusing on Brown's long history of negative ads.
Whitman learned a lot about ads spending a summer selling advertisements in a magazine while studying to be a doctor at Princeton University. Upon studying physics and mathematics, however, low grades forced her to pursue a far less challenging major in economics, in which she managed to earn a BA. She later procured a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School in 1979.
George W. Bush also attended Harvard Business School around the same time, where he too earned an MBA - shortly before he co-piloted his first business into the ground with the enlisted help of Osama bin Laden's family.
Perhaps because the economic policy of Bush - the only U.S. President to have earned an MBA - turned out to be similarly disastrous, "many voters don't believe government should really be run like a business, and it's not something they actually want to be done."
So says Kevin Sheekey, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's political strategist. He notes the recent record of filthy rich capitalists attempting to spend their way into public office: Mitt Romney, Jon Corzine, Maria Cantwell, Mark Dayton, Pete Coors. Bloomberg's 2001 win, says Sheekey, remains the exception, not the rule.
Nevertheless, Whitman believes she can overcome that. Her greatest weapon at present is the $150 million she says she's willing to spend to buy her way into power, a sum that would shatter Michael Bloomberg's self-financing record of $108 million, set just last year.
Her second greatest weapon is her "business plan" for California, Inc. Whitman has shown Bloomberg-like discipline in hammering home her "big three" - cut spending, create jobs, fix schools - while failing to explain details concerning just how she'd accomplish this trifecta using only a 48-page business plan printed in crayon.
"We need to get back to basics," said Whitman, shuffling through the pages. "Every successful business in America has rules governing the behavior of its employees, and California, Inc. should be no different.
"For example, would you want to hire someone with a face full of piercings, visible tattoos, long hair and sideburns? Of course not. Obviously, California would be better off with clean cut citizens in clean, pressed uniforms."
"Here's another one," she said, still shuffling papers. "No loud jewelry, no strong cologne or perfume, and belts should be plain, with an understated buckle.
"Nails should be neatly trimmed.
"No chewing gum.
"Discussing California, Inc. in a less than positive way will not be tolerated under any circumstances. All citizens of The State will be expected to follow rules enacted by The State's management team. Failure to follow these rules will result first in a verbal warning, followed by a written warning, then dismissal. In other words, go find a new state to live in," she said. "We can always find somebody else who wants to live here."
Whitman plans to go even farther with California, Inc., putting state government on equal footing with actual businesses, using The State's revenue to strongarm both corporations and mom-and-pop businesses, initiating hostile takeovers and buyouts, diversifying the state's financial portfolio considerably.
As she takes over, creating a vast government monopoly, experts predict Whitman will downsize and reconsolidate California, Inc., cutting jobs while working to keep wages of The State's human resources, or slaves, as low as possible, funneling money up to those in power who ultimately make the decisions - namely, her.
If elected, she says her first act will be to suspend the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 in order to study its potential economic implications, highlighting her continued failure to understand physics noted much earlier at Princeton University.
In fact, at the state GOP Convention in March, the Earth-killer described California Republican Governor Schwarzenegger's climate change bill as a "job-killer."
Unlike Schwarzenegger, who has had a keen interest in politics since arriving in the U.S. in 1968, Whitman had no involvement in politics or philanthropy whatsoever until recently, first becoming a registered voter just 8 years ago.
"One of the most amazing things about California is that it's so completely bankrupt," she noted. "So, people are going to Arizona, they're going to Utah, they're going to Nevada, because it's cheaper to live there."
She may have a point: Arizona, Utah and Nevada are far less densely populated than California, and therefore have lower property values, require less expansive government and less burdensome regulations, and subsequently enjoy lower tax rates.
But these three states also have one more important thing in common: Meg Whitman does not live there.