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Meg Whitman, running for governor, and Carly Fiorina, running for U.S. senate, are both former CEOs and multimillionaires who spent truckloads of their corporate loot to win the Republican nominations. Whitman, for example, dumped a breath-taking and record-breaking $73 million of her own money into the primary race.
On election night, the two free-spenders issued a joint statement of triumph: “Career politicians in Sacramento and Washington, DC, be warned – you now face your worst nightmare: two businesswomen from the real world.”
The real world? Only a pampered CEO could think that the luxurious confines of the executive suite come anywhere near other people’s reality. Aside from private jets and other platinum-level perks, they pocket absolutely unreal paychecks. When she departed Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina was handed a $21-million fare-thee-well gift, and Whitman hauled off more than a billion bucks during her tenure at eBay.
And let’s get real about the worthiness of their CEO experience. Fiorina was such an executive disaster that Hewlett-Packard’s board dumped her in 2005. “Nobody liked Carly’s leadership all that much,” said a market analyst at the time, adding that “anyone will be better.” Likewise, costly management missteps by Whitman caused eBay’s board to conclude that the corporation was simply too big for her to run.
If they can’t run a big company, why should voters think they can run a state that is bigger than most countries? Besides, a corporate CEO is head of an autocratic, secretive, top-down, self-serving, single-purpose organization – not exactly ideal qualities for leading a democratic government.
“More from the real world,” Austin American Statesman, June 16, 2010.