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Raising a family & voting was too much for Meg Whitman to handle

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POSTED October 1, 2009 2:16 a.m.
“I was focused on raising a family, on my husband’s career, and we moved many, many times,” — California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman on why she didn’t bother to vote for decades

Gee, I guess my mom wasn’t focused on raising a family and helping my dad run the hardware store as she found time to vote.

In fact, after my dad died not only did my mom raise four children on her own, work 12 to 14 hours a day six days a week running her own business to support us but – heaven forbid – she found time to vote.

That’s not the only thing that separated my Mom from Meg Whitman. Mom could speak from her heart – and to the point – on any issue she believed in whether it was at a Lincoln City Council meeting or a Western Placer Unified School Distinct meeting. She didn’t need a tele-prompter.

Mom –  who up until her last few years – never used an absentee ballot. Her reasoning was if her brothers – and other men – could put their lives on the line to preserve basic American rights the least she could do is sacrifice some time on Election Day to make the act of voting seem important. The act of stepping into a polling booth after standing in line with other citizens who may or may not agree with you elevates the process several steps above sitting down at the kitchen table marking a ballot as if you were handling a household bill.

It is something that rubbed off on me. I have yet to vote by absentee ballot although I did miss one election – a primary – and genuinely felt bad about the fact I did.

Personally, it doesn’t bother me if someone opts to vote by absentee. What irks me are folks who don’t exercise their right as an American to have a real say in what their government does. Your vote always matters because it is your vote as a member of a bigger community. The election may not go your way that isn’t what a democracy or a republic form of government is about.

Still, it was Whitman’s right not to vote.

It is her explanation of what prompted her to finally register and vote in 2002 that should make you wonder about where her values lie.

“When I came to eBay, what I saw was the incredible difficulties that government created for small business ... inspired individuals who created business who got slapped down by taxation, by bureaucracy and regulation,” Whitman said at a news conference on Tuesday.

First of all, describing eBay as a small business is akin to calling Wal-Mart a corner store.

It is also a stretch to contend that Whitman somehow got slapped down “by taxation, by bureaucracy, and regulation” since her time at the helm of eBay she became a multi-millionaire and the company itself prospered greatly.

She leaves you with the distinct impression she thinks firms like eBay are taxed and regulated too much so therefore can’t make a profit. Whitman probably has no inkling of what it means to run a small business and deal with all of the taxation, bureaucracy, and regulation they face. Instead of being able to delegate such details to underlings as she did at eBay, sole proprietors have to do all that plus run the business even getting down in the trenches as well as often raising a family too and – this may come as a shock to Whitman – find time to vote and participate in their community.

Something has to be done about how we tax and regulate as well as trim the bureaucracy. I won’t argue with that.

However, Whitman apparently had little concern about how it impacted her family specifically as they were fairly well off even before she hit the jackpot at eBay. Anyone who has witnessed eBay’s rapid growth and rapidly expanding bottom line, however, has to wonder what became so irksome to Whitman that finally prompted her to register to vote. Did she believe she could become a billionaire but taxes, regulations, and bureaucrats forced her to settle just to be a multi-millionaire?

My grandmother would indicate she was an old-time Republican but still voted for the man – or woman – who was best qualified.

She came of age when Hiram Johnson brought true reform to Sacramento as the renegade Republican reform candidate who used government powers to regulate big business that had a chokehold on many California cities, farmers, and families. At one time Southern Pacific Railroad ran California, not the state legislature. That all changed after Hiram Johnson was elected into office bringing populist legislature into power on his coattails.

Something tells me Whitman isn’t an old-time Republican who believes government should right wrongs and protect the little guys from abusive big guys as well as keep its collective nose out of individuals’ business as much a possible.

By her own admission, what piqued her interest in even bothering to register to vote was how government “hurt” big business and not the little guy whether it is an individual or a small business owner.
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